Will Power slammed race control for the penalty that cost him a chance at fighting for the victory in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
A definite contender in the early stages of the race, Power was penalized after his car and the crewman preparing to refuel it came in contact as the Verizon Dallara-Chevy slid to a stop a few feet past its marks on his second pit stop.
Race control deemed Power was guilty of “hitting personnel” during the stop, and ordered him to the back of the field for a Lap 79 restart. Although the Team Penske driver ultimately worked his way back to fifth, it was the fateful pit stop and resultant penalty that was on his mind after the checkered flag rather than the finish.
“Race control is a disgrace,” said the defending Indy 500 champion. “I slid into the pit stall but I didn’t hit the guy; he was leaning in, preparing to insert the fuel nozzle, and he brushed the car rather than the car hitting him. Race control took away our chance to win the race. It’s a disgrace.”
Power spent the rest of the race in recovery mode, claiming a final position at the expense of Ed Carpenter after the last restart.
“The car was good all day,” he said. “After the penalty we just put our heads down and worked our way back to fifth. I got around Ed Carpenter after the red flag, but it wasn’t like the car came alive or was any different than it had been all day.
“Like I said, we had a good car from start to finish. It’s just disgraceful the [people] at race control called for the penalty.”