Power: "Flawless" Penske IndyCar team has "done the job and I haven't"

Will Power said his first IndyCar win of 2021 at Indianapolis was a relief as he felt he’d been letting down his Penske crew with a "weird slump" in performance.

Power: "Flawless" Penske IndyCar team has "done the job and I haven't"

Power narrowly missed out on pole, before starting his Team Penske machine on the harder Firestone rubber in the race and staying within 3.5 seconds of the alternate-tyred polesitter Pato O’Ward.

After O’Ward switched to the harder rubber and Power to the softer compound, the Penske driver swiftly closed in and snatched the lead at Turn 12.

Power then controlled the race to the chequered flag, surviving two late restarts to score his first win of the year, and Team Penske’s second.

“Oh man, it's a big relief,” Power said. “I think it's great for the team, especially the guys on my car.

“They've been working hard. They've been flawless this year. They've really done the job, and I haven't.

“If we'd had that sort of performance in the pits and prep last year, we probably would have won a lot more races.

“Yeah, very happy for those guys, and just happy to be in Victory Lane. You always start to wonder when is the next one coming. 

“I just love competing, but winning is absolutely what makes me happy. I'm very moody when I haven't won for a while; just ask my wife.”

Race winner Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Race winner Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

Asked why he felt it had taken until the 12th race of the season to nail a win – although he was cruelly robbed in Detroit – Power said he looked inwardly. While last year he scored five pole positions, he has yet to score one in 2021, and that too left him puzzled.

“It was such a weird slump for me because normally when I'm not winning it's not because of lack of pace,” he said. “But there have been times this year where it's been a struggle to get the pace, get the car right. I started digging a lot deeper and trying to understand what is going on.

“So yeah, you just start going back to your old ways of doing stuff when you were super quick, and you can't leave anything on the table.

“I have to say it's the first sort of slump I've had as far as performance has gone in my career, where - I wouldn't say it's exactly a lack of pace - it was doing mistakes in qualifying, which is very unusual for me. I'd usually really put [a flying lap] together.

“Last year I put it together the best I ever had, like zero mistakes and was so good at just getting it done. This year I've been on laps that will get me through each round and then I'll make a little mistake or something will go wrong, I'll get traffic. All that is so important to control, and I wasn't [controlling it].”

Power’s fifth win on the IMS road course was his 40th career victory, breaking a tie with the legendary Al Unser for fifth in the all-time Indycar winners list. He is now two wins behind Michael Andretti on the win list, and is still chasing Mario Andretti for the all-time pole-winner record, lying five adrift.

“I know that Michael Andretti is on 42, and Mario Andretti I think I can catch on poles, which can be very tough these days,” said Power.

“Two heroes of mine and two absolute legends of the sport, and it just blows my mind that I have a name close to them in the record books.”

Power’s latest triumph means the 2014 series champion has also scored at least one win in each of the last 15 seasons in Champ Car/IndyCar.

shares
comments

Related video

Palou stays positive on IndyCar title hopes despite IMS engine failure
Previous article

Palou stays positive on IndyCar title hopes despite IMS engine failure

Next article

Albon “interested” in IndyCar after Grosjean success - Coyne

Albon “interested” in IndyCar after Grosjean success - Coyne
How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled Plus

How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled

Chip Ganassi Racing team was strong again in the Indianapolis 500, with poleman Scott Dixon and reigning champion Alex Palou leading almost three quarters of the race between them. But when dominator Dixon was penalised for pitlane speeding, ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson stepped up to score the biggest win of his career and seize the IndyCar points lead

IndyCar
May 30, 2022
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021