Pocono race winner Will Power was “lucky” not to crash when his front wing failed in the early stages of the race, according to his engineer David Faustino.
Power had passed Tony Kanaan for fourth position on Lap 63 of 200 when the front wing adjuster in his Team Penske Chevrolet failed, collapsing the wing setting.
The problem forced the Australian to pit lane just nine laps after his previous stop, dropping off the lead lap.
However, Faustino said that Power could have easily crashed before he made it into the pits.
“It’s a stock Dallara part, and a bearing in there failed and let the front wing drop down flat,” explained Faustino.
“I don’t know why it failed but there’s a lot of air turbulence on the straights, and the turns are very high downforce.
“So it’s lucky Will didn’t crash, because if that failure had happened in one of the turns, that’s a push-into-the-wall situation.
“We got lucky there.
“He came into the pits, we changed the front wing and went a lap down, so we added a bunch of downforce to help his balance a little bit to help him deal with dirty air in the traffic.”
Power’s trouble was compounded by rear wing damage, which he sustained in contact with Charlie Kimball, but a caution allowed Penske to pit its driver and fit a new one.
“After that the car was fast,” said Faustino.
“We passed a lot of cars and then Will got out into clean air and the car was fast – Will’s laps were 216s (mph), 217s – and we made huge ground on the others who’d stopped several laps earlier.”
Once Power moved into clear air Penske “scrambled to take out a bunch of downforce”, according to Faustino, which allowed its driver to see out a remarkable back-to-front victory.
“I didn’t want to slow the stop down too much and give up all our track position advantage,” he added.
“We did just enough where he was able to hang onto the lead.
“In my opinion, we still had too much drag in the car.
“Once the guys behind got close enough to catch our draft, they were towing up to Will, so it was close.”
Power made 10 pitstops during the race, compared with seven for Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden, who finished second, and six for other victory contenders.
The team also had to fit a new engine after qualifying because the previous unit had reached its allotted 2500-mile limit.
“I’ve got to hand it to our guys,” said Faustino.
“The engine change after qualifying to barely make the final practice session and then having to do a mid-race front-wing change, mid-race rear-wing change, downforce adjustments all-day long…
“It’s really gratifying to emerge from a race like that with the win.”