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Penske Savors Team's 200th Win, Already Eyeing No. 201 in Indy 500

This particular milestone couldn’t have come at a better time or a better place.

By winning Saturday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix, Will Power recorded the 200th Indy car victory in Team Penske’s storied history. It happened at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where 20 of those 200 wins have occurred and where the team will begin on-track preparation Tuesday for what it hopes to be its 17th Indianapolis 500 victory.

For Power, Saturday's win could be a portend of the near future.

“It does (create momentum)," said Power, who won the race on the IMS road course for a third time. “I’ve had this a couple of times now. When you win here, it always helps you because the team has more confidence. I’m very upbeat and very confident. I’ve had my eye on the 500.”

In typical Roger Penske fashion, the “Captain” said little after the historic win.

"What a great day for the team," Penske said of the Indy car side’s exploits. "The greatest drivers have performed for us. IMS is the most special place to secure our 200th win. I could not think of a better setting. The most important win now is No. 201."

It wasn’t just Team Penske that reached a milestone with Power’s 2.2443-second win over Scott Dixon. Power’s 33rd career victory moved him to within one victory of Al Unser Jr. for eighth place on the all-time Indy car win list; 30 of Power’s wins have been with Team Penske, tying him with Helio Castroneves for the most by any driver.

“Two hundred wins in Indy car just shows Roger’s determination and the way his team works and his passion for winning,” Power said. “It’s a real pleasure to drive for him and to be given equipment week in and week out to win. I’d say it’s amazing to be a part of that history of Penske Racing. It’s such a deep history. I’m so grateful to be able to drive for this team.”

It wasn’t an easy run, though. Power started from the pole position but relinquished the lead when Robert Wickens passed the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet by going outside in Turn 7. Power regained the lead on Lap 41 when Wickens pitted, but he couldn’t beat Wickens back onto the track after a pit stop on the subsequent lap.

But on Lap 51, Power returned the round-the-outside favor with a bold pass of Wickens in Turn 1. When Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden spun while trying to pass Sebastien Bourdais on Lap 55, the field pitted under caution on Lap 58. Power won the race out of the pits by inches over Wickens, then held off Dixon’s challenge to the end of the 85-lap race.

Power noted afterward that he’d never put so much effort into winning a race.

“Every lap was like qualifying,” Power said. “That’s the first time I’ve had to do that in a race.”

But the story of the day was yet another historic milestone by a team that has set the standard in multiple forms of motorsports, most notably INDYCAR. Now in its 53rd year, the team has 32 championships and 493 race wins overall.

Afterward, the tributes poured in.

“Roger has an amazing ability to bring together the right people and then provide all the necessary tools needed to win races and championships,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s U.S. vice president for performance vehicles and motorsports. “We are very proud that 72 of these wins have been powered by Chevrolet. It is truly an honor to congratulate our partner and our respected friend on this milestone.”

For the man who’s orchestrated it all, there was little time to celebrate. He rushed off shortly after the win to watch his NASCAR teams compete at Kansas Speedway. Besides, there’s the matter of the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil to focus on now.

“The guys did a great job, the strategy was right and we got to victory lane,” Penske said of Power’s win. “It’s a tremendous victory going into the 500.”

TEAM PENSKE INDY CAR HISTORY:

1951 – Roger Penske attends his first Indianapolis 500 with his father

1965 – Penske retires from competitive racing to focus on business commitments – declines offer from Clint Brawner to take Indy 500 rookie test – Mario Andretti takes the test and launches his legendary career

1968 – Team Penske makes Indy Car debut on June 15 in Telegraph Trophy 200 at Mosport (now Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, with driver Mark Donohue

1971 – Donohue claims first Indy car win for Team Penske in Schaefer 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 3

1972 – Team Penske’s first Indianapolis 500 victory, with Donohue

1978 – Penske hires Rick Mears to substitute for Andretti; Mears wins his first race

1985 – Danny Sullivan wins famous "spin and win" Indy 500

1991 – Mears wins fourth Indy 500, all for Team Penske

2000 – Team earns 100th Indy car win with Gil de Ferran at Nazareth Speedway

2009 – Helio Castroneves wins third Indianapolis 500, all with Team Penske

2015 – Juan Pablo Montoya earns Penske's 16th Indy 500 victory.

2017 – Josef Newgarden wins team’s 15th Indy car season championship

2018 – Will Power wins INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Team Penske’s 200th Indy car victory and 20th at IMS

Source: Team Penske

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