Damage control: Despite late spin, Will Power retains IndyCar points lead (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Team Penske’s Will Power may have had a trying afternoon in Race 1 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, but it didn’t impact his Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead all that much.

Power was one of multiple drivers that fell victim to a partially wet, partially dry NRG Park circuit when he lost control and spun into the tires at Turn 9 to bring out a caution with 28 minutes left in the race.

But while he wound up 14th at one lap off the pace, his closest rival in the championship and teammate Helio Castroneves finished ninth after starting on the front row.

As a result, Power’s 39-point lead over Castroneves going into today was only shrunk slightly to 33 points ahead of tomorrow’s second race in Houston (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

You figure Power will gladly take that after today. He was unable to get out of the first round of this morning’s qualifying session and had to start 18th. Then in the race, he was never able to make much progress.

Castroneves was running third at the time of Power’s spin behind James Hinchcliffe and Sebastien Bourdais. However, those three along with others in the lead pack pitted under the caution, while Wilson, eventual race winner Carlos Huertas, and six others stayed out for track position.

In the race off pit road, Castroneves was fourth and had to line up 12th for the restart with 21 minutes left behind those that stayed out plus Hinchcliffe, Bourdais and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The Brazilian still managed a Top-10 in the end, but perhaps today was a missed opportunity for him.

As for Hunter-Reay, he finished seventh and cut his own championship deficit to Power from 60 points to 50; he remains third in the table ahead of fourth-place Simon Pagenaud (finished 16th today), who is 91 points out.

Juan Pablo Montoya, by virtue of his second-place performance behind Huertas, moved up two positions to fifth in points. He is 123 points behind Penske teammate Power.

Make sure to follow all of Friday’s Indy 500 ‘Carb Day’ action on NBCSN from Indianapolis

NBCSN
Leave a comment

It’s known as “Carburetor Day” – or in its simplest term, just “Carb Day.”

But the final day of on-track action Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 is so much more.

Especially on NBCSN, which will have wall-to-wall live coverage starting Friday morning.

Here’s how Friday’s schedule breaks down:

  • 11 a.m. ET: Carb Day kicks off with the final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500. The session will last one hour in length.
  • 12 p.m. ET: We’re going racing! Strap in for coverage of the Indy Lights’ Freedom 100 on the famous Brickyard.
  • 1:30 p.m. ET: We’ll have coverage of the annual IndyCar Pit Stop Challenge. Which teams have the best – and most importantly, fastest and accurate – pit crews? Team Penske has won 10 of the last 12, including the last two years edging out Schmidt Peterson Motorsports each time. Who can potentially beat them this year?
  • 3:30 p.m. ET: We’ll have our annual NASCAR America Motorsports Special. Among segments included in the 90-minute show will be:1) 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi will discuss how it used to upset him when people suggested he “backed into” his big win and how he didn’t really feel vindicated until he qualified on the front row for last year’s race.
    2) Defending 500 winner Takuma Sato, the first Japanese driver to ever win at Indianapolis, discusses the impact of his big win personally and professionally, particularly back in his native land.
    3) An essay by Robin Miller on Stefan Wilson giving up his ride last year to allow Fernando Alonso to race for Andretti Autosport.
    4) An essay by Nate Ryan on Danica Patrick as she looks to compete in her final Indy 500 before retiring from professional racing.

Follow @JerryBonkowski