Barber blocking controversy #2: Power vs. Hinchcliffe (VIDEO)

1 Comment
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

This was less of an issue because no penalties were assessed, unlike for Takuma Sato. But there was one other blocking brouhaha in Barber qualifying, between the usually jovial James Hinchcliffe, the St. Petersburg winner, and St. Petersburg polesitter Will Power.

Hinchcliffe failed to advance through to Q2, and blamed Power without doing so by name.

“Other drivers,” said Hinchcliffe when asked by IMS Radio what happened. “We’ve been struggling a bit this weekend but we had enough time to get into Q2. I caught a driver who was backing off, but then he took off, and backed off again. You get maybe 1 or 2 laps and you can’t do a cool off lap with these tires, but I had to do a cool off lap. He ends up P3 and we didn’t make it – it was frustrating.”

Power, cool and dry as ever, responded to the accusations in the post-qualifying press conference.

“I don’t think I blocked him actually. (E.J.) Viso checked me up,” Power said. “Those guys checked up in front of me. Yeah, I don’t know what he’s talking about. Blocking? Have to take a look at the video. Just whining because he didn’t get through, I think.”

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

 

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

Follow @JerryBonkowski