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Power rues missed IndyCar chance to beat Newgarden at Iowa

Team Penske’s Will Power believes he had the car to get the better of Iowa Speedway IndyCar dominator Josef Newgarden on Sunday, but a late pitstop delay blunted his challenge.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet,  Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Reigning champion Power finished just 0.7s behind Newgarden following a late-race yellow flag that led to a three-lap sprint to the end of the race.

But Power thinks he could’ve moved ahead of his team-mate after the final pitstops if he wasn’t delayed leaving his pit box by Marcus Ericsson, who was pitting ahead of him just as he was ready to leave.

When asked if he had a car capable of challenging Newgarden for the win, Power replied: “Yeah, I really did. I was right within [striking range in] that last stint going into the pitstop, and I had to wait for Ericsson to pit, or it was going to be interesting.

“I obviously look at it very closely. I felt like we finally had it once we made those adjustments to run with Josef. We came into the pits with him, but I had to wait for Ericsson. It was just bad timing on our part to not pit a couple of laps early.

“I was watching my mirror because I saw [Ericsson’s team] set up, and I knew that he would be coming, so I sat there watching. There was confusion on the radio but I was, like, not going to have one of these [unsafe release scenarios].

“It sucks because you just watched almost three or four seconds tick by. A chunk of time. I came in the pits right on Josef. When we came out, I could hardly see him.”

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, leads team-mate Josef Newgarden

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, leads team-mate Josef Newgarden

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Power believed he had the right balance to fight for victory after a mid-race front wing change that transformed his car’s handling.

He’d earlier led for 30 laps from pole, but Newgarden passed him with ease when he slipped up the track in Turn 2.

“It's nuts how the adjustment of the front wing transformed the car from just horrible to extremely good,” he said. “My car was very, very strong middle-to-end of the stint. And I had a great restart [from the first caution] – went from, I think, sixth to third and then just hung back and saved tyres, and went again and got to second [after the final restart].

“That's the first time I actually thought, yeah, I could probably challenge this guy. A little bit last year, yeah, and today. But not yesterday.”

Power thinks pitting earlier would not only have avoided the Ericsson pit box situation, but he could also have used the powerful undercut to challenge Newgarden.

“Yeah, that's the gamble,” he shrugged. “I just thought we were in a position to take a big risk and pit way early because we're not really in the championship. Just go for a win.

“But I'm not on the stand, so I don't know the situation. I don't think anyone had pitted at that point, but that would have given us clear in and out and the undercut. Obviously risks with that, but not much. Here you have a two-lap window to make a yellow.

“Now he has won every single oval that he has finished in a long time.”

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