The tension between Scott Dixon and Will Power that flared last week in California continued in Baltimore.
Two of the IndyCar Series' top drivers collided in the 53rd lap of Sunday's Grand Prix of Baltimore, and the cause of the crash was not in dispute.
After a restart and heading into Turn 1, Power tried to pass Sebastien Bourdais' No. 7 car. Dixon, who was trailing Power, attempted to do the same thing, and Power cut off Dixon, sending the No. 9 car into the wall and damaging the right side of the vehicle.
That ended Dixon's day, but not his anger over the incident. After he got out of his car and removed his helmet, Dixon angrily gestured to a race official and as he walked past Power and his No. 12 car in pit road to talk to the official, he glared at Power.
"I had a run on Will, went to the inside, and he just smashed me straight into the wall," said the 33-year-old native of Auckland, New Zealand, who drives for Target Chip Ganassi Racing as he walked away from pit road. "There can't be any kind of excuse for that. I don't know what's going to happen."
At the race's conclusion, Power was confronted by one of Dixon's crew members, but kept his cool. The 32-year-old native of Toowoomba, Austraila, who races for Team Penske, was very apologetic about the crash.
"I feel bad," Power said. "That's the thing about double-file restarts. So I'm looking at this guy, and I've got a run on him and I pull ahead to pass him, and I thought I just lost it. [Crew chief] Tim [Cindric] said, 'No, Dixon was there.' I feel so terrible for him. I just didn't know he was there. I can't say anything else. It's just not good. I think they've got to bring a ruling on these double-file restarts. … I was going to be inside Bourdais, he was going to be inside me. Man, I just didn't even look in my mirror. I thought I had a good run on him and thought there was no way someone had the same run on me. Just not good, not good at all."
Cindric defended Power, saying, "Nobody needed that. He said he never knew he was there. But just like last week, everyone's going to believe what they want to believe and ignore the facts."
This latest incident follows the controversy at last Sunday's GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma when Dixon — race leader at the time — hit a tire carried by one of Power's crew members. IndyCar officials penalized Dixon, who was unable to capture his fourth win in his last five starts and could not gain on points leader Helio Castroneves.
Dixon wondered aloud if anything would happen.
"It just seems to be a bit ridiculous. It seems like everything we do, we get penalized for it and nothing happens to any of those cars. I know [IndyCar Series director of competition and championships] Derrick [Walker is] trying to do the best he can, but …," Dixon said before trailing off.
It capped a rough day for Dixon. Graham Rahal spun out Dixon in Turn 1, a move for which Dixon said Rahal should have been penalized.
Sunday's premature finish affected Dixon's bid to chase down Castroneves in the series standings. With Castroneves finishing ninth and Dixon 19th, Castroneves increased his lead from 39 points to 49. Power, who dropped from eighth to ninth, trails Castroneves by 140 points.
With three races left in the season, Dixon did not sound particularly optimistic or confident about passing Castroneves for the series title.
"It's tough to swallow," Dixon said. "Two weeks in a row, it's been a pretty rough deal for us. … We'll try to bounce back with three races to go."
After the incident at Sonoma, Dixon still sent Power a congratulatory text for winning that race, his first victory of the year. Power was asked Sunday if he planned to talk to Dixon to clear the air after their latest flare-up.
"I'm going to go see him," Power said. "He's not going to want to talk to me, but [it is] no good. I feel very bad for what happened, I do."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun