It was a highly dramatic day on the oval of Pocono, when Verizon IndyCar series drove the season’s 14 round on the special oval track with only three corners.
Will Power had taken Pole Position ahead of his Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden. On the second row, there were Andretti Autosports teammates Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay, while Simon Pagenaud and Robert Wickens would start from the third row.
The championship leader Scott Dixon started all the way back in 13th, so it seemed to be another difficult day to score points, unlike his big lead advantage only a month ago.
When the lights went off, the cars didn’t even have time for the green flag before the first collision. Grahan Rahal drove into the rear end of Spencer Pigot. Pigot was out on the spot, while Rahal got his front wing damaged.
When the race was restarted on the seventh lap, we didn’t even make it to Turn 2 before another accident – a much more serious one this time. While Alexander Rossi took the lead, Robert Wickens tried to overtake Ryan Hunter-Reay. The two cars lay side-by-side, before Wickens chose to dive back again. They brushed each other’s car and it sent Wickens up in the air at the fence, where his car got completely damaged before he landed again. He was flown to the hospital, but according to the official news from the series, he was conscious. Racing24-7.net send our thoughts to Robert Wickens and hope he’ll be back on the his feet again soon.
Other than Wickens and Hunter-Reay, Pietro Fittipaldi and Takuma Sato were also involved, as well as James Hinchcliffe, Wickens’ teammate. All of them retired on the spot.
The race was redflagged, since some part of the fence was damaged by Wickens’ car.
After nearly two hours, the race got restarted.
There were only 16 cars left in the field after the chaotic opening lap.
The drives got four warm-up laps before they were given a green flag.
Alexander Rossi led the field, in front of Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Zach Veach, Sebastien Bourdais, and Scott Dixon.
Rahal and Pigot got a penalty for working on the cars under the red flag, which was prohibited. The penalty was at they lost two laps. Pigot was only back on the track due to the long red flag period. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to get the car ready again.
Pagenaud and Ed Jones were in the pits to get their cars repaired, before the race was restarted.
Marco Andretti had a good speed and was up to fifth place.
Tony Kanaan had to pit after a few laps when the speeder sensor in the car was damaged. Luckily, he could crawl back to the pits so we avoided a yellow flag situation. But the team chose to park the car, since they would lose so many laps that it wasn’t worth it.
Ed Carpenter Racing team chose to pull Spencer Pigot out of the race, because he was so many laps behind the competitors. Their plan was only to overtake the drivers who had been involved in the big accident and then park the car again.
Alexander Rossi was comfortably ahead in front of the field, with a lead of about five seconds, before he pitted for the first time. This lead extended to eight seconds after everyone else had pitted.
When the leading cars encountered traffic, it was a bit easier for them to overtake each other. Bourdais used that to overtake Veach in the battle for fourth place.
Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing were again clever with their pitstop strategy and fuel consumption, and he was up to fourth, behind Rossi, Power, and Andretti.
Rossi’s big lead disappeared when the cars pitted for the second time. Power had closed the gap to just three seconds, so there was a battle in the pitlane between the two teams’ pitcrews. But there was no position change between the two.
Andretti, Dixon, and Bourdais drove in a long line for third place, but none of them could overtake each other since they drove the same speed. It remained that way until the drivers went in for their fifth pitstop. Andretti fell back behind Dixon, Bourdais, and even Newgarden.
Power went past Rossi after the fifth pitstop, and it was the first time since the opening lap that Rossi lost the lead.
The speed in front was so fast, at only top 7 was in the same lap as Power, after 140 out of the 200 laps. Actually, there was no yellow flag at all since the restart, after the big crash at the beginning of the race.
Rossi retook the lead a few laps after, and built up a lead to Power again.
Conor Daly brushed the wall after 166 laps, but he managed to drive back to the pits, so a yellow flag wasn’t necessary.
Rossi was the first driver in top 3 who pitted, followed by Dixon and Power. Power then ended up being stuck behind Max Chilton on his in lap, and was close to crash the car into the wall, but the Indy 500 winner this year could get the car under control again.
After 200 laps, Alexander Rossi was crowned as the winner of ABC Supply 500 on the oval of Pocono, ahead of Will Power and Scott Dixon. It was the second victory in a row for Rossi, who won the race on a normal racetrack in Mid-Ohio three weeks ago.
Only five drivers completed all 200 laps, but the exceptional thing was that 188 laps of the 200 were run under green flag, since the race got restarted after the red flag.
Scott Dixon still leads the championship, while Alexander Rossi is now only 29 points behind him, and 37 points down to Josef Newgarden in P3. Will Power in fourth place is 81 points after Dixon, but with 100 points to fight for in the final weekend only later in the year, he still has a chance to win the championship.
The next round of Verizon IndyCar Series will be run next Saturday at Gateway Motorsports Park, but with only 1,25 miles per lap, the drivers will do 400 laps around the short oval track.