IndyCar drivers calmer after Long Beach tempers
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Tony Kanaan got a text of apology from Ryan Hunter-Reay. Will Power tried to apologize in person to Simon Pagenaud.
Only three days after a wild race in Long Beach, where tempers flared and so many drivers were mad at each other, 18 cars were back on the track Wednesday for an open Firestone tire test at Texas Motor Speedway.
Power, the Team Penske driver who is the series points leader, said he hadn’t spoken again to Pagenaud since Sunday’s race, when there was contact between the two that ruined Pagenaud’s chance to contend for the win. Power finished second, three spots ahead of Pagenaud.
”I spoke to him straight after the race. He was probably still angry, but it’s racing – these things happen,” Power said. ”It’s going to happen all year between people. You just need to kind of forget about it and move on.”
Power joked that he and Pagenaud ”had to cancel our vacation.” They both took part in the Texas testing, but Pagenaud wasn’t one of the drivers who participated in media availability during the lunch break.
Kanaan was among seven cars involved in a wreck with 24 laps left Sunday that was triggered by Hunter-Reay while he was trying to pass another car and took out the front three.
”You’ve got to turn the page. You can’t turn back around. Some of us talk; some of us don’t. Still, you’re probably going to see some paybacks in the future, I’m assuming,” Kanaan said. ”Mistakes happen. As far as a driver, in my opinion, you have the right to be mad. But you have to think about it: It could be you as well. You’re not perfect. You can also make a mistake.”
Smiling, Kanaan then turned to new Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon and said they had been mad at each other plenty of times in the past.
”Tough competition. Sometimes you’re the window, and sometimes you’re the bug,” he said.
Justin Wilson was furious after Sunday’s race that IndyCar did not penalize Dixon for what Wilson called a ”deliberate and blatant” move that took him out of the race.
”My situation, it wasn’t intentional, just racing confined streets and everybody’s driving for a win,” Dixon said. ”It’s part of racing unfortunately and as (Kanaan) says, you’ve just got to get over it, the victim or person that caused it. What goes around comes around, I guess.”
The testing at the 1 1/2-mile high-banked Texas track was part of the series’ preparation for its six oval races this season. Marco Andretti and Ed Carpenter were set for a second day of testing Thursday as IndyCar works to determine aero packages for Texas and other oval tracks.
Andretti said there has to be a different mindset when the open-wheel drivers get to high-speed tracks like Texas.
”You have that level of respect. Whether you get taken out on a 20 mph hairpin, or what, the mentality switches when we show up here, when we show up at Indianapolis,” he said. ”The speeds and stuff like that, it just has to, or you should be out there. … Maybe our mentality would be different with bumpers.”
As for driver feuds, Dixon doesn’t expect a lot of that, even after all that happened in Long Beach.
”We’re all very good friends away from the race track anyway, so it’s kind of hard to put that on sometimes,” he said. ”You have your moments on race weekend where you get sort of fired up.”