A week off did nothing to mellow the tension between Simon Pagenaud and Will Power stemming from contact between the two at Long Beach.
Pagenaud refused to accept an apology from Power following the April 13 race in which Pagenaud was spun from behind by the Australian. Although Pagenaud rallied to finish fifth, he said the contact from Power ruined his chance to race for the win.
Now, as IndyCar heads to Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama for Sunday’s race, Pagenaud says his feelings toward Power have not changed.
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”I’m still disappointed in his action, although I understand racing can be tough sometimes,” Pagenaud said. ”It’s a shame. It really ruined my race. I guess he set the tone for the rest of the season. We’re going to be racing hard against each other.”
Power was publicly remorseful at Long Beach, and understood Pagenuad’s frustration. At a test at Texas Motor Speedway three days after the race, he chalked it up to a racing incident.
”It’s going to happen all year between people. You just need to kind of forget about it and move on,” Power said.
Power won the season-opening race at St. Petersburg, was second at Long Beach and heads into Barber leading the IndyCar standings.
Pagenaud finished fifth in each of the first two races, and is third in the standings.
”I’m pleased, actually, that we’re that high up in the championship to be chasing him,” Pagenaud said. ”That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to try to be racing hard. I’ll try to be as clean as I can be.”
But, the Frenchman acknowledged he’s confused right now about what IndyCar race control will tolerate on the track. Many believe Power should have been penalized for the contact with Pagenaud, but IndyCar took no action.
”We are racers. We all want to win. We all try to get into a gap that’s sometimes too small. There needs to be some regulation sometimes that tells us what we can or cannot do,” Pagenaud said. ”Right now, to be very honest with you, I don’t know what’s allowed or what is not allowed. It’s still a very grey area.
”I’m hopeful that it will be fixed for Barber and we will have a much better understanding.”
If race control doesn’t offer guidance before Sunday’s race?
”It’s going to get pretty crazy pretty quick,” Pagenaud warned.