Power: Long Beach disappointment was my own fault

Will Power has defended his Team Penske pit crew in the wake of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, saying his error in qualifying, not the slow pit stop, is what held back a shot at victory.

Power: Long Beach disappointment was my own fault
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

A slow second stop dropped him from a potential podium finish to seventh, as a problem connecting the fuel hose to the buckeye on the #12 car kept Power stationary for an extra four seconds.

Given the nature of the race, whereby everyone was driving to a fuel-mileage number and therefore the gap between first and last had been artificially compressed, that was enough to drop him from fourth and on the tail of teammate Helio Castroneves to seventh on track.

Power told Motorsport.com: “In any normal race, a slow stop would mean a bit more work to do on track, a few more passes to make. But we could have done that, because I had the same low downforce as Simon [Pagenaud, race winner] so it would have been possible to pass.

“But we had to hit our fuel number. I had pitted a lap earlier so it’s not like I had any extra fuel to turn up the wick. So the results were basically decided by everyone’s pit stops.”

Power said his refueler, Quinton Washington, had come to apologize as he was getting out of his car after the race, but said that wasn’t necessary.

“That guy gets it right 99 percent of the time,” said Power, “which is better than me, right?! I mean, he is totally solid. So I was like, ‘Whatever, no problem, man.’

“That’s true of the whole crew I’ve had this year and last year; they’ve been giving me really strong stops. You look at how many places they made up at [the previous race in] Phoenix. I think I gained track position at every stop except the last one, which was my fault because I clipped one of my own tires as I pitted.”

Qualifying slip-up prevented victory shot

Power added that while the long stop in Long Beach had cost him a potential podium finish, he believed he had ruined his chances of grabbing his third TGPLB victory with his blunder in qualifying.

Power had dominated the second and third practice sessions, leading by a quarter of a second. However, in qualifying, he slid into an escape road after outbraking himself while warming his brakes and tires before his flying lap in the Firestone Fast Six battle.

The resulting penalty meant he was unable to complete the session. Asked if consigning himself to sixth on the grid is what ultimately defined the nature of his race the next day, the 2014 IndyCar champion said, “Yeah… yeah, I think so.

“I think I could have made it around that corner,” he continued. “I was right on the edge of ‘Do I try and make it?’ and in that split second, I decided to not risk smacking the wall, and went down the escape road instead. But it was too tight, I couldn’t get it turned around, so they had to throw the yellow.”

Power also admitted he had been wrong-footed slightly by the timing loop meltdown at the final turn during Q2 that had forced IndyCar to switch to using the loop on the back straight as a temporary start/finish timing line.

“Yeah, I was warming my brakes at a different place in the track, because of that,” he said, “so that did feel a bit strange.

“But you know, the others dealt with it OK, so it was up to me to not screw up.”

 

 

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About this article

Series IndyCar
Event Long Beach
Location Streets of Long Beach
Drivers Will Power
Teams Team Penske
Author David Malsher-Lopez
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