Penske IndyCar driver Power wasn't race-fit at the start of 2016

Will Power says second in the 2016 IndyCar championship counts as a "great year" given he was just "hanging on" in fitness terms at the start of the season

Penske IndyCar driver Power wasn't race-fit at the start of 2016

The Australian was beaten to the title by Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud in the Sonoma decider.

The top 10 drivers of the 2016 IndyCar season

Power had missed the season opener in St Petersburg when he was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms from a practice crash, but closed to within 18 points of Pagenaud in a six-round summer stretch in which he won four races and finished second in the other two.

"That's why I feel it was a very good year," Power said.

"It started off pretty badly.

"Then I have to say, the first few races I didn't feel very good either. Definitely not race-fit. Kind of just hanging on. 


"It was just such a great middle part of the season, really good results and that put me in a position to be a contender again."

Pagenaud then rebuilt his lead with fourth and seventh at Texas and Watkins Glen, while Power was eighth on the oval and taken out by Charlie Kimball on the road course.

Power therefore needed to get a maximum score at Sonoma and hope Pagenaud finished lower than fourth. Instead Pagenaud won, with Power hitting clutch trouble.

"When it's your year to win a championship, it's your year," said Power.

"It was just Simon's year through and through. Everything fell well for him.

"He just did the things he needed to do - [at Sonoma] he got pole, led the laps, and made it as difficult as possible for me. He just did a great job."

Between Pagenaud, Power and Juan Pablo Montoya, Penske won 10 of the season's 16 IndyCar races.

It also took a top-three sweep in the championship with Pagenaud, Power and Helio Castroneves, the first time it had done so since Al Unser Jr, below, Emerson Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy's dominant CART Indycar season in 1994.

"After last year, only winning three races as a team, we were so determined to come back," Power said.

"We all contributed. To win 10 out of 16 races is pretty strong as a team. Also 11 of the poles. 


"I thought when Simon joined the team it was going to be really hard for anyone to beat us in the championship for a while, especially with how strong Chevy is, how great their body kit and engine are, and obviously the team itself."

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The top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2016

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