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Monday Racing Roundup: Power Takes First Step Towards May Sweep at IMS

After earning the Verizon P1 Award with a track-record qualifying lap for the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Will Power was asked about the prospects of a Month of May sweep at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Power mulled it over for a few seconds and the broad smile that lasted more than a few seconds while he was holding the $10,000 pole winner check returned.

"You have four sessions during this month that you want to be P1 in," he said. "One is qualifying for the GP, winning the GP, qualifying for the '500' and winning the '500.' It's possible, obviously. That's got to be the goal this month. My focus nowadays is so much on the '500' more than it ever was now that I've won a championship. But you can imagine just winning the GP and the '500,' it would be unbelievable."

Power, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, is halfway there.

Driving the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Power steamed to victory in the 82-lap Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis by 1.5023 seconds over Graham Rahal on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Power's 25th career victory broke a tie with Bobby Rahal and Ralph DePalma for 16th on the all-time Indy car list and tied Gordon Johncock for 15th.

Power is the fifth different winner in as many road/street course races this season, and four different teams were represented in the top-five finishers May 9.

“I’m halfway there. The Indy 500 is on my mind and I’m very determined to get it done,” said Power, who seeks to become the first driver to win on the road course and 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. “In this race, the first lap was as fast as the last lap. Honestly, I think it was staying ahead at the start and the restart and then it was managing that traffic and just the pit sequence.

“My crew did an awesome job and saved enough fuel there at the end with Graham coming hard. I’m really happy to win here at this awesome facility. I just want to get one two weeks from now.”

Rahal, carrying the Honda banner in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake entry for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, was runner-up for the second consecutive race.

Tickets are available here for the 99th Indianapolis 500 on May 24. Qualifications are this weekend.

NASCAR Sprint Cup: Johnson grabs late-night win at Kansas

Thanks to a brief but wild Kansas spring storm and the long delay it produced, Jimmie Johnson on Sunday became the first Sprint Cup driver to win a race on Mother’s Day since 2007.

Johnson, who is pursuing a record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship this season, held off Kevin Harvick over the final six laps to win Sunday morning’s SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Johnson’s victory – which was recorded just after midnight local time because of a delay of 2 hours and 16 minutes – was his third of the season and his third at the 1.5-mile Kansas oval.

"It was a long, hard night," Johnson, who led just 10 laps and who spun out unassisted early in the race, said in Victory Lane. "Once we got up front, we were able to hang on."

Reminded about what day it was when he finally took the checkered flag, Johnson said, "I just want to wish Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. My mother and especially my wife Chani (Johnson, wife), hopefully she is still awake. I wish she was here. I wish my girls were here too, but I will be home tonight and we will have some fun tomorrow."

Harvick, who led 53 laps, finished second in his Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.

Third was Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Fourth was another Hendrick driver, Jeff Gordon, while pole-sitter Joey Logano was fifth in a Team Penske Ford.

The victory was the 73rd of the six-time champion’s career.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will race on July 26 at IMS in the Crown Royal presents “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard – and you can have a vote in who the hero is. Five finalists have been named, click here to submit your vote.

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