Power weathers conditions at Pocono

Ruben Hill
August 21, 2019

Will Power celebrates his victory on the podium.

Black clouds formed over the track just past the halfway point, and the race was shortly red flagged because of lightning.

The devastating wreck recounted here, prompted a 45-minute delay to fix the fence...which also gave time to count blessings as all of the five drivers involved - Rossi, Takuma Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay James Hinchcliffe and Felix Rosenqvist - escaped serious injury. IndyCar and Pocono do not have a deal for a 2020 race. Rossi won a year ago in a race marred by the wreck that paralyzed Robert Wickens from the waist down.

In a day defined from the outset by chaos, controversy and unpredictable weather, Team Penske's Will Power had some wild swings of fortune typical of his 2019 season to date, but this time he turned misfortune into advantage and swept to victory in a summer storm-shortened ABC Supply 500 at Pocono.

"I had a few issues during the race, but we just kept coming back", Power said. But all that was rendered irrelevant moments later when a horrific accident stirred memories of last year's early catastrophe at this race. His vehicle shot into a fence, leaving the promising IndyCar driver paralyzed from the waist down.

The green flag had barely been dropped when 2017 Indianapolis 500 victor Takuma Sato used an aggressive - arguably foolish - move to trigger a wreck that sent Rosenqvist to the hospital. Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi were treated and released from the on-site medical center.

Rossi, Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe were all able to fix their cars and return to the race, although each were assessed 10-lap penalties for working on their cars during the red flag.

"I can't even begin to understand how after past year Takuma thinks that's acceptable", Rossi said.

Rosenqvist hit the fence nose first and his vehicle slammed back on the track. Felix Rosenqvist has what were described as non-life-threatening injuries, though he was sent to a trauma center for further evaluation.

"Definitely feel lucky escaping without any serious injuries after visiting the catch fence there", he tweeted.

Wickens said on Twitter that IndyCar should no longer race at the track.

"It's just a toxic relationship and maybe it's time to consider a divorce, " he wrote.

IndyCar driver Sage Karam said the "answer is clear that we should not be here".

Sato was the subject of blame and tried to answer the charges from the other drivers that he was responsible.

Sato said he met with IndyCar and the situation would be reviewed.

They certainly weren't in the vehicle for long the first time around. "They already said there is no punishment".

Rossi's Andretti Autosport crew were able to get his auto repaired during the subsequent 45-minute red flag race stoppage, but he was unable to gain any positions and finished 18th. It was the second year in a row a vehicle has gone into the fence after a crash at the start of the race in the turn two area of the track. Karam spun into the wall in the 2015 Pocono race and debris from his vehicle struck Wilson.

"I think it's a great track it's just not meant for IndyCars". I love oval racing and want it in IndyCar. We need to be smart and move on and go to tracks that fit these cars.

Rossi, who won Pocono past year, saw his IndyCar championship hopes take a serious blow. The strong run, coupled with the fifth-place finish of Team Penske's Josef Newgarden, tightened the championship chase, which has four drivers within 52 points heading to the final three races.

Power had been one of IndyCar's most consistent winners and he won the 2014 series championship.

Power had to wait a while, through a series of lightning strikes to the west, before IndyCar finally made it official, calling the race at 128 of the scheduled 200 laps.

Unusually, the second-place driver was also at least partly relieved to see the race called early, as Scott Dixon was stuck with an abruptly ill-handling PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda that would have been locked in by the red flag. He finished 18th, losing 19 points to Newgarden. Newgarden and Pagenaud are both trying to win for team owner Roger Penske. "I knew if we were in that top five, we'd have a shot at the win". "It's good to be in it. We'll keep our head down and see what we can come up with for the last three races".

"When you bring this wonderful trophy with all the faces on it, it just wakes up people", he said.

The NTT IndyCar Series gets back to racing this week with the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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