Engine issues appear to have befallen Team Penske’s Will Power, who entered the KOHLER Grand Prix third in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings – the Indianapolis 500 winner was 36 points behind leader Scott Dixon entering the weekend.
Power, who started second, immediately started plummeting through the field once the green flag waved, and he headed for the pits at the end of Lap 1.
His No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet Penske team quickly went to work to identify the problem before taking it back to the paddock area.
IndyCar on NBC pit reporter Marty Snider reported that the team identified it as a header problem, and while they tried making repairs – Power did get back out on track for one lap – they were unable to fix the issue and retired the car.
“They replaced the exhaust, and it just blew straight back out. So, there’s obviously something going on in there that’s gone wrong,” Power said to Marty Snider after he climbed out of the car. “I feel bad for all the guys. It’s just one of those things, you know – you’ll get that every now and then at some point. No good, but we’ll move on to the next one.”
Power will finish 23rd.
Bob Fernley will bring his experience as former deputy team principal at Force India F1 to McLaren Racing’s IndyCar effort in 2019.
Fernley will report directly to McLaren Racing’s CEO Zak Brown.
“Heading back to the Brickyard will be a very special experience for me,” Fernley said at IndyCar.com. “I am proud to be leading this McLaren project and team. The 500 is a hell of a challenge and we have incredibly strong competitors to overcome if we’re to be successful. We will need to prepare well for the month of May and that work starts now.”
Fernley’s appointing come of the heels of last week’s announcement that McLaren will create a brand new team to compete in the 2019 Indy 500.
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For now, Fernley’s responsibility is to create an entry that is capable of allowing two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso to win the Indy 500 in just his second start. But speculation has been widespread that the entry will be a jumping off point for a much broader involvement in IndyCar.
In 2017, Alonso qualified on the middle of row two (fifth), led 27 laps and succumbed to mechanical failure. His effort was impressive enough to be name Rookie of the Year for the Indy 500.
“Bob is a fantastic operator and someone I respect greatly,” Brown said. “His experience and leadership will be essential for us on this project. He is particularly talented at putting effective teams together and extracting maximum performance with finite resources. The Indy 500 is no easy race and Bob’s is a key role, so I’m delighted he’s on board.”