The Verizon IndyCar Series rolled into the Pocono mountains for round 14 of the 2017 championship. Getting his 32nd win and stamping his claim to the title was Team Penske’s Will Power. Right on Power’s heels was teammate Josef Newgarden and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi.
Will Power had fallen a lap down early in the race having to pit for a new wing.
“I thought, ‘Just hang in here,’ said Power. “I saw Hunter-Reay get his lap back last year and get all the way back to third, and then I was very cautious on those restarts, just picking people off one by one, and just be smart. You never know what can happen in IndyCar.”
Josef Newgarden finishing 2nd lengthened his points lead on the field with the exception of Will Power. Though disappointed Newgarden admitted to having his eyes on the ultimate prize.
“Will deserves the win here, he had the car to beat,” Newgarden said. “I’m looking at where I’m stacked up, I’m sitting second, and [Scott] Dixon’s behind us, Helio [Castroneves]’s behind us, Simon [Pagenaud]’s behind us, so from a points standpoint, you don’t want to wreck your teammate and you don’t want to give up where I’m at. So it was a great race for us – it’s a Team Penske victory, 1-2 for all of us. I can’t be disappointed – I am disappointed for not winning but I can’t be disappointed with what we got from a points standpoint.”
Alexander Rossi showed that Honda did not lose speed since Indianapolis leading a race high 44 laps.
“The fuel mixture knob came off about two-thirds of the way through, so we didn’t have full power at the end,” said Rossi. “And we know these Honda engines really have something for the competition. Once you come so close to the win it’s sometimes a little difficult to swallow. But looking back to where we were at Pocono last year, we had a strong car and didn’t finish, so to come back and finish on the podium is a testament to Andretti Autosport.”
Former F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez was the first car out of the race hitting the wall on lap 24.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports saw both cars crash out of the race with Sebastian Saavedra crashing out early. James Hinchcliffe’s day ended after colliding with JR Hildebrand ending both drivers days.
Polesitter Takuma Sato went backward from the start finishing a disappointing 13th.
The Honda’s of Graham Rahal and Tony Kanaan battled early swapping the top spot for 12 consecutive laps.
Marco Andretti led in the last laps of the race but the strategy would see the 30-year-old give up a 23 second lead to pit for fuel. Adding insult to injury issues with fueling would cause Andretti to lose even more time.
Ryan Hunter-Reay finished 8th after a vicious crash in qualifying that sent him to the hospital putting his race in doubt.
“It’s a bummer not to finish better because I was able to get to the front and I was thinking we were going to have a good day, But this was a road course car and we had a lot of downforce piled on – too much, as it turned out.”
“As the race went on we kept taking downforce out but not enough because I could get huge runs on Dixie [Scott Dixon] and Helio [Castroneves] but then when I popped out I was just struck and I couldn’t complete the pass.”
Hunter-Reay saw no shortcomings that came with his crash during the race but felt it afterward saying “None during the race but when I got out, it felt like a truck hit me’.
featured image – www.indycar.com – Chris Jones