IndyCar: Despite miserable weekend, Power retains points lead

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Will Power’s weekend at Houston included: Two 18th place starting positions, an unforced error Saturday, a late-race mechanical issue Sunday, his first race where he didn’t finish on the lead lap, and two finishes outside the top-10.

It was not a great weekend for the Australian – it was nearly as bad as his Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves’ 2013 Houston debacle – but yet Power retained what Castroneves didn’t coming out of the event last October, in the form of the Verizon IndyCar Series points lead.

Power’s Sunday race in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet saw him again roll off 18th, as the team missed the setup in qualifying for a second straight day.

But by the end of the first pit stop cycle, Power suddenly appeared third in the running order. He’d had a ridiculously strong first stint where he was passing cars almost at will.

However, a parts failure with just two laps remaining cost him the podium finish he appeared poised to gain. Power fell to 11th in the second Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston race of the weekend, after ending 14th on Saturday.

“It was a great first stint; we passed a lot of cars and got up to third,” Power told NBCSN post-race. “But it’s tough to fight that hard and not come away with anything. A part that failed on two other cars at Indy road race … rattled around, and it just failed completely at the end there with two to go.”

Despite his issues, Power left Houston with the same 39-point gap he had entering the weekend on Castroneves. Castroneves was ninth on Saturday and crashed out on Sunday after making contact with Sebastien Bourdais.

The crazy weekend that took its toll on the rest of the field meant no one driver was really able to maximize points. Only Sebastien Bourdais, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jack Hawksworth and Marco Andretti scored top-10 finishes in both races.

Power now heads to Pocono next week, where last year he finished fourth and was the only Chevrolet runner in the top-five. The Ganassi team swept the podium with its trio of Hondas and Josef Newgarden finished fifth in the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda.

Tickets on sale for 2019 IndyCar race at Circuit of the Americas

Alison Narro, COTA
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Tickets are now on sale for the upcoming IndyCar Classic at the Circuit of the Americas March 22-24, 2019 and in grand Texas fashion, the series and track kicked off the sale with appearances by Simon Pagenaud and Colton Herta in San Antonio and Austin respectively.

The CoTA race will be the second race of the 2019 season.

Simon Pagenaud visited the Alamo as part of IndyCar’s announcement of ticket sales for next year’s IndyCar Classic at the Circuit of the Americas (Alison Narro – COTA)

The highly anticipated debut of IndyCar at CoTA adds another marquee event to the track’s schedule along with Formula 1, World Rallycross and the Pirelli World Challenge.

Pagenaud was joined by retired San Antonio Sours player Brent Barry and local businessman Red McCombs as they visited the Alamo and world famous McNay Art Museum.

This will be IndyCar’s first trip to the track, but Pagenaud came within one position of winning at Texas Motor Speedway in 2018. Driving for Team Penske, he started and second behind his teammate Josef Newgarden and finished a season-best second to Scott Dixon.

Pagenaud hopes to add to his current 11 victories after going winless in 2018.

Colton Herta, who will compete for Rookie of the Year honors in IndyCar in 2019, made his presence known in the Gen-X capital of Austin, Texas (Alison Narro – COTA)

After visting San Antonio, focus shifted to Austin where Herta was joined by Jay Frye, President of Competition and Operations at IndyCar and Bobby Epstein, Chairman of Circuit of the Americas.

Herta took to the streets of Austin and visited the Texas State Capitol building as part of his tour.

Herta, who will turn 19-years-old the week after IndyCar visits CoTA, will campaign for Rookie of the Year honors in 2019. He has one previous start in the series at Sonoma this September. He qualified 19th and completed all 85 laps before finishing 20th in the 25-car field.

In 33 starts in Indy Lights competition, Herta has six wins, 20 podium finishes and nine poles.