INDIANAPOLIS — For a guy with 62 career NTT IndyCar Series poles, five shy of tying the all-time record, you’d think that a second place starting spot for Saturday’s Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix (12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, INDYCAR Radio Network) wouldn’t mean all that much. But for Will Power, Friday’s qualifying effort means the world to him right now.
“I’m glad to just be back in the groove again,” he said after narrowly missing out on the pole in the final round of knockout qualifying. “Had such a kind of bad qualifying run lately. Yeah, certainly right there in the running for pole, so really happy to be up front.”
Power, has just one front row starting spot all year. That wasn’t due to qualifying but rather the first of two Texas races back in early May having their starting lineups determined by entrant points. In fact, he’s qualified outside the top 10 in four of the last seven races entering the weekend. So, for a guy of his qualifying stature to struggle as much as he has this season, this qualifying pace on Friday was hopefully the start of something special brewing for the former series champion.
“Yeah, it’s been a terrible year,” he continued. “A lot of desire for pole position and a victory. I was very determined coming into this weekend just considering how the last few races have been for me. Yep, right on the pace, back where I need to be. Very focused. Hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow.”
Power says that he hopes that they have a good race car and expects some changes overnight to make it better. With how fluky these races can be, he says that you really never truly know until the checkered flag drops in the race if you have what it takes to reach victory lane.
“You never know in these races, as we saw last week,” he said. “(Marcus) Ericsson was nowhere, and he was over the back of someone, then he won the race. So who knows. If you just stay out of trouble in these races, you always have a chance to win.”
He’s been close to victory a couple of times this year in fact. Most notably in Belle Isle. Close doesn’t cut it though. That has him winless this year after 11 races. Can he reach victory lane over the final five races and extend his streak to 15 straight years with at least one win?
“Yeah, I mean, we’re all looking for a bloody win. So is about every other person in the series. Yeah, very fierce competition. To win in this series, man, you got to play everything just right otherwise you’re not going to win.
He won on this road course from the pole last year in leading all 75 laps in the process. That was his record setting fourth win on this track in general.
He’s also usually very good at the end of seasons with three podiums in the last five races in 2017, four podiums in the final five in 2018, three top twos in the final four races of 2019 and two wins in the final five races last year.
It’s Will Power time. This could be just the start.