On a wild opening lap of Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America, Will Power’s Verizon Team Penske Chevy hit Ryan Hunter-Reay’s DHL Andretti Autosport Honda in the left-rear tire (pictured), pushing him off the track and into the tire barriers in Turn 1 before shoving Graham Rahal wide in Turn 3, where he sideswiped Felix Rosenqvist before clouting the wall.
IndyCar officials penalized Power for avoidable contact and sent him to the back of the field on the restart — where he promptly threw his Verizon Chevy off the track in Turn 14 and ruined the front wing.
“He’s (Power) getting what he deserves,” said Rahal while watching the monitor and being interviewed by NBC. “It’s disappointing to see desperation moves like that early in the race. I’ve made them before so I know them well. But we had a good chance for another good finish and we had a good car all weekend. Its just a shame we didn’t get a chance at it today.”
Power wound up finishing 11th while fifth-place starter Rahal was credited with 23rd and Hunter-Reay (who lined up fourth) was 22nd.
“I got nailed from behind and I don’t know where he (Power) was going,” said Hunter-Reay to NBC. “He seems to be driving a little more desperate lately — like a wrecking ball. We all know you can’t win it all in the first lap so I imagine I’ll ask him about that when we see each other, but it’s a shame.
“The first two races of the season we had our own issues – electrical and mechanical — so finally we were on our way, and then Turn 1 happened. We could have had plenty of time to battle it out today, but it is what it is.”
The 2014 IndyCar Series champ and 2018 Indy 500 winner didn’t see it the same way.
“I don’t really agree with the penalty from early in the race,” said Power. “I felt that it was just a racing deal.
“Just a rough day for us. I guess in the end things could have been worse and 11th is a small victory. Just not the day we needed. Got a podium yesterday but just didn’t have it today.”