Power out of first IndyCar race with 'inner ear issues'
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Will Power will not run in IndyCar’s season-opening race, and team owner Roger Penske says the driver is undergoing tests for a possible concussion.
Power has been battling nausea, and was ill Saturday after qualifying. He broke his own track record three times in winning the pole for the opening race.
Penske told The Associated Press on Sunday that Power had “inner ear issues” when he arrived in St. Petersburg.
Oriol Servia, of Spain, left, talks to Roger Penske in the paddock before practice for the IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg auto race, Sunday. Servia is driving the practice round for Will Power, who is suffering from nausea and has pulled out of the race. Picture/AP
He crashed on Friday during a practice session but continued to pilot the No. 12 Chevrolet the rest of the weekend.
Penske said Power was sick to his stomach every time he exited the car.
Oriol Servia was brought in Sunday as a replacement. Servia did the morning warmup laps and the team announced the Spaniard will race instead of Power.
“Obviously this is a very difficult decision to make in the first race of the season, but Will’s health and safety is the most important thing to consider,” Penske Racing President Tim Cindric said.
“We hope Will makes a speedy recovery and with Oriol’s professionalism and experience, we know he’ll do a solid job for our team.”
Scott Dixon is helped into his car for qualifying at the IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg auto race, on Saturday. Picture/AP.
The driver change means Servia will forfeit Power’s pole position and start last in the 22-car field.Power is a two-time winner at St. Pete and led a parade of Penske cars in qualifying.
The four Penske drivers swept the top four starting spots and headed into Sunday’s race looking for their eighth win in 12 events on the street course.
Power will not receive any points for Sunday for missing the race — a huge hit in his bid to win a second IndyCar title.
He’s an annual championship contender and one of the top drivers in the series.
“I feel terrible for Will and just hope he feels better soon, as he was my teammate a few years ago and he’s a good friend,” Servia said.
“It’s not the way you want to get the opportunity to drive for Team Penske, but it will be an honor to race for the team and drive the fastest car on the grid today.”Servia drove for Andretti Autosport in last year’s season finale following Justin Wilson’s death.