LONG POND, PA – At one point of his NTT IndyCar Series career, Will Power dreaded going to ovals. He just wasn’t good on them. At one point, the oval stops on the schedule cost him winning multiple championships.
“There’s a time in everyone’s career where you would have said, He’s just not an oval guy,” Power said on Saturday from the Pocono Raceway.
I can make a case now to where the Tricky Triangle is Power’s playground. He won the ABC Supply 500 in both 2016 and again in 2017 before finishing runner-up to Alexander Rossi a season ago. Now, can he get back to victory lane in Sunday’s race at the Tricky Triangle?
“Now you’d probably go, Yeah, he’s pretty good. He’s pretty good,” Power said about himself as he’s been an oval specialist as of late.
His teammate Josef Newgarden agrees.
“For drivers, it’s different,” Newgarden said of Power. “Sometimes you pick up to that quicker at certain places than others. I think Will (Power) is a very strong 500-mile runner. It’s good to have that, too, because you can kind of look at — for me, I know I look at Will, his style, try to learn a bit from him, what makes him good at these types of tracks.”
So, what is his secret? What makes him so good in 500 mile races?
“I mean, you’ve got a bit more time, you got a bit more time to not take a risk and kind of sit back, plenty of stops for it to unfold, get the car right,” Power said. “You don’t need to get too desperate at the beginning.
“I was a lap down, I came back and won. Actually, as I was sitting a lap down, I was thinking, If I get our lap back, I can have a top five because the whole field is actually bunched up. I actually won the race.
Take your time, as we saw last year.”
Power though, is riding a 15 race winless streak, the second longest of his Indy Car career. The latest he won a race in a season was race No. 15 in 2013. This weekend is race No. 14.
Also, Power has won at least one race every season of his Indy Car career as well. That’s 12 straight years. Only Scott Dixon who now has won a race in 15 straight years has more.
Last race in Mid-Ohio, you could see the relief in Power when he won the pole for the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He just wanted so badly to turn that into a win. Unfortunately, he was on the wrong end of tire strategy on his first stint and settled for a fourth place result.
This season is wearing on him. Mid-Ohio was a prime example. He’s watched his Team Penske teammates win seven times this season alone. They’re in the title hunt where Power (-148) is likely too far out.
He’s just had bad luck this year. He got into a couple of incidents in Toronto and finished 18th. He had a pit commitment violation in Iowa and finished 15th. He had a pit road violation in Indy and came home 18th. He had an ill timed caution while leading in COTA and a mechanical problem on his pit stop after and finished 24th.
One thing after another for Power. A win on Sunday would at least give him some momentum to end the year with. That’s all he’s after now.
“I mean, I feel like we have a chance at the next three races, for sure. I like the tracks, have done well there. Man, it’s just a matter of it falling in place, getting the car right. Everything has to go right these days. Too many good teams and drivers for you to leave anything on the table.
“Would love to get a win before the end of the year. Would absolutely love to just for all the reasons that go with winning.”