Australia’s Will Power has maintained his spot on top of IndyCar’s championship standings after finishing second at Long Beach on Sunday.
P – Australian IndyCar driver Will Power survived a late multi-car pile-up at Long Beach on Sunday to finish second behind surprise winner Mike Conway and maintain his championship lead.
Tempers flared in almost every corner of the paddock after frontrunner Ryan Hunter-Reay triggered a spectacular crash with 24 laps to go that wiped out seven cars – including fellow Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe.
Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe had been running one-two from the start of the 80-lap race until the 2012 IndyCar champion tried to make an aggressive pass of Josef Newgarden.
It left team owner Michael Andretti shaking his head in disgust and team owner Sarah Fisher fuming on Twitter over Newgarden’s day being ruined.
“Patience is a virtue and someone wasn’t very virtuous day. It was a rookie move,” said Hinchcliffe, who suffered a sprained left thumb and will need to be re-examined before he’s cleared to drive again.
The accident opened the door for New Zealand’s Scott Dixon to clinch his maiden Grand Prix of Long Beach, but was short on fuel and had to pit with two laps left – handing British driver Conway the lead and win.
Current series leader Power, who won the season-opener in Florida last month, squeezed past the carnage to cross the line 0.9005secs behind Conway, with series rookie Carlos Munoz in third.
But the Queenslander had little time to enjoy the result. Contact with Simon Pagenaud earlier in the race send Pagenaud into a tyre barrier – and the Frenchman was furious.
IndyCar reviewed the incident but did not penalise Power.
“We had a car to win and he pretty much ruined our race, our chance,” said Pagenaud, who did not accept an apology from Power.
“We were friends until now. We won’t be going on vacation together.”
Power insisted he thought Pagenaud had an issue with his car after seeing him slowly drop back.
“I feel bad. I don’t like to be raced like that and I’m surprised I didn’t get a penalty,” he said.
“But I honestly thought he had a flat tyre or something because he was really slow and I didn’t understand why.”
Fellow Australian Ryan Briscoe finished 17th.
Power now holds a 27-point lead over Conway on the championship standings after two rounds, with Pagenaud a further six points back in third.
The series next heads to Alabama on April 27.