Power rues lost opportunity at St. Petersburg

Will Power says two mistakes and a mechanical issue defined his race at St. Petersburg, after he had to retire in the closing stages of IndyCar's 2017 season-opener.

Power rues lost opportunity at St. Petersburg
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 leads the field into turn 10 at the start
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Power, who had scored the 45th pole position of his Indy car career, locked his right-front wheel heading into the first corner and the flatspot gave him an immediate flatspot and vibration which eventually caused the tire to deflate and forced him to pit early and go off strategy. There his right-front tire changer left the tire gun and hose in his path, so he was assessed a drive-through penalty for running over pit equipment.

Then, having saved enough fuel to fight for a top-five place, a mechanical issue – which Power didn’t wish to define – starved his engine of fuel and left him lapping at heavily reduced pace trying to recycle the system.

Ultimately, he was shown the black flag for not going fast enough, and was forced to retire.

“Well, I suppose you have to look at the bright side,” he told Motorsport.com. “We’re leaving here with 13 points which is 12 more than I left here with last year.”

This was in reference to him taking pole for the 2016 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg but then withdrawing from the event on Sunday morning with an imbalance issue caused by a severe infection. In yesterday’s race, however, he said the vibration caused by the flatspot caused the team to consider pitting immediately under the yellow caused by the first-lap shunt between Charlie Kimball, Graham Rahal and Carlos Munoz.

 “Yeah we thought about it, but it would have put us right at the back from the start of the race,” explained Power. “So we got to lap 14 before we had to stop because the tire was going down. Then we had the problem in the pits.

“But still we had a reasonable recovery, got back to third, and I kept saving, saving, saving fuel. We were hitting the number we needed to get to the end, and I reckon we had a good P4 car. I’d have had to let Dixie [Scott Dixon, third place finisher] go, but I reckon we’d have beaten the Andretti cars [of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Takuma Sato who finished fourth and fifth].

“But right after Dixon went past, the engine just started making this funny noise and I had no power. I can’t really go into what happened but we did a couple of laps trying to recycle it but it wouldn’t get going again so we had to retire.

“It’s a pity because that’s a lot of points to just give away, but it’s kinda the way things have gone for us here a lot of times.”

Power also confirmed to Motorsport.com that while he had been one of the drivers with no complaints about the brakes throughout the weekend, he finally did encounter the spongy pedal and lack of bite toward the end of the race.

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