By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
A late-race crash involving Romain Grosjean caused a tremendous ripple effect in Saturday’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race No. 1. Especially, towards the front of the field as Will Power went from leading to out of contention in 10 minutes.
With just six laps remaining, Grosjean’s No. 51 Honda crashed into the outside wall of Turn 9. This brought out the second and final full course caution with Power leading Marcus Ericsson and Takuma Sato.
What Power didn’t want to see was a caution, let alone the race being halted. Both instances happened as INDYCAR brought out the red flag for the second time of the afternoon. Therefore, all the cars had to come into pit lane.
After a nine-minute stoppage, the cars re-fired except Power. This seethed the race leader, who ultimately lost the lead to Ericsson.
Power’s No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet was pulled back to his pit stall, knowing a shot of winning was over. He led a race-high 37 of 70 laps and while he did finish the race, it was a bitter 20th place result.
Ericsson went on to score his maiden NTT IndyCar Series victory, making him the seventh different winner of 2021.
“I feel bad for Will with the way it ended for him, but it was my day today. It was my time,” said Ericsson. “I thought for once the luck was on my side. I think we deserved that win.”
After the race, the man who finished three laps down wasn’t bashful about his feelings. The entire blame went to the sanctioning body for delaying a fan being brought to him. Add insult to injury, the stoppage melted the ECU as temperatures and humidity was ablaze.
“I’m mad at IndyCar,” Power exclaimed. “Because I’m the first car in and they wait for the last car to come to get a fan on that car and it roasts the ECU. Just going red flag for starters.”
Power didn’t stop there as he went straight shooting on INDYCAR Race Control.
“The guys up there never listen to any drivers! They never listen! They don’t care,” a frustrated Power stated. “We give them so many good suggestions and they don’t care! I worked my ass off today to have this happen!
“I’m screaming on the radio, ‘We need a fan! Get a fan!’ because the ECU always overheats. They wait for everyone (to pit) and these guys have still got air coming into their car. You work your ass off in this sport. So much money goes into it and it’s just dumb decisions like that. Man, if it’s not a yellow they throw, it’s some stupid idea like this, a red flag.”
Afterwards, Power got up and was consoled by Alexander Rossi, which Power pointed out that Rossi too hasn’t had luck.
“He gets the same luck too, man.”
Live coverage of Sunday’s 70-lap race at Belle Isle will begin at Noon ET on NBC.