Power wins rain shortened ABC Pocono 500
Will Power drove the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to victory lane in a rain-shortened ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway,. It was the third win at Pocono for Power and first of 2019. Scott Dixon finished second 5.4 seconds behind Power, while Simon Pagenaud rounded out the podium in third.
The race got off to a bit of an ominous start with a 5-car accident. Takuma Sato attempted an outside pass of Alexander Rossi entering turn 2, and the resulting contact collected Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Felix Rosenqvist. Rosenqvist nearly helicoptered into the catch fence a la the accident that paralyzed Robert Wickens at Pocono last year. Sato wound up upside down leaning against the car of Hunter-Reay.
The race would be red-flagged for 45 minutes Rossi, for one, was none too pleased with Sato.
Massive First Lap Accident Video:
"We were three-wide. Ryan on the inside, I was in the middle and Takuma on the outside,” said Rossi. “I can't even begin to understand how after last year, how Takuma thinks that any sort of driving like that is acceptable.
"To turn across two cars at speed in a 500-mile race is disgraceful, it's upsetting and might cost us the championship."
Sato, as you might imagine, had a different view.
“I’m worried about Felix and hope he is OK,” Sato said. “I feel sorry for all the guys in the championship. But Ryan and I were racing in Turn 1 Alex got a slow start and we both went right-and-left. I thought I was all clear and all of the seams grabbed the car and unfortunately, we made contact.
“I was not really overaggressive overtaking anything. People need to watch the replay before making that decision. I thought I was all clear and kept the steering wheel straight, but we all got to together.
“It was so close, three-wide and everyone together. Alex and I hit together.”
Whatever your view on the accident, I think everyone can take solace in the fact that all involved were okay. Although, Rosenqvist was taken to a nearby hospital for further evaluation, he was just moments ago checked, cleared and released.
Dixon emerged from the final round of stops in the lead, but he would be unable to hold on. The No. 9 team made a front left win adjustment on the last stop that seemed to backfire. Power, on the other hand, had gone off-strategy following the early red flag and was able to run longer than the other leaders.
By the end of the race, the Aussie simply had too much speed. On lap 115, Power was able to catch a tow on Dixon heading into turn one, and moved into the lead. Three laps later, the race would be red-flagged due to weather on lap 118, with Power declared the winner when the skies opened about 20 minutes later. It was Power's 36th career victory.
Santino Ferrucci also had a banner day coming home fourth, matching his career-best from earlier this season at Texas. Newgarden was fifth.
As for the championship, Newgarden extended his points lead over Rossi who finished 18th to 35 points. Pagenaud sits third, 40 points behind, with Dixon fourth, 52 back.
The NTT IndyCar Series moves on to Madison, Ill.,for next Saturday night’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "Definitely gets exciting in that situation. We definitely had some luck. Today the car went through some good changes. The car was pretty quick. Not sure really what happened on the last stint there. We put more front wing in there, more pressure on the right rear tire. Couldn't turn the car. We were running 213, 214 (mph), struggling to do 208. So much understeer. Will was definitely extremely strong today. It was good to see him get another victory this season. Had we gone back out, even with headlights on, I think Will was going to take the race. Congrats to him and Team Penske. We'll keep our head down and see what we can come up with for the last three races."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): "Well, it's a great day. Very happy for Will and Team Penske to get another win here in Pocono. It's pretty awesome. I think we showed our cars were the strongest today. Overall it's a pretty good points day for us on the 22 car this weekend. Obviously, yes, I did think we could have done a little better. At least we would have tried. I think we had the car to do so... Who knows what would have happened, but I think we could have challenged at least. At the end of the day it's not a bad day. We'll take it. Go to the next one, keep pushing."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was kind of an interesting day, but it could have been worse. It was sort of like qualifying yesterday where qualifying got rained out but we started on the pole. We didn't finish this race but we finished fifth. We'll take it. I wish we could have been a little bit higher, but I think Will (Power) was going to be tough to beat today. He looked very strong. Certainly towards the middle of the race I thought he was looking very good. We fought with what we had today and I thought the Hitachi Chevy was pretty good. Coming out of here with a decent finish allows us to now focus on the last three events. We just need to set our sights on Gateway next weekend and execute. I think we will have a good car. I always feel confident with Team Penske, and Team Chevy has been pushing hard, so I'm looking forward to it."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet): "We needed a decent run. We DNF'ed at Iowa, which wasn't good. I feel like we have been performing better this year, we just haven't really been able to put it together. It was nice to be in the mix, racing with the guys you need to race with to be up there fighting for wins. I wish we could have seen out all 500 miles, but Pocono always has its own craziness when it comes to the weather. Hopefully, all of the fans got to their cars before they got too wet. I thought it was a really good turnout today, it was a fun race while we were out there. It was unfortunate to see guys kind of lose their minds a bit there at the start, but all in all it was a fun day and nice to be moving forward."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): "It was a strong run for the No. 18 SealMaster Honda. We were quick and I got up to fourth at one point. I think we deserved that position. It was kind of a broken up race and unfortunately, on the last restart, the guys in front of me checked up and I got swallowed up and lost four positions. I got one position back, then the race was stopped because of the weather. I think if the race continued we would have finished better than seventh, but that's racing."
TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "Good day for us, another top 10. We have a few things to improve still but we'll take it from where we started. We had a competitive car all weekend. The goal was to finish in the top 10 and we finished eighth, which is my best result of the year. It's a good energy boost for the boys."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 TOTAL Honda): "We need a little more pace. We were a little slow on the straights for some reason, but we'll keep digging into it. I had a bad restart (went from fifth to ninth), but it wasn't that bad actually. I was pulling up on the guys in front of me, but I just got driven around and was in a position where I was a little bit of a sitting duck and lost a bunch of spots and that killed our race from then-on, frankly. We were scrambling just to get ourselves back in position. I had another good restart later and went from 13th to ninth and made some of those spots back up."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Tresiba Carlin Chevrolet): "First and foremost, I'm glad that everyone is OK from the incidents on track today. Secondly, I'm just really proud of this Carlin crew. We made great progress with the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet in superspeedway trim and we learned a lot after coming here last year. The racing at Pocono Raceway is really tough, but these guys just kept their head down and made it happen. I made a mistake in the first pit stop, but we were able to run our strategy and get a really good run going. To come away with a top-10 finish from a very challenging weekend where we didn't get to qualify is really a credit to the entire Carlin team. It was really great to get that top-10 finish in front of all of our Novo Nordisk guests who made the trip out to the track to support us and also to round out the top 10 with a bowtie for Team Chevy."
Remainder of Drivers (alphabetical):
CONOR DALY (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): "After where we started at the back of the field, to finish 11th is awesome. It's unfortunate though, because we were really just starting to get to the point where I was happier with the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. The last few laps before the final red flag, we were the fastest car on the track, so we were definitely moving in the right direction. We were catching all of the people in front of us and starting to get to where we needed to be, but these 500-mile races are long and the goal is to be strong at the end, which I really felt like we were working toward that for sure. To be 11th is really good and it's another strong finish for this group of people here at Carlin. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going into Gateway and that'll be even more fun."
MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "It was a tough race. I thought I had some really good starts and restarts; we made up positions there. Unfortunately, throughout the race we were struggling a bit with the balance of the car throughout the stints, so I was struggling to keep up with the pace with the guys ahead or behind us. I thought at one point there after the second restart and we were up to P5, the day was looking to potentially be really good. Just a tough race trying to hang on and make the best of it. We learned a lot and the Arrow SPM guys did a great job with stops, but disappointed we didn't have a better result than that."
COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda): "The No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda guys gave me a great car for the ABC Supply 500, I think we had one of the better cars on track today and definitely a better car than where we finished. It's unfortunate that we got into the wall there. It's very disappointing. I know we'll be able to rebound next week at Gateway. I really like racing there and I'm excited to compete under the lights."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda: "It unfolded in front of us. We had a pretty good start with the No. 5 Arrow car. We were heading into Turn 2 kind of three-wide, and I knew that wasn't a good idea, so I backed out. I thought I was actually gonna save us because it happened in front of me. I couldn't see exactly what started it, but then the wreck sorta moved down to the inside... I was able to slow down, but it just slid out to where I was. There was nowhere I could go. It sucks. I mean it wasn't too hard a hit, so glad everybody is ok. It's a 500-mile race, I don't know how many times we have to do this before people figure out that you can attack all you want, but it doesn't give you a chance to win if you are in the fence."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "The opening lap wreck was ridiculous and thank God everybody was alright. It's so unfortunate at the beginning of a 500-mile race. The car was good yesterday and we just needed to put together 500 clean miles. The DHL car deserved to be fighting for a win today. We did all we could do after coming back out. The guys did a great job; unbelievable effort in getting the car turned back around. But we were really loose in (Turn) 3, and it turned out we had holes in the underwing from the crash. The last thing we want to do is be a risk out there and damage more equipment, so we got the points we could and came in just before the weather hit."
MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "The car was good. The stops were perfect and I think we had a good strategy. We went a lap down cause we had too much vibration in one of our tires, so we had to stop early and that was it from there."
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet): "That was a frustrating end to the day, we hit a bump in Turn 1 and it caused something to break on the front of the car. From then on, I was just a passenger and went straight up into the wall. I had no steering at that point, unfortunately. We were running pretty comfortably there in seventh and the car was feeling pretty good. We had lost touch with the group in front but I felt like we had a solid car. I feel bad for everyone at Ed Carpenter Racing, we have a race again next weekend and now there is a lot of extra work to do."
FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT Data Ganassi Racing Honda): "First of all, it's good to see that I'm cleared from the medical checks. Just with minor back pain and some headache. Hopefully I should be back to normal in a couple of days. A big thanks to the INDYCAR track staff and medical staff, did an awesome job looking after everything. Luckily the other drivers are OK as well, I think that's the main thing. A shame that we were caught out already on lap one. I think we had a good car today. Good to see Scott being up there all day. Good points for him, probably throwing him up there in the championship hunt. Looking forward to get back in the car in Gateway."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): "First of all, I am worried about Felix. Hopefully he is OK. I am sorry for all the guys fighting for the championship. Ryan and I were obviously racing at the exit of Turn 1 and it looks like Alexander had a slow start. We both went right and left (of Rossi) and I thought it was all clear. All the (track) seams also are putting the car really easy to get the lane change and everybody gets close. Unfortunately, it looks like we made contact for that."ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): "Thirteenth obviously isn't where we wanted to finish - but all things aside, it was an OK day for us. Just lacking overall grip, I think as a team, but we moved forward from our starting spot - which with qualifying being canceled hurt us. I'm thankful for all the work the guys did. Honestly, walking away 13th isn't what we want, but we did all we could and I'm proud of that. We'll go to Gateway and have a better result."
Results 128 of 200 Laps Run
Winner's average speed: 168.771 mph
Time of Race: 1:53:45.8296
Margin of victory: Under caution
Cautions: 4 for 23 laps
Lead changes: 12 among 4 drivers
Pagenaud, Simon 1 - 36
Dixon, Scott 37
Newgarden, Josef 38
Power, Will 39 - 40
Pagenaud, Simon 41 - 47
Power, Will 48 - 50
Pagenaud, Simon 51 - 70
Power, Will 71 - 77
Dixon, Scott 78 - 105
Pagenaud, Simon 106
Power, Will 107 - 111
Dixon, Scott 112 - 114
Power, Will 115 - 128
NTT IndyCar Series point standings: Newgarden 535, Rossi 500, Pagenaud 495, Dixon 483, Power 407, Hunter-Reay 344, Rahal 334, Sato 331, Rosenqvist 304, Bourdais 300.
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