Ryan Hunter-Reay

Will Power penalized after hitting Hunter-Reay, Rahal on Lap 1

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After finishing second Saturday at Road America, Will Power got off to a disastrous start Sunday in the second race of the REV Group Grand Prix, being penalized by IndyCar for avoidable contact.

Power punted Ryan Hunter-Reay off course entering the first turn and then made contact with Graham Rahal by passing on the entry to Turn 3. Rahal then went off course after a collision with Felix Rosenqvist and slammed hard into a concrete barrier in the infield.

Power’s No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet was dropped from fifth to 22nd by IndyCar officials. On the Lap 4 restart, Power spun off in Turn 13 and collided with a trackside sign and stalled his car.

Rahal, who said he was “OK from the hit; everything did its job”, watched the replay of Power’s spin after being released from the care center.

“He’s getting what he deserves today,” Rahal said of Power. “He took Ryan out and me. It’s frustrating. It’s a deseperation move. I’ve made them before, so I know them well. I’m disappointed because I thought we had a good chance today. It’s all good. We’ll be back.”

Hunter-Reay, who started fourth, also said Power “seems to be driving a little bit desperate today. He’s been a wrecking ball so far.”

Asked by NBCSN’s Dave Burns how he would work things out with Power, Hunter-Reay said, “It’s not very like him. He finally had a better day yesterday, so he’s getting back up in points. It’s a long season ahead.

“Obviously we’ve got to do something to catch (Scott) Dixon. you definitely can’t win the whole thing in the first corner. I’ll ask him about it, but he hit me, then took Graham out and now just took himself out. I’m not really sure what’s going on there, but I’[ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s feeling a little off today.”

Power, who started fifth, managed to return to the race on the lead lap after another pit stop to replace his front wing. He finished 11th and said he disagreed with the punishment.

“Man, just a rough race for us,” he said. “I guess in the end, things could have been worse, and an 11th-place finish is a small victory. I don’t really agree with the penalty from early in the race. I felt that was just a racing deal. So, we had to come in and change the front wing, then I made a mistake and ran off the track, and we had to make another stop for another wing change.

“Just not the day we needed. Got a podium yesterday but just didn’t have it today.”

His runner-up finish Saturday was a season best but he still entered Sunday’s race seventh in the points standings and 83 points behind Dixon, who started the season with three consecutive victories.

“Yeah, that’s what was a little frustrating for me because I’m pretty far back in points,” Power said postrace Saturday night. “Scott is the guy I need to get close to. He finished ahead of us again.

“We’ll obviously keep chipping away, chipping away. Can’t get desperate, just keep chipping away at it, see if we can have a very good second half of the year.”

Santino Ferrucci, who collided with Jack Harvey, and Conor Daly, who hit Oliver Askew, also were penalized for contact on Lap 1 and sent to the rear of the field.