Will Power endured a miserable 19th-place finish after being on the wrong end of contact with rookie Devlin DeFrancesco early in the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America.
Mired mid-pack after qualifying 15th proved to be problematic for the 41-year-old Australian. He and DeFrancesco were in a tight wheel-to-wheel battle as the pair headed towards Turn 5, where the former ended up clipping the left rear of Power and sending him into the outside wall. Despite his best efforts after a front wing change, Power was left to claim his worst finish of the 2022 season.
“Yeah, I haven’t seen him,” Power said, via Peacock. “We had a fast car, it’s just I kind of wondered if we changed tires when we were doing the wing. we didn’t want to go down lap obviously. But made that day way harder than what happened there. Nothing I could do about that one, but that is IndyCar. Not the best day, you have them. Just move onto the next one.”
It has been a rough rookie campaign to this point for DeFrancesco, who was also in the mix for controversial moments that result in multiple incidents for the round at Texas Motor Speedway in March.
“Ah man, you can’t really do much about it,” Power said. “He’s a young guy and he’s made some big moves this year that resulted in some incidents. I got ran off on the last lap there, so maybe we could have finished a little bit higher, but we had plenty of Push-to-Pass, couldn’t do much about it.”
Additionally, Power entered the scenic 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course as the championship leader by a mere three points. Now, he leaves 27 points behind.
“We’ll see if we can get the Verizon 5G Chevy in victory lane again this year,” added Power, who picked up his first win of the season at Belle Isle last weekend. “Anytime you get a victory in this series, it’s so big, because it’s so hard. There’s a different winner every week, except for Newgarden, obviously. Congrats to him, he won the charity prize and he’s won three races, so he’s on a good run.”
The 22-year-old Canadian and Power were going at it before the long straight as the veteran ran the rookie a little wide as they came off Turn 3.
“He had a bad run out of (Turn) 1 and I had a run on him into (Turn) 3 and I went to go to the outside of him,” said DeFrancesco, via Peacock. “We banged wheels a little bit, we did touch, a racing incident. Then I had a big run going into (Turn) 5 and he went to the inside, which he has his complete right to, I went to the outside. Then I saw him moving back over to the right. So I went to dive bomb him as I made the move a couple of times earlier in the race and we made contact.”
DeFrancesco was an early mover in the 55-lap contest. As a whole, the entire Andretti group upped their performance as DeFrancesco’s teammates – Alexander Rossi, Colton Herta and Romain Grosjean finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
“No, our No. 29 Andretti Steinbrenner Honda was monster today,” he continued. “You know, we were up to 14th from 21st. We were making moves. We were slicing and dicing through people, making those split second late dive bombs. And you know, that one, we didn’t pay off.
“I need to look at it more to see what happened because you could say I made contact with him, which I did, but from my vantage point, it did look like he moved, but we need to look at it better. I did make contact with him.”