The secrets of Australia’s most underrated driver
Nearly a decade on from his last championship triumph, IndyCar Series points leader Will Power says he’s taking a more mature approach to this year’s title bid.
The Toowoomba-born driver is four races away from lofting the Astor Cup for only the second time in his career.
Power’s career has spanned nearly two decades, debuting in the now defunct Champ Car World Series that merged with the Indy Racing League in 2008 to form IndyCar.
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After a few years toiling in mid-field teams, championship winners Team Penske picked up Power in 2010.
That year he finished runner-up to Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti.
The same would transpire in 2011 and once more in 2012, the latter to Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport.
Finally, in 2014, Power broke through for what remains his only IndyCar Series title to date.
That year, he won three of the 19 races and was on the podium on four other occasions.
Although his 2022 campaign hasn’t had as many wins so far, it’s been incredibly consistent throughout.
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From the 13 races to date, Power has only been outside the top five on three occasions.
That included an incredible five-race streak of top five finishes at the start of the season, which included two podiums.
What does the driver put that consistency down to? Mindset.
“It’s just having been in it so many years, I just know the game so well,” Power told Wide World of Sports.
“You never stop evolving and improving. I’m mentally miles ahead of where I was a decade ago. I’m know how to approach each weekend, I know how to approach a championship.
“It simply comes down to experience. I would say determination and grit over the period I’ve been here, I’ve just continually tried to improve.
“Obviously cars change and times change and you’ve got to change with it.”
Power has a slender nine-point lead over Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson, who he has beaten in four of the last five races.
Although he only has one win to his name this year, the Australian hailed the effort as “one of my best seasons I’ve ever had.”
“That was the plan from the beginning was to play the long game,” Power explained.
“I’ve definitely settled for second a few times this year. It’s just the nature of the series right now. It’s so ultra-competitive that there’s a new winner every week.
“The top five, top 10 are different every week. If you can just be consistently in the top five then you’re going to be where I am basically.
“There are just so many more people in the game. There are five people vying for the championship right now and there are only four races to go.
“They’re all well within points of being able to win it. It’s definitely a much tougher series than it’s ever been.
“Really, since the inception of the one-make car in 2012, it’s slowly got more and more competitive and it’s at a point that it’s never been at until right now.”
In his early years, Power had a propensity to see red.
Nowadays, little phases the 41-year-old, who said as he’s gotten older he’s become more measured in his approach.
“I think that just comes with the age,” said Power.
“Eventually, you see everything that’s possible that can happen to you in a race. You just understand that’s racing.
“You’re going to have those days and there’s nothing you can do about it. You might as well move on.”
So far, so good.
Power continues his campaign on the streets of Nashville with the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.
The 80 lap affair gets underway on Monday at 5am AEST.
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