Will Power exited Race Control ‘real quick’ once he realised his ‘disgrace’ of a penalty in the Indianapolis 500 was in fact justified.
Power was furious about being put to the back of the field (lead lap cars) under Caution shortly after his second pit stop, during which he hit a crewman.
The Team Penske driver had changed his tune by the time he had arrived at Monday night’s traditional post-race banquet, when he admitted he was wrong to criticise the call.
He did not realise that he had made contact with the crewman, having braked too late to safely enter his pit box.
“I unfortunately went long on a pit stop,” explain Power.
“I didn’t say much on the radio when I got the penalty, but when I got out and the team said, ‘You didn’t hit anyone, you didn’t deserve the penalty,’ I was so mad.
“I was telling the media how bad the people in Race Control were, and going on and on.
“Then I went into Race Control and watched the videos. I said ‘Show me the video’, and I definitely hit the guy; no question.
“On the way out, I said, ‘I may have said something to the media.’
“I said ‘I thought you guys may have made the wrong decision’ to the media. Anyway, I got out of there real quick because it was my fault.”
The penalty plunged the #12 Chevrolet to 21st before Power fought his way back to fifth by the end of the 200th lap around Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I had kind of struggled all month, to be honest, but we made some changes the night before the race and the car was great,” recounted the 2018 race winner.
“It’s tough when you’re 30 cars back in all that air, but we were able to make our way up.
“So I was really happy with fifth at the end of the day, honestly.”
Power still collected USD 444,000 (AUD 641,000) for his efforts in 2019, while victorious team-mate Simon Pagenaud picked up USD 2.67 million (AUD 3.86 million).
Scott Dixon got USD 359,000 (AUD 518,000 or NZD 548,000) for finishing 17th.
The New Zealander was in a promising position thanks to his Chip Ganassi Honda’s fuel economy, despite being unable to match the outright speed of pace-setters Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi.