Will Power’s hopes of picking up a second Verizon IndyCar Series title in 2016 took a major hit after a clash with Charlie Kimball saw him crash out of Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi.
After missing the first race of the season through illness, Power has spent 2016 trying to claw his way back into title contention – something he achieved with a string of podiums and wins through the middle part of the year.
Power entered Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen trailing Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud by 28 points at the top of the drivers’ championship, and had a golden opportunity to cut the gap after qualifying second on Saturday.
Power retained P2 through the early part of the race ahead of Pagenaud, who ran as high as third before both dropped down the pack after being forced to pit under a full course yellow.
While Pagenaud was able to move ahead, Power struggled for pace in the middle of the pack, leading to a clash with Charlie Kimball.
As Kimball got a run on Power and tried to move to the outside at the esses, the Australian drifted across, causing the two to collide and sending the Penske no. 12 car into the wall.
Power’s race was ended on the spot, meaning he will be classified in 20th position and will take just 10 points home from Watkins Glen. Pagenaud, meanwhile, has worked his way into the top 10, meaning his championship lead will swell considerably ahead of the double points finale at Sonoma on September 18.
UPDATE – POWER NOT CLEARED DUE TO CONCUSSION-LIKE SYMPTOMS
INDYCAR officials confirmed soon after the clash that Power has been checked and released but not cleared owing to concussion-like symptoms.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.