It has been said that “age and wisdom will always defeat youth and guile,” but things aren’t always that simple. IndyCar, the once-profitable racing league that has soldiered on despite extreme financial problems and a struggle to retain the interest of practically anyone, is enjoying a moment in the limelight by borrowing a page from the NASCAR book. Fighting, that is.
There haven’t been any real punches thrown yet, but Australian Indy veteran Will Power has vowed that he’s “going to let (Kimball) know” that he’s “a big problem.” Now, it makes sense that one driver might be a little peeved at another for shoving him into the wall on more than one occasion, but is the younger, arguably calmer Kimball really the monster Power makes him out to be?
Rubbin’ Is Racin’
Professional drivers tend to have slightly differing views about the efficacy of car-to-car contact, but in general it’s frowned upon. That’s particularly true in non-NASCAR venues, where bareknuckle brawls don’t occur with any frequency, and open-wheeled racers don’t have the heft to sustain significant contact and continue racing.
Every now and again, however, drivers get tangled up. When it happens between the same two drivers on multiple occasions, it’s difficult to keep from getting emotional. Don’t forget, when the impacts are taking place at triple-digit speeds, there are lives at stake here. You’d have nerves, too.
Will Power vs. Chill Power
No physical punches have been thrown between Power and Kimball, but the two started their on-track feud last September at Watkins Glen. In that instance, Kimball got a wheel inside of Power’s rear right coming out of a bend onto a long straightaway and ended Power’s race by sending him into the wall. That crash had series implications for Power’s championship bid.
The two clashed again on March 12 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and most recently, in California at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Long Beach is a race held on cordoned-off city streets and is famous for being tight and intricate. Still, Kimball appeared to completely blow his early race position and failed to concede the racing line to Power on the exit of turn three.
The result was less catastrophic for Power than the Watkins Glen incident, but still resulted in a shorn front wing that would have likely been helpful for Power’s No. 12 Chevy as the race wore on. Kimball, known for being a laid-back Southern Californian, maintains that the three collisions weren’t intentional and that Power has never made any attempt to get his attention.
Power maintains that Kimball is next to universally hated by fellow racers, but it’s difficult to come to this conclusion without much input from other drivers. Things aren’t always as simple as who’s quick on race day, and the lack of public backup for Power would seem to indicate that not all his fellow racers agree Kimball is entirely to blame.