ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Will Power was diagnosed with a concussion on Sunday and missed IndyCar’s season-opening race.
Power wrecked on Friday on the streets of St. Petersburg but continued to pilot his No. 12 Chevrolet through qualifying. He broke his own track record three times on Saturday while winning the pole, but he was sick every time he exited the car.
IndyCar said during Sunday’s race that Power was evaluated after his accident and displayed no signs of injury. As part of his examination, IndyCar evaluated the data collected from Power’s ear accelerometers, which provides data specific to the impact on a driver’s head.
Nothing in the data indicated to IndyCar that Power had anything wrong.
But after battling nausea most of Saturday, Power was examined again. IndyCar medical director Geoffery Billows diagnosed Power with a mild concussion, and the Australian was entered into the concussion protocol. He can’t drive again until he’s been cleared by IndyCar to race.
Oriol Servia was brought in Sunday as a replacement for 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," said Penske Racing President Tim Cindric. "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."
The driver change meant Servia forfeited Power’s pole position and the Spaniard started 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," said Servia. "It’s not the way you want to get the opportunity to drive for Team Penske, but it will be an honour 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.<