IndyCar: Penske sees title hopes dwindle for Power, Newgarden

1 Comment

Now tied for third at 87 points back of championship leader Scott Dixon, Team Penske’s Will Power and Josef Newgarden are still mathematically alive in the championship fight.

However, their realistic chances are now somewhere between slim and none after both endured troublesome days during the Portland Grand Prix.

The day started with lots of promise for them. They locked out the front row – Power was on the pole, with Newgarden right alongside – with Dixon starting 11th.

Things appeared to take another favorable turn for them when Dixon was collected in a Lap 1 crash involving Zach Veach, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, and Ed Jones. Though Dixon continued on without damage, he was relegated to 20th in the running order at the time.

However, everything started falling apart immediately afterward. Power began suffering from a gearbox problem after a Lap 7 restart. He lost the lead to Alexander Rossi and plummeted to outside the top 10.

He briefly appeared to recover and regain pace, but his day essentially came to an end on Lap 43, when he nosed into the Turn 12 tire barrier and suffered a more serious gearbox issue that forced him into the pits for repairs.

He later rejoined the race, but several laps off the lead and languished in 21st at the checkered flag, seven laps down to race winner Takuma Sato.

Power explained afterward that he felt the gearbox act up on the warm-up laps, and knew it might not make it the whole way.

“I think on the warm-up lap before the green, something happened to the gearbox. It jumped to neutral, I went into emergency mode and made it go into gear and thought, ‘OK, that’s all right,'” Power detailed.

“Then, coming out of the hairpin on the first restart, it popped into neutral again and everyone behind me went past. Then, I realized I couldn’t use first gear. We were on a reasonable strategy and I made a mistake trying to keep (Matheus) Leist behind me. Then, the gearbox completely went. I’m not sure the gearbox would have made it the whole race, anyway. But man, it’s a tough sport.”

Newgarden, meanwhile, looked poised to battle for the win, and possibly give himself a chance at the championship in Sonoma.

Newgarden ran in the Top 3 in the first half of the race, and used an aggressive inside move on Alexander Rossi to take the lead on Lap 49. Given the aforementioned problems for Dixon, the door was open for Newgarden to put himself back in the title picture.

However, his day came unraveled when Zach Veach spun off in Turns 10 and 11 on Lap 56. Veach’s spin forced a full-course caution, which destroyed the strategy for Newgarden, and Rossi – they both were on similar strategies and forced to pit under yellow.

Newgarden dropped to 16th on the Lap 61 restart, and could only work his way back to 10th at the checkered flag.

Ultimately, what started out as a strong outing for last year’s Verizon IndyCar Series champion ended in frustration.

“It was a tough day. I don’t know what else to say,” Newgarden lamented.

“We led some laps and I think we had a Verizon Chevrolet that was good enough to win it. It just didn’t fall our way. You can’t predict these INDYCAR races. I wish we could get Lady Luck on our side one of these days. It just seems to walk away from us as of late.”

Depending on the number of entries at Sonoma, the maximum points swing could be above 90 points.

Therefore, theoretically, Power and Newgarden are still mathematically alive. However, for either to win the championship, Dixon would likely need a DNF, and probably fall out early on, while Rossi would need to finish ninth or worse. Meanwhile, Power and Newgarden would need race wins, along with the bonus points for pole and leading the most laps.

If any part of the above scenario does not come to fruition, then Team Penske is likely to miss out on the IndyCar championship.

Follow@KyleMLavigne

Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

SupercrossLIVE.com
Leave a comment

“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

View this post on Instagram

Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

A post shared by D E A N O (@deanwilson15) on

Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter