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Will Power defends race start after criticism from other drivers

LONG POND, Pa - A controversial start to Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 saw the field jam up approaching the green flag, with Graham Rahal getting into the back of Spencer Pigot.

Their contact sent Pigot into a spin and he gently bumped the inside wall, though it did damage the right-rear of his No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. Rahal, meanwhile, suffered damage to the front wing and right-front of his No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.

Rahal explained that, from his vantage point, the front of the field seemed to check up as they approached the green flag.

“On the start, there’s no doubt the guys up front checked up,” Rahal explained to NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis. “I was going through (Turn) 3, I started to lose gap, so I thought it’s time to go. We were in the start zone, and all of the sudden everybody checked up. I know (Scott) Dixon said he went from fourth gear to first.”

In the aftermath, pole sitter Will Power came under criticism and was accused of brake-checking the field. However, in an interview with Beekhuis, Power was quick to defend himself, and referenced the throttle trace from his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet as evidence that he never slowed down, but rather sped up properly approaching the green flag.

"(I was) the exact speed -107 mph - exactly what they (IndyCar Race Control) wanted,” Power explained, referencing his on-board data in the process. “I actually went before the start. And if you look, Scott Dixon’s the one trying to get a big run as he tries to blame me. I’ve got the data ... never ever faltered on speed, so just as they (IndyCar Race Control) wanted.”