Photo: Chris Owens/INDYCAR

Power’s Driving Irate Hunter-Reay and Rahal at Road America

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

As the old saying goes – Lap 1, Turn 1 creates chaos. The old phrase came at full song when Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal became victims of Will Power’s aggressive moves in Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.

The first one out was Hunter-Reay, who was sandwiched between Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal before getting drilled by Power in Turn 1.

The “wrecking ball” move as Hunter-Reay described it, sent him out of control and wound up stuck in the gravel which ended his day.

Once he saw the replay for the first time, Hunter-Reay voiced his displeasure on the accident.

“I got nailed from behind. I don’t know where (Will) was going,” said Hunter-Reay. “It seems to be driving a little bit desperate today. He’s been a wrecking ball so far.

“We could’ve had plenty of time to battle this thing out today, but it is what it is. We’ll move on to Iowa for the doubleheader.”

Hunter-Reay’s exit brought out the full course caution, but the madness continued in Turn 3 as Graham Rahal’s day was also cut short following a side-by-side battle with Power that resulted into mayhem.

The two made contact, making Rahal’s No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda loose and tangled with Felix Rosenqvist, who ended up winning the 55-lap race.

The sudden contact sent Rahal straight into the infield grass where the left front clobbered the tail end of the concrete wall. The brutal impact broke the wall, but Rahal was able to get out of his car unharmed. His spirits on the other hand, were damaged as he came into Sunday’s race fifth in points and high expectations of winning.

“We had hope for a good day, but it’s disappointing to see desperation moves like that early in the race,” said Rahal, who dropped to ninth in the championship trail. “That is what it is and we’re okay from the head. I think everything did its job and we’ll go from there.”

Once everyone caught a breather, it was the end of days for two drivers in a span of three corners due to Power’s troubles from their eyes. INDYCAR Race Control penalized Power for avoidable contact on Lap 4, requiring him to restart at the tail end of the field.

“I don’t really agree with the penalty from early in the race,” Power on the penalty. “I felt that was just a racing deal.”

On the other hand, Rahal felt the penalty for Power was what he deserved.

“He took Ryan out and me,” Rahal on Power’s penalty. “It’s frustrating because again it’s a desperation move. I’ve made them before, so I know it well. It’s disappointing because I thought we had a really good chance today. Some guys were very aggressive on the start and I wanted to be one of them. It just didn’t quite work out.”

Hunter-Reay said today wasn’t a characteristic of Power’s driving style and will ask him about the ordeal at a later time.

“It’s not very like him. I mean, he finally had a better day yesterday so he’s getting back up in points. It’s a long season ahead and he’s got to do something to catch Dixon. I’m not really sure what’s going on, but you can’t win the whole thing in the first corner,” Hunter-Reay on Power.

“He hit me and took Graham out. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s feeling a little bit off today.”

On Lap 6, Power had an excursion in Turn 13 where his No. 12 Verizon Wireless Chevrolet hopped the curve, taking down a REV Group sign before ending up stationary in the grass.

The second and final full course caution brought some delight to the two retirees, but Power was able to continue his rough race. Even taking a turn leading the race from Laps 17-20 before finishing 11th.

“I made a mistake and ran off the track, and we had to make another stop for another wing change,” said Power. “Just not the day we needed for the Verizon Chevrolet. Got a podium yesterday but just didn’t have it today.”

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. He's also covered Idaho Athletics and high school football as both a writer and videographer. Additionally, he spent 2017 writing several racing columns as an independent journalist. Luis does video and photography, and is a fan of Seattle sports, a music critic and a motivator who wants to impact people's lives.