MADISON, Illinois – A slick first turn of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline cost the pole winner and two other drivers who started among the first three rows Saturday night.
Pole winner Will Power slid on his own in Turns 1 and 2 on the Lap 6 of the race at Gateway Motorsports Park and hit the outside wall in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Takuma Sato, who started sixth, and Ed Carpenter, who started fifth, lost grip behind Power, touched and also spun.
Carpenter’s No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet became airborne as it struck Power’s car, but none of the three drivers was injured.
“It was not a fun ride,” Power said. “Josef (Newgarden) got around this outside, and I got caught up in his dirty air and just spun. Unfortunate.”
Carpenter and Sato, in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda, were trailing Power, with Carpenter inside. As Power spun, Sato and Carpenter began to lose grip and break away.
“It’s slick,” Carpenter said. “I got a good start and was going under Sato. I saw Will get loose up in front of me, and then I was under Sato while he was sliding around. I finally got loose like those guys were. I tried to correct it and got into Sato. Once I got into him, it sent me around.”
The pileup was the most significant wreck of a shaky start to the first Verizon IndyCar Series race at Gateway’s 1.25-mile oval since 2003. Tony Kanaan spun out on the pace lap, damaging his rear wing and dropping three laps behind the leaders while making repairs under caution. With Kanaan’s incident, the race didn’t see a green flag until the end of Lap 5, just before Power’s spin.
The consequences were serious for Power. After his victory last week at Pocono Raceway, Power had moved into fifth in the championship standings, 42 points behind Newgarden.
“It’s very, very frustrating,” Power said after being released from the infield care center. “Unbelievably frustrating.”
Carpenter’s crash was another in a series of setbacks this season. In six races, the oval specialist’s best finish is seventh.
“I’m just bummed out, man,” Carpenter said. “This year did not go well. 2018 can’t get here fast enough.”
Watch a replay of the crash here: