Will Power wins weather-shortened ABC Supply 500 at Pocono

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Will Power won the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway Sunday afternoon after approaching rain and lightning caused the race to end prematurely with 128 of the 200 scheduled laps complete.

The driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet took the lead of the race on lap 107 and continued to pace the field until the yellow flag came out on lap 126. The win is the first of 2019 for Power, who extends his record of consecutive seasons with at least one victory to 13.

“I’m over the moon, man,” Power told NBC Sports following his victory. “I had a few issues during the race, but we just kept coming hard.

“Full credit to the team. I kinda hung there, saved fuel, and when it was time to go I went.”

Power’s win Sunday was the third in four years at Pocono. Though he’s out of the championship hunt, Power wanted to win at least one race in 2019 to extend his streak of seasons with a victory.

“I simply just wanted to win a race,” Power said. “These guys [Power’s crew] have worked their asses off all year and just haven’t had the results.”

The afternoon was certainly an up-and-down one for the No. 12 team. After moving up to third before the first red flag of the race, Power had to pit before the race restart due to an air pressure issue, placing him at the back of the pack.

However, luck was on Power’s side when he made his first pit stop on lap 41. While Power was still in the pits,  Spencer Pigot hit the wall in Turn 1, causing the yellow flag to come out, which let Power exit the pits second behind Teammate Simon Pagenaud.

As the race continued, Power fell back to seventh place when pitting under another yellow, but he emerged from the pits with a set of fresh tires and made his way back to the lead by lap 107.

Power kept his lead over Scott Dixon through his final pit stop on lap 112 and held on through the final caution, which would quickly turn into the red flag that ended the race.

Dixon and Pagenaud finished the race in the second and third positions, while rookie Santino Ferrucci finished fourth and series points leader Josef Newgarden finished fifth.

Newgarden now leads Alexander Rossi by 35 points in the standings after Rossi was one of the five drivers collected in a multi-car accident on the first lap of the race.

All drivers would walk away from the accident safely, though Felix Rosenqvist was sent to a local hospital for further evaluations before being released a few hours later.

 

The NTT IndyCar Series now heads to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway for the final oval race of the 2019 season. Live coverage of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 begins Saturday, August 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Click here for full race results

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Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed its new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with Ford Motor Co. in an event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner.

It’s the first Formula 1 team to launch in the United States for 2023, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin, Texas, for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen already had wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

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Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts inevitably will turn to establishing a dynasty, and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his chief rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.