Tough Indy Opener for Power

Power endures a tough opening to Indycar season

SWOPE_STP17_0317STP97(Pic Team Penske)
Will Power got his title challenge for the 2017 Verizon Indycar title underway on the makeshift street circuit of St Petersburg.

They hybrid street and airport runway circuit is a tight track, not knowing for easy passing.

So hopes were high for Power when he grabbed the opening pole position of the season in the #12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. It was his seventh pole at the circuit from the last eight races.

It seemed like he had got away well and held the lead in the opening laps, however he had locked his tyre up going into the first corner causing a flat spot.

Power and the team debated making an early stop to deal with the vibration but managed to hold out until lap 15 before pitting.

Things got much worse at the pit stop however, when Power ran over the tyre gun as it was being pulled back to the pit wall.

That resulted in a drive through penalty and dropped him down to 18
th. Whislt he bubbled back to the front from time to time due to being on a different pit stop sequence, he was never really in the hunt from there.

A tough afternoon got even harder when on lap 93 the engine developed an issue and he closed out the race with a number of pit stops and dropped back through the field ending in 19
th and a lap down.

Power relived the tough day post race ”We locked up the right front there on the start and that caused a big vibration. We talked about coming in during that first yellow but that would have put us in a bad situation. We were able to make it long enough to a good lap number before we came in, then we got a pit road penalty.

“We still came out of that OK and it was going to be a P3 or P4 kind of day. Then we just ended up having some engine issues and that took us out of contention.

“It was a typical St. Pete race for me for the last few years. That's not the way we wanted to start the season in the Verizon Chevy, but that's how it goes."

The race was won by Sebastien Bourdais in the #18 for the Dale Coyne Racing outfit. It was the Frenchman's first race for the team and some smart pit stops saw him grab the win after starting from last.

He held of Power’s team mate and defending series champion Simon Pagenaud in the #1 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet and Scott Dixon rounded out the podium for #9 GE LED Lighting Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing.