Will Power wins Grand Prix of Sonoma, Scott Dixon penalty overshadows race

Jonathan Ferrey

Will Power won for the first time this season but a controversial pit road penalty may have cost Scott Dixon a chance at the IndyCar Series championship.

Will Power broke a 25-race IndyCar Series winless streak on Sunday afternoon, capturing the top spot in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma but his victory was largely overshadowed by a penalty that may have decided the championship battle between Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon.

Dixon and Power had battled for the lead all afternoon and were pitted beside each other at the California road course. Dixon was pitted behind Power's stall and hit two of the Penske crewmembers on the exit following his final stop.

Dixon was assessed a drive-through penalty for what was declared a pit lane violation and fell to the back of the field. He finished 15th behind Castroneves' seventh and now trails the Penske veteran in the standings by 39 points with just four races remaining.

Dixon claimed that Power's tire carrier had moved into Dixon's pit space and intentionally moved in front of the Ganassi driver's path.  Following the race, IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield told the television broadcast that Dixon used "less than great judgment" on his exit and he was penalized to protect the safety of the crewmembers.

"Ultimately we have a duty to protect everyone in the pit lane," Barfield added. "If someone uses less judgment when they leave the pit box, we have to make a statement by penalizing.

"There's a couple of different angles, and the lines are a bit confusing. The 9 car crossed right into the 12 car's space, and that's where the violation occurred. I feel good with the statement we made; we want to keep this pit lane as safe as we can."

Dixon maintained that Power's crewman displayed equal carelessness and that Team Penske was doing anything it took to secure the victory.

"He's walked towards us on purpose," Dixon said following the race. "And that's probably the most blatant thing I've seen in a long time. That was a bit of a dick move to be honest. I'm pretty annoyed with that. I look forward to seeing what race control's decision is all about. Race control's consistency is horrible."

Meanwhile, Power surged ahead of Justin Wilson on a final restart and cruised to a much-needed victory. Power will not compete for the championship this season but established momentum heading into what could be a resurgent 2014.

Wilson, Dario Franchitti, Marco Andretti and Simon Pagenaud completed the top-five. The race was interrupted by a record seven cautions. The complete race results can be found below:

  1. Will Power
  2. Justin Wilson
  3. Dario Franchitti
  4. Marco Andretti
  5. Simon Pagenaud
  6. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  7. Helio Castroneves
  8. James Hinchcliffe
  9. Simona De Silvestro
  10. Sebastien Bourdais
  11. Graham Rahal
  12. Tristan Vautier
  13. Tony Kanaan
  14. E.J. Viso
  15. Scott Dixon
  16. JR Hildebrand
  17. Ryan Briscoe
  18. James Davison
  19. Ed Carpenter
  20. Charlie Kimball
  21. Sebastian Saavedra
  22. Lucas Luhr
  23. Takuma Sato
  24. Josef Newgarden
  25. James Jakes

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