Power Play- Pocono Review

Power won when power was lost. Will Power found the right downforce adjustment and took the lead late to win the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.  What looked to be a duel to the finish between Mikhail Aleshin and Ryan Hunter-Reay failed to happen when Hunter-Reay lost power on lap 164. He was able to coast to the pits and get restarted, but his chance at victory was mostly gone. An Aleshin/Hunter-Reay duel would have been a fight between the pole sitter and the car that started last. This was one of the best races of the year.

Mikhail Aleshin appeared to have his first IndyCar victory well in hand, but he seemed to not be getting the fuel mileage the Chevrolets were. Most of stints were less than 30 laps. Will Power had early handling issues in traffic, but the car and the race came to him. He won the race off pit road on the last stop and held off a hard charging Aleshin to win.

What can you say about Ryan Hunter-Reay? He started last and came through the field to lead by lap 49.  He was then in contention all day until an electrical hiccup on lap 64 put him down a lap. Hunter-Reay then got his lap back with the late yellow and charged back to finish third. Basically, he passed the entire field twice. I know many fans don’t care for him, but I think he is one of the most under appreciated talents in Indy car. He can put a car pretty much anywhere and isn’t afraid to do it. He was definitely the driver of the day.

The worst incident of the day was a scary crash in pit lane on lap 64. Helio Castroneves was very fortunate Alexander Rossi’s car hit him where it did. A few inches more toward the cockpit would have been disastrous. I watched the replay several times. Rossi’s car was not as close to Castroneves’ cockpit as it first seemed. I saw several people on twitter calling for cockpit coverings. While I think some type of protection needs to be added, I’m not sure any device would be strong enough to keep an entire car out of that area. I am not in favor of completely enclosing the cockpit.

Power and Simon Pagenaud each now have four wins this year. Whoever wins his fifth race first will most likely win the title. Pagenaud’s oval woes continue. With one more oval next Saturday his twenty point lead could totally vanish heading to the final two races. Power has now finished first or second in six straight races. I think he has to be considered the title favorite now.

Notes:

  • Mikhail Aleshin has suddenly become a rising star in IndyCar. After his horrific crash at Fontana two years ago and sitting out last year until Sonoma, he is doing a fantastic job this season. His story is an inspiring comeback that is flying under the radar.
  • Will Texas be Ed Carpenter’s last race as a driver? He has not had a great year in the car, although Josef Newgarden continues to shine. Ed seems to reaching the point most owner-drivers eventually come to- step out of the car and run the team.
  • Andretti Autosport is unveiling a new sponsor and livery for next year at noon today.
  • Thursday is the highly anticipated announcement of Gateway Motorsports Park’s return to the IndyCar schedule. I expect a night race in August.
  • Tomorrow is the Celebration of Life for Bryan Clauson at Kokomo Speedway. The celebration is at 1 pm, followed by racing at 6:30pm the entire day is free. Please bring towels and/or blankets to the celebration to help out the local humane society. Chevy and Stew thank you. Although admission is free, a pit pass for the evening is $30.  I will share my experience there later this week

 

 

 

 

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