Power makes lemonade out of sour Detroit start

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DETROIT— Get involved in an incident in Turn 3 on the first lap. Stall under caution. Nearly go a lap down getting restarted. Finish third.

Huh?

Such was Will Power’s fortune Sunday in the second race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear doubleheader, the eighth race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season.

Power started 11th in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and was inside Felix Rosenqvist trying to gain a position at Turn 3 on the opening lap. The two cars made contact resulting in a multi-car incident that required a full-course caution to clean up.

Power was hit from behind by teammate Simon Pagenaud during the incident, causing a gearbox issue that stalled his car on track during the yellow. Fortunately, the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team got his car restarted and the Aussie rejoined the field in 19th position – still on the lead lap.

“They were able to restart me just in time. What I was trying to do (was) recycle the car, switch it off, switch it back on,” said Power. “It didn't refire. Don't know why it wouldn't refire, like when you released the clutch again, it wouldn't refire unfortunately.”

The 2014 series champion refused to give up, though. Power worked his way to 11th place by Lap 43 of 70 on the Belle Isle Park 2.35-mile temporary street course, then cycled up to lead three laps while those ahead of him made pit stops.

“I saw people peel off (to pit),” Power said. “All right, (I’ve) got to lay down some qualifying laps now, we can make a lot of ground here. That's what we did.”

Following his own lightning-quick stop on Lap 49, Power returned to the race in fourth place. He passed Ed Jones for third three laps later and hung onto the final podium spot to the checkered flag.

Will Power sprays champagne DetroitPower did have a pair of opportunities to move up with two late restarts, but he couldn’t find a way past Marcus Ericsson.

“I tried to get the best restart possible,” said Power. “We actually had diffuser damage, front wing damage, a bit of toe damage from the first incident in the race. The car was still fast. It was still quick enough.

“I didn't want to take any risks. Third was a good day, yeah.”

It gave the 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner just his second podium of the season, equaling a third-place showing in the opener at St. Petersburg. It also provided Power some relief from Saturday’s first race, when a wheel assembly came loose from his car on exiting the pits and he finished 18th.

Power sits sixth in points heading to this week’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, where he is a two-time winner and three-time pole sitter. In fact, he’s won at the next three NTT IndyCar Series tracks – Texas, Road America and Toronto – so it could bode well for a mid-season championship charge from the driver who is tied for seventh in career Indy car wins (35) and second in career poles (56).

“We need to win a race or two here,” said Power. “It’s certainly been a rough start to the season. I hate saying that, like I just really thought I’d have a good start to this year, but it just hasn’t been the case. This race I forgot about the championship, I was like, ‘We’re out of it anyway,’ and just go have fun, so maybe that’s what I need to do.

“It’s all good tracks coming up. There’s never a track anymore where I go to like, ‘Oh, I’m not good there.’ It’s always like, ‘Just put a good weekend together and we can finish well.’”

DXC Technology 600 action begins with a two-hour practice at 8 p.m. ET Thursday that streams live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold. A final 60-minute practice begins at 3 p.m. Friday, also streaming on INDYCAR Pass. Live coverage of single-car qualifying from the 1.5-mile oval commences at 6:30 p.m. Friday on NBCSN and INDYCAR Pass.

Coverage of the 248-lap race, the 31st in NTT IndyCar Series history at Texas Motor Speedway, begins at 8 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

RaceControl.IndyCar.com offers live timing and scoring of all weekend sessions, along with radio network commentary.

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