Houston, TX- Entering today’s Verizon IndyCar Series race on the streets of Houston, the main title contenders trying to chase down Will Power had to be salivating at the mouth. Power, had a bad qualifying effort as he started 18th in today’s Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston while Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves shared the front row. Mix in Ryan Hunter-Reay starting eighth and you had guys that knew that had a prime opportunity to capitalize on some much needed points.
But, they never were able to capitalize despite Power have a bad day in the race as well. The Aussie never found his way into the top 10 as he was marred deep in the field all day. He even spun on Lap 57 and got into the tire barriers. The Team Penske driver finished one-lap down in 14th.
But, Hunter-Reay was the only one of the three challengers to even nab a top 10 as he finished ninth. Castroneves, finished 11th while Pagenaud had an even worse day coming home 16th.
Castroneves, was only able to trim six points off Power’s lead as he still trails him by 33 points heading into tomorrow’s second duel. Hunter-Reay is down by 50 while Pagenaud remained 91 down.
This is now shaping to be a three man chase for the title as a result of today’s race.
Pagenaud, developed braking issues very early on and had to relinquish the lead on Lap 4 after starting from the pole. He would fall back but the worst part of his day was when he made contact with Scott Dixon when Dixon came off of the wall on Lap 46. He would have to pit for a lengthy stop to get his No. 77 Honda fixed but he was too far behind as he was six-laps down.
Now, today could have showed why Power is going to be tough to beat. Even when he has a bad day he still remains with a huge lead as no one could capitalize. They’re running out of time now.
Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. He’s covered both NASCAR and IndyCar action since 2010 and has been credentialed to many races around the country. He’s also recognized as an accredited member of the media by both NASCAR and IndyCar. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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