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Power compares Canapino controversy to past incident with Montoya

by News7

Power tried to remain positive in his assessment, remarking on the cultural differences and how emotionally-charged the response can be from fans in that part of the world.

“They’re pretty passionate about the sport and their guys in sports,” Power said. “Any of those guys that come over here, you know, and they do well, it’s a big deal for them. Like, it would be amazing to see that country if they like Agustin won the Indy 500. It would be like a public holiday, probably. That’s pretty cool.”

Power understands to some degree what it is like to be at the receiving end of a passionate fan base. He pointed back to the 2015 season finale at Sonoma Raceway where he and former team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya, who came into the weekend with a 34-point lead in the championship, came together midway through the race. The result cost Montoya the title, as he lost on a tiebreaker of wins to Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, the race winner.

“It was the same with Montoya,” recalled Power.

“I had an incident with him once and I was getting some interesting social media posts. But just different cultures have different reactions to their sports heroes. I think it’s great that we have a very multinational series. It’s a cool series for that reason.”

And how was the issue fixed?

“It was all good,” Power said. “We had actually had dinner that night and tweeted that out and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, okay. They’re friends.’”

Agustin Canapino, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

Canapino and Arrow McLaren’s rookie Theo Pourchaire collided in last weekend’s Detroit Grand Prix, which led to the fans of the Argentine to lash out with abusive comments through social media.

Although Arrow McLaren and JHR made joint statement condemning the abuse aimed at the 20-year-old Frenchman, Canapino later made a statement rejecting the claims that his supporters threatened rivals.

The situation led to the termination of Arrow McLaren and JHR’s strategic alliance on Thursday, which originally formed last October. Additionally, Canapino took a “leave of absence” for this weekend’s race at Road America, with his team citing mental health and calling on Indy NXT regular Nolan Siegel to stand in as the substitute.

It was the third such incident of a competitor drawing the ire of fans after a known incident with Canapino, with former team-mate Callum Ilott the target after two run-ins last year at Long Beach and Laguna Seca.

During a recent media availability, prior to Canapino’s withdrawal from the weekend, Power was asked by if he would race a driver like Canapino differently knowing the consistent blowback that happens with any potential incident.

“I’ve only heard a little bit of the blowback but sounds similar to the Ilott thing,” said Power, the 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time IndyCar champion.

Then the 43-year-old Aussie repeated the question to himself and followed with a comment he could only laugh at.

“If you were in Argentina, you certainly wouldn’t want to take him out, if we had a race there,” he said.

Then Power circled back to add, “You want to race everyone clean, but mistakes happen.”

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