Homestead: KVT/Team Australia race report

HOMESTEAD DEBUT ENDS EARLY FOR POWER Will Power has had his IndyCar debut end prematurely after contact in the early stages of the Gainsco Auto Insurance 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida today. Power started from 19th...

HOMESTEAD DEBUT ENDS EARLY FOR POWER

Will Power has had his IndyCar debut end prematurely after contact in the early stages of the Gainsco Auto Insurance 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida today.

Power started from 19th in the 25-car field in today's opening race of the 2008 IndyCar Series, the first since the unification of open-wheel racing in the United States.

The Australian was elevated two spots in the starting order after qualifying 21st yesterday when the cars from Vision Racing were demoted to the back of the pack for technical infringements.

The 27-year-old made a steady start in the #8 Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone, rising up the order to 16th position when a caution flag flew after 20 laps.

Power made a pit stop under the caution and was set to continue his progress through the field when at the green he came across the car of Justin Wilson as he accelerated.

The contact damaged the front suspension on the Aussie Vineyards car and Power was forced to retire after only 24 laps of the 250-lap event.

Today's race was won by Brisbane-born New Zealander Scott Dixon ahead of third generation American racer Marco Andretti and Brit Dan Wheldon.

WHAT THE TEAM HAD TO SAY --

Will Power - #8 Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone

"At the restart I just ran into the back of Justin Wilson's car and it bent my front suspension," said Power.

"It's disappointing for the team to have to retire the #8 Aussie Vineyards car this early but that's racing.

"I was really enjoying it out there, having a lot of fun and taking my time getting to know this oval racing.

"In those early laps I was learning about following other cars, racing in a pack and running in the draft.

"We had a bit of understeer and we would have worked on getting that a little better, but we move on.

"We are all really excited about the street circuit at St Petersburg next weekend. We are looking to have a stronger run there in the Aussie Vineyards car."

Craig Gore - Team Australia

"It's unfortunate that Will's race ended so early today but we will turn our attention to St Petersburg next week," said Gore.

"Oval racing is tight and fast and these sorts of things are going to happen from everyone from time to time.

"It's bad luck that the Aussie Vineyards car didn't get to finish it's first IndyCar race but I think the potential is there for a strong run on the street circuit next week.

"Will and the entire crew have done a fantastic job at adapting to oval racing in such a short space of time. I know they are looking forward to the street races at St Petersburg and Long Beach over the coming weeks but this week's running will also be of great benefit at our next oval race in Kansas."

-credit: team australia

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Series INDYCAR