IndyCar: Will Power’s second straight championship hope takes big hit after wreck at Fontana (VIDEO)


Will Power’s hopes for a second consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series championship took a big hit after being involved in a late-race wreck in Saturday’s MAV TV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

With 10 laps to go in the 250-lap event, Power was running in fourth place and on the outside of a three-car pack when Takuma Sato – in the middle and running sixth – made contact with the inside car and fifth-place ride of Scott Dixon.

Sato bounced off Dixon’s car and into Power’s, sending the two cars into the outside retaining wall. Dixon, meanwhile, was able to motor on.

The wreck was on the frontstretch, at a speed well over 200 mph.

Neither driver was injured and both climbed from their cars without incident.

Team Penske strategist Tim Cindric told NBCSN that this was not the style of racing that he expected.

“I don’t think you can say that was anybody’s fault there,” Cindric said. “It’s really disappointing because we all sat down with IndyCar after Las Vegas and discussed the fact we could never have another race like we had there, in terms of the pack racing that goes on or used to go on in IndyCar. Why we’re here doing that today, I have no idea. Fortunately, these guys are okay.

“It was very obvious to us from the first practice that this was the way it was going to be. We voiced our concerns, the drivers voiced our concerns. … I’m sure it’s fun to watch, but running open-wheel cars like this is very difficult.”

Team owner A.J. Foyt, who owns Sato’s car, had a different perspective.

“We had a great car today, (Sato) did a great job of driving it, but it just wasn’t our day,” Foyt said. “I enjoyed this type of racing when I was doing it.

“It’s not that much fun watching, but I think it’s great racing. At least you can race. When you can race, you can race. … That’s just racing. It just wasn’t our day.”

Power sounded off to NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis.

“I’m just glad Ryan looks like he’s OK,” he said. “What are we doing? That was a Vegas situation. I’m so happy no one is hurt. It’s crazy. We don’t need another situation like Vegas.”

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X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.