Power was unlucky to lose victory at Sonoma to team mate Ryan Briscoe after getting caught out due to a late caution period.
But just about everything else went his way as his championship contenders suffered a string of misfortunes meaning he heads into the final two races with a 36-point lead.
Two of them tangled on the first lap: Helio Castroneves tipping Scott Dixon into a spin. Dixon mounted a battling recovery drive which could have got him into a strong points finish had he not clipped Ryan Hunter-Reay, damaging his front wing and dropping back again.
Hunter-Reay worked his way up to third place and was sitting on Power’s tail when he was hit from behind by Alex Tagliani after a restart. “We had a great car for the end,” said Hunter-Reay. “It was just usual Tag”:
Franchitt moved up to third and was climbing over Power in the final laps, particularly when the Penske driver’s car appeared to briefly cut out at the chicane.
Penske resisted the temptation to order their drivers to switch positions, perhaps owing to the threatening proximity of Franchitti, and Briscoe duly claimed his first win since Texas in 2010. He became the seventh different winner this year.
Rubens Barrichello took fourth, his best finish yet, under severe pressure from Graham Rahal in the closing laps.
Sebastien Bourdais ran a strong third for much of the race before making a mistake while lapping Josef Newgarden. The rookie couldn’t avoid Bourdais’ car and the pair crashed heavily, Newgarden breaking his thumb, though the Dallara DW12 chassis appeared to hold up well to a substantial front impact.
The much-discussed changes to the track appeared to make overtaking very difficult instead of impossible. There was a bit more action than recent races at Sonoma, and rather too much for the likes of Hunter-Reay and Dixon.