Power poised for glory
Will Power has his eyes on the prize, writes Paul Gover
WILL Power left Sonoma in California last year on a stretcher. This year he left as runaway favourite for the IndyCar World Series crown.
The crash at Infineon Raceway in 2009 that could have ended his career with a broken back was, instead, the catalyst for an incredible run through the 2010 season with the benchmark Penske Racing squad.
Power has been the man to beat since he inked a full-time deal with Roger Penske, taking eight pole positions and five wins already this year in a series where his closest rival has only two victories.
The transplanted Queenslander has already claimed the Mario Andretti Trophy, introduced this year for the most successful IndyCar driver through the championship’s roadcourse races.
He also has a 59-point lead over reigning champion Dario Franchitti with four races to run, but he’s not taking a safety-first approach on the high-speed ovals that close the season.
‘‘I’m going to race those ovals like I want to win the championship,’’ Power says.
‘‘I think I’ve got enough experience now and I think we’ll be very strong.
‘‘I’m going for it. I want to win the championship and I want to win an oval before the year is out and this overall championship.’’
Andretti sees Power’s strengths and knows he will be tough to beat, even if his best oval-track result this year is fifth.
‘‘Right now, he’s on a roll and God bless him. It’s wonderful to see,’’ Andretti says. ‘‘You have to enjoy it while you can; it never lasts long.’’
The 70-year-old motorsport legend also knows the challenge to come.
‘‘Even though he has the points lead, you don’t rest, and that’s the beauty of IndyCar. To win the championship, you have to be proficient on all sides of what it has to offer.
‘‘That’s what I really enjoy about the series since it started having the mix (in 2005) of ovals and road courses. As a driver, that always was the ultimate challenge.’’
But Power admits he is happy just to have come back from the injuries.
‘‘A year ago I was lying in the hospital and watching the race in there, so to come back and win it from the pole is just fantastic,’’ Power says.
Cracking pace: (above) Will Power leading teammate Helio Castronoves and Dario Franchitti and (below), receiving the Mario Andretti Trophy as the top road-course IndyCar driver.