As the old saying goes, timing is everything.
On Lap 64 of today’s Race 1 for the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, race leader Scott Dixon ducked into the pits just before the yellow came out for the stopped car of Oriol Servia. That proved to be a very timely caution for Dixon – who went on to win the race – but a very unlucky one for his two pursuers at the time, Luca Filippi (pictured) and Will Power.
Filippi and Power stayed out under the yellow after they had both pitted on Lap 37, but still needed to make another stop. When Takuma Sato went into the tires at Turn 3 on Lap 73, both drivers came in for service during the caution and their potential podium runs came to an end; Filippi would finish 10th (his first Top-10 finish in IndyCar), while Power settled for 12th.
Despite the final outcome, Filippi looked impressive today at Reliant Park, mixing it up with the leaders for much of the afternoon.
“I think we had a great race,” he said in a team statement. “We had a great strategy and we were fast, but it was just unlucky that the yellow came at the wrong moment. I think we did the right thing. We were pushing hard and we were driving faster than most of the teams out there, so I believe it was a good call to stay out. I think we did everything right, but it was just bad luck.
“The car was great to drive. Day by day, we are improving. The team and I work well together, and we continue to make steps in the right direction, which is the most difficult thing in any sport. I think we have to be proud about it.”
As for Power, he admitted that his result was “very disappointing” but still looked to tomorrow’s second race of the weekend.
“Obviously, that yellow flag was good for Dixon in the points,” Power said. “It ruined our day and a few other people’s, as well. We know we have a strong car here in Houston, and we will give it a go in tomorrow’s second race and hope for a better finish.”