Will Power is mad. Very mad.
Leading the 70-lap Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with five laps to go, he wasn’t a fan of the NTT IndyCar Series’ decision to red flag the race for a solo and relatively normal crash by Romain Grosjean. And as the first car to reach pit lane and sit in the high heat and humidity, he erupted after pleas for his team to be allowed to bring cooling fans were initially disregarded.
Whether IndyCar was at fault for not letting Power’s crew members look after his car immediately after it stopped, or it was blameless for following procedure by waiting for the entire field to stop and power down before letting crews start the cooling process, the outcome was unchanged: The No. 12 Chevy refused to fire, Power lost three laps, and saw the win slip away as his team changed the engine control unit (ECU).
“I’m mad at IndyCar, because I’m the first car in and they wait for the last car to come to get a fan on the car,” he said. “And it roasts the ECU. And just going red flag for starters…”
IndyCar’s chief decision makers were next in Power’s crosshairs.
“The guys up there in race control never listened to any drivers,” he continued. “They never listen, they don’t care. We’ve given them so many good suggestions, and they don’t care. And I worked my ass off today to have this happen. Like, screaming on the radio, ‘We need a fan, get a fan.’ It was for the car because ECU always overheats. [But] they wait for everyone.”
Unfortunately the @Verizon 5G Chevy will not re-fire. He remains on pit road.
— Team Penske (@Team_Penske) June 12, 2021
As told to NBC, Power insisted the calls over the radio for cooling were aimed at keeping the No. 12 Chevy in an acceptable temperature range. His first pleas, however, were for personal cooling, as the transcript from the pit lane exchanges with his timing stand confirm. Regardless, Power’s car was the only one among the 22 remaining entries to suffer an ECU problem.
“You work your ass off in this sport,” he added. “So much money goes into it, and it just dumb decisions like that. Like, there’s not a yellow they throw; it’s some stupid idea like this–a red flag.”