Will Power has very clear explanations for both of the hot-button incidents in the IZOD IndyCar Series over the past couple of weeks, and he doesn’t have very kind words for the disbelievers and conspiracy theorists.
On the incident at Baltimore where he appeared to run into Scott Dixon, the top contender in the championship battle currently being led by Power’s teammate Helio Castroneves, Power states simply that he didn’t know Dixon was there.
“We were coming for a double-file restart,” Power explains, “and I was lining up behind Sebastien Bourdais. The last time I saw Dixon, he was getting spun out in front of me. I didn’t even know where he was lining up, so I didn’t even know that he was behind me.
“I didn’t even look in my mirrors, to be honest, because you come out of the chicane and the restart comes almost immediately after that, so you’re just focusing on getting a run on the guy in front.
“I didn’t look in my mirror because I did not even think to look in my mirror because I didn’t think anyone would have the run that I had on Bourdais. The run that I had on Bourdais, Dixon had even a better run on me, and obviously he pulled out a second earlier, and then as I got to Bourdais’s gear box I pulled out to pass him and his front wing got my rear guard and that’s it.
“And I was thinking, was that just pick-up on the tires, cold tires, did I hit a bump? I didn’t even know what happened. When I got back to the pits, I said to the guys in the pit box, sorry guys, I just lost it in a straight line. They said, I think Dixon was up your inside. And then it kind of dawned on me what had happened.
“I feel very bad for what happened, very bad for Scott. He’s a very fair racer. The last couple of races he’s been very quick, and I just hated to ruin his day like that – and mine.”
And if that’s not clear enough, Power wants it to be known that he would never deliberately run a competitor off the track for any reason.
“There’s no way in a million years that I would crash myself in order to crash someone out,” Power states emphatically. “Absolutely not intentional. You can’t play those kind of games in IndyCar. It’s too dangerous. I don’t think anyone in the paddock would do that. I just can’t imagine anyone doing something like that deliberately.
“I don’t know anyone in racing who would crash themselves to crash someone else. That’s pretty insane.”
And the theme continues when conversation turns to the pit incident involving Scott Dixon and Power’s right rear tire changer, Travis Law, at Sonoma Raceway.
“I know Travis well,” Power says. “He was really upset at the reaction of people, the fact that they’d say that he’d actually walk in front of a car deliberately. I don’t know anyone who would actually do that, either. Who would actually want to get bowled over by a car, risking breaking a neck or serious injury?
“He does that exact movement every single time. You can go and watch every pit stop from this year, and Travis has done the same thing.”
Power felt that the penalty Dixon drew for the incident was justified for one key reason: safety.
“If we start being allowed to barrel people over in pit lane or being lenient on that, you’re setting a standard that’s just – people are going to start getting hurt, and you just can’t.
“No one would have said a word had the guy laid there with a broken neck or was seriously injured and carried away on a stretcher. The fact that he actually, fortunately, got up, people kicked up a big stink.
“If they say, oh, well, it looks like a mistake or whatever, we’ll let it go, what does that say to all the other drivers? It’s okay to leave the pits and hit someone?”
When Power looked over the comments from observers, he says he was dismayed by how quick people were to judge.
“It kind of disappoints me, especially in the Travis Law incident,” he says. “It just blew me away, the people on Twitter that would actually think someone would walk in front of a car. To me, shame on those people.”
But as quick as some of his competitors have been to throw IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield under the bus, Power comes to his defence.
“I don’t think Beaux’s done anything terribly wrong,” Power says. “Man, it’s a tough job, let me tell you. Whoever’s done that job will tell you that it’s a thankless job. There’s always going to be someone unhappy with your decision because there’s always someone who gains from it and someone who loses from it. To me, it’s just the hardest job that you can possibly have, and Beaux’s the one that seems to have to face the music even if it isn’t ultimately his.
“I think it’s a group decision up there because they’ve got three other former drivers that help in making the decisions on calls. He’s doing the best job with what he’s got right now.”
Will Power recently spoke with More Front Wing in detail about a number of other topics, including his current relationship with Dixon’s teammate Dario Franchitti and how he intends to help his own teammate Helio Castroneves win his first IZOD IndyCar Series title. To hear the interview in its entirety, listen to the More Front Wing podcast, which will be released tomorrow morning. Find us on iTunes or right here at morefrontwing.com.