Will Power wins shortened Pocono race marred by wreck, weather

Will Power won the shortened race Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., the 13th straight season he has won an IndyCar race. The race was called with 72 laps left because of lightning and storms in the area.

Power won a race marred by yet another horrific wreck that collected five drivers on the first lap and sent Chip Ganassi Racing driver Felix Rosenqvist to the hospital.

IndyCar at Pocono has turned into perhaps the scariest race day in motor sports, 500 miles of danger for drivers on the 2 ½-mile track and white knuckles for spectators.

Justin Wilson died in 2015 from a head injury after being struck by debris from another car. Robert Wickens was paralyzed in an early-lap accident last year.

The green flag had barely been dropped when 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato used an aggressive — arguably foolish — move to trigger a wreck that sent Rosenqvist to the hospital.

Sato tried to shoot a gap on the first lap, cut off Alexander Rossi and connected with Ryan Hunter-Reay in crash that left cars and debris strewn across the track. Sato’s car landed upside down on Hunter-Reay’s Honda.

“I can’t even begin to understand how after last year Takuma thinks that’s acceptable,” Rossi said.

Rosenqvist hit the fence nose first, but he did not suffer life-threatening injuries and was cleared.

Wickens, who remains determined to race again, said on Twitter that IndyCar should no longer race at the track. IndyCar and Pocono do not have a deal for a 2020 race.

DiBenedetto’s finish: When his sponsorship dried up last season, Matt DiBenedetto turned to social-media video, asking for funding ideas.

Denny Hamlin was among those who saw the clip and then donated $5,000 to his fellow competitor, helping lead to a partial sponsorship for the 2018 season.

So there was a twinge of sadness for Hamlin after he chased down DiBenedetto in the closing laps of Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee and denied the underdog an upset victory. DiBenedetto had learned four days before the race that Leavine Family Racing wasn’t bringing him back for a second season, and a Bristol victory would’ve been a resume boost.

DiBenedetto was enjoying the best season of his career in his Toyota driving for a tiny team that has aligned itself with Joe Gibbs Racing. Gibbs has too many drivers and not enough Cup seats.

Someone had to go to make room for Christopher Bell’s promotion from the Xfinity Series next season, and DiBenedetto got the boot.

“It’s been a hard week, but I am not done,” said DiBenedetto, who led a race-high 93 laps. “I am here to win in the Cup Series, I am going to win in the Cup Series, that’s not going to change. I’m not going anywhere.”

NHRA: Leah Pritchett ended a 26-event winless streak in the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway.

Pritchett beat Mike Salinas in the final with a 4.066-second run at 235.72 mph for her eighth career Top Fuel title.

Ron Capps gave Don Schumacher Racing the Funny Car victory, topping beating Tommy Johnson Jr. with a 3.946 to 3.947 in a Dodge Charger.

Minnesota driver Jason Line won in Pro Stock. He beat Erica Enders with a 6.597 to 6.604 in a Chevrolet Camaro.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Will-Power-wins-shortened-Pocono-race-marred-by-14342201.php.

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