Associated Press

Will Power cleared to drive; “no definitive evidence” of concussion

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As it has turned out, per INDYCAR Will Power did not have a mild concussion after all, and following further evaluation he has been cleared to drive.

Power had been diagnosed with one, which was announced Sunday during the Verizon IndyCar Series season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. With him ruled out of competition, Team Penske nominated Oriol Servia to fill in first for the morning warmup and then the race; the Catalan finished 18th.

However, per an INDYCAR release, following an extensive evaluation at the University of Miami Concussion Program, it revealed no definitive evidence of a recent concussion for Power. He passed an IMPACT test and was also evaluated by a team of physicians who specialize in concussions.

“The doctors at the University of Miami concluded Power’s symptoms were not the result of a concussion, and may have been related to a lingering inner ear infection for which he was being treated,” said Dr. Terry Trammell, safety consultant to INDYCAR.

“There is no evidence that he sustained a concussion in the crash on Friday, which is consistent with his ear accelerometer data and the mandatory screening evaluation conducted after his crash.”

A conference call later today will occur with Dr. Trammell, Power and Team Penske president Tim Cindric.

Here’s the full release from INDYCAR:

INDYCAR announced today that results of an extensive evaluation at the University of Miami Concussion Program revealed no definitive evidence of a recent concussion for Verizon Team Penske driver Will Power. The 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion passed the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) test and a MRI/DVI study was normal in all parameters. Power was evaluated by a team of physicians specializing in concussions.

Power has been cleared to return to Verizon IndyCar Series competition after sitting out race day on-track competition for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 13.

“The doctors at the University of Miami concluded Power’s symptoms were not the result of a concussion, and may have been related to a lingering inner-ear infection for which he was being treated,” said Dr. Terry Trammell, safety consultant to INDYCAR. “There is no evidence that he sustained a concussion in the crash on Friday, which is consistent with his ear accelerometer data and the mandatory screening evaluation conducted after his crash.”

Power was involved in a one-car crash during morning practice in St. Petersburg on March 11. He was evaluated at the scene, under INDYCAR protocol, and was cleared to drive by INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows after showing no concussion-like symptoms.

Power experienced severe nausea on March 12 following Firestone Fast Six qualifications – where he claimed the Verizon P1 Award and broke the St. Petersburg track record. He was required to submit to an examination by INDYCAR Medical on March 13, where he failed a SCAT (Sports Concussion Assessment Tool) and was presumed to have been suffering from concussion-like symptoms. He was replaced in the Team Penske No. 12 Chevrolet by Oriol Servia for the morning warmup practice and the race.

“Given the nature of his inner-ear infection, it would have been extremely difficult for Will to pass the SCAT, which is what ultimately led to the concussion diagnosis,” Dr. Trammell explained. “At the University of Miami they conducted a week’s worth of testing in one dayand Will was seen by multiple physicians. The doctors concluded definitively that Will had not sustained recent head trauma.”

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.