All Power in St. Petersburg with a Controversial Re-start

By on March 31, 2014

Will Power powers his Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to the top of podium of the 2014 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  Power led the race 74 of 110 laps and wins his second Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  (photo Rodney Meyering /RSEN)

St. Peterburg, Fla. — Takuma Sato, pole-sitter,  led the 2014 Verizon Indy Car season off the green flag and another great event in St. Petersburg was off.

Sato would lead the pack through the streets of St. Pete for the first 27 laps until making a pit stop on lap 27.  Helio Castroneves takes over the lead for a brief few laps until he makes his first pit stop.  Sato takes the lead with Will Power only .1695 seconds behind.  Power overtakes Sato in turn #2 on the 31st lap, giving Power a lead in each of the last five years at St. Petersburg. Power would not look back only losing the lead for a lap (#77) on a pit during caution.

  Power’s victory was his 22nd of his Indy Car career and 2nd here in St. Petersburg (2010).   Ryan Hunter-Reay was the bridesmaid as he was back in 2009.   Helio Castroneves has been on the podium for the past three years in St. Petersburg finishing 3rd. 

 Power gained the lead back on lap 78.  It would be just five laps later on lap 83 the cars were off on green, but not for long.  The restart will be talked about I’m sure for years to come and I am labeling it controversial for lack of a better term. On the restart the back of the field would get bunched up and #98 Jack Hawksworth spins out of control crossing to the bottom of the front stretch and crunches into #25 Marco Andretti.  Andretti gets out under his own power visibly limping, Hawksworth remained in his car until the safety team arrived.

 

Jack Hawksworth, who raced with Rocket Sports & Entertainment Network in last years media kart day, ran good until the incident (photo Rodney Meyering / RSEN)

The restart that lead to the incident started with Will Power, the leader apparently slowing down upon green.  There was a question if the flag man waved the flag early. After the incident Marco Andretti said, “Yeah it’s hard to see because I was pretty far back, but Will just stopped. Once you go, you gotta go. It was a bit of an accordion effect, and I just got caught up. That’s what happens when you are in the back, so I’ve got no one to blame but myself.”

Power after the race said, “Basically the pace car pulls off and you can set the pace you want.  I wasn’t even in the zone.  We weren’t even in the zone that you have, the 200 yards or whatever it is, to decide for the leader to go when he wants. They actually threw the green before I was in the zone which was confusing to me. So the next restart I just went because I figured they were going to throw the green.  To me, the only problem people would have had if they gassed back to get a good run.  That’s the only problem they should have had.  I didn’t touch the brakes, did not touch the brakes.”  Power also added that he was in first gear.

Castroneves said,  “I don’t have to see the restart.  I know what happened…He  (Will Power) did play… I didn’t quite know that trick from him, and he got me, which is good.”  Ryan Hunter-Reay said, ” I was expecting it… It was a bit of a stack-up.  We’ve always had stack-ups.  It’s just this one was pretty bad. I can’t comment on it any further then what I saw.  I need to the video.”

What ever controversy can be dropped on the first race, all in all it a victory for St. Peterburg once again.  And Will Power is 2014 Firestone Grand Prix of st. Petersburg champion.

Helio Castroneves a three time Grand Prix of St. Petersburg champion (2006, 2007, 2012) (photo Rodney Meyering / RSEN)

Helio Castroneves never lost for words, especially back to his native country,  Brazil. The Brazilian fans in the back could not agree more. (RSEN photo)

Does anyone know, is there good surfing in Australia? Aussie Will Power wins his second surf board in in 5 years (RSEN photo)

Marco Andretti had tough luck on the lap 82 restart, but Marco took the high road blaming himself for being in back. (photo Rodney Meyering / RSEN)

The pole-sitter Takuma Soto led the first 28 of 30 laps and then Power took over.  Sato finished 7th. (photo Rodney Meyering / RSEN)

Power and Castroneves teammate Juan Pablo Montoya finished 15th (photo Rodney Meyering / RSEN)

Graham Rahal finished 14th (photo Rodney Meyering / RSEN)

Ryan Hunter-Reay who started 3rd and finished 2nd said when asked of the wet qualification conditions on Saturday, “Yesterday was a blast. I love qualifying in a changing track like that where it’s wet to start, then drying throughout. I wish we could do that every week because as a driver you have to go outside your confort level and go grip and stuff like that.” (photo Rodney Meyering / RSEN)

FINAL FULL RESULTS

PLACE Car # Driver
1 12 WILL POWER
2 28 RYAN HUNTER-REAY
3 3 HELIO CASTRONEVES
4 9 SCOTT DIXON
5 77 SIMON PAGENAUD
6 10 TONY KANAAN
7 14 TAKUMA SATO
8 19 JUSTIN WILSON
9 67 JOSEF NEWGARDEN
10 8 RYAN BRISCOE
11 17 SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA
12 7 MIKHAIL ALESHIN
13 11 SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS
14 15 GRAHAM RAHAL
15 2 JUAN PABLO MONTOYA
16 20 MIKE CONWAY
17 34 CARLOS MUNOZ
18 18 CARLOS HUERTAS
19 27 JAMES HINCHCLIFFE
20 83 CHARLIE KIMBALL
21 98 JACK HAWKSWORTH
22 25 MARCO ANDRETTI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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