Power wins wild IndyCar race at Texas under caution
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Will Power won a wild IndyCar race under caution at the repaved and reconfigured Texas track with only eight of the 22-car field actually crossing the finish line Saturday night.
Power finished ahead of Tony Kanaan, who other drivers and at least one owner blamed for a big crash earlier that led to a nearly 31-minute red flag.
The final caution came when Takuma Sato, driving the same car he won the Indianapolis 500 in two weeks ago and pushing for another win, got his left side slightly into the grass on the front stretch, with five laps to go. That sent him spinning, and also took out Scott Dixon.
It was the 31st career victory for Power, and his second this season.
Simon Pagenaud was third, ahead of defending race champion Graham Rahal. Gabby Chaves finished fifth and Marco Andretti in sixth was the only other driver to finish all 248 laps at the 1 1/2-mile track.
With a full moon looming over the track, the red flag came out after an accident involving nine cars that was blamed on Kanaan, who recovered from the ensuing penalty for his runner-up finish.
James Hinchcliffe got loose on lap 154 after making contact with Kanaan, who appeared to move up the track into him. That put Hinchcliffe in the middle of three-wide and he made contact with his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate Mikhail Aleshin.
While calling Kanaan someone he trusts on the track, Hinchcliffe said Kanaan drove from inside along the white line and up into him, and pushed him into Aleshin.
“He wasn’t driving smart, or respectfully,” Hinchcliffe said.
That led to a spark-spraying chain reaction that took out both Dale Coyne Racing drivers, Tristan Vautier and Ed Jones, and sent driver-owner Ed Carpenter and his teammate JR Hildebrand to the garage. Carlos Munoz and Ryan-Hunter Reay were knocked out of the race.
Carpenter, who took his repaired car back on track 12 laps down, also blamed Kanaan. Car owner Dale Coyne went up the Kanaan’s car while it was lined up on pit road during the red flag, then leaned into the cockpit and said something.
After the race resumed, IndyCar penalized Kanaan for avoidable contact, holding him in his pit for 20 second during green-flag conditions.
All drivers involved in the crash were evaluated and released from the infield care center.
IndyCar enforced two mandatory stops under caution after that for tire changes after no more than 30 laps on each set. There was blistering of some Firestone tires on the repaved and reconfigured 1 1/2-mile track, including Helio Castroneves wrecking out earlier in the night.
Polesitter Charlie Kimball and Alexander Rossi were already out of the race before then.
Rossi, the 2016 Indy 500 winner as a rookie, spun and made hard contact with the wall after getting pinched between Dixon and Kanaan, then bouncing of both of the Chip Ganassi Racing cars while coming off the backstretch on lap 37.
During stops on the ensuing caution, Sato got pinned into the wall during a pit road collision that damaged the front wing of his car. Hinchcliffe got loose coming out of his pit, then swerved into Castroneves at the same time Sato was pulling out of the first stall.
Hinchcliffe was penalized for avoidable contact.
Before the green flag came out again, polesitter Charlie Kimball’s car was pushed to the garage because of an oil leak and done.
Castroneves, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner who was the runner-up to Sato this year, was running third behind Team Penske teammates Power and Pagenaud when his front right tire gave and his car veered into the wall coming out of the second turn on lap 91. Castroneves went hard into the wall and eventually came to rest on the inside of the third turn.