Power takes points lead back and has stretch ahead to where he may extend the lead, why he changed his approach in recent years and why it’s also paying off

BELLE ISLE, Mich — One doesn’t win a race in 16 straight years and not evolving in the process. In a series that is constant in a change of pace, each year getting better and better making you think that this year is the heyday, it doesn’t evolve to you, you have to evolve with it. That’s why Will Power told me last month in Indianapolis that he’s driving as good now as he’s ever done before over the course of his storied NTT INDYCAR Series career. That was on full display on Sunday in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

Power drove about as flawlessly as one could on Sunday on the streets of Belle Isle. He started 16th but without the help of a caution drove through the field to win the final race on the island in the Detroit River that separates the United States and Canada.

The Aussie held off his tires and Alexander Rossi too over the final 20 laps to score his 41st career Indy Car win. Power put on a brilliant display of driving on the 2.35-mile street course. It was the Team Penske drivers first victory of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR Series season and for the 2nd time in the last 3 races takes back over the points lead as a result.

This was vintage Will Power. Or new school Will Power too. One that looks like the Power of a decade ago but a 2.0 prototype that dare I say is better now than before?

“Yes, I am definitely, as far as in the race goes, I certainly perfected that sort of mental place you need to be in, decision making and such,” Power said. “But that was there last year. It’s just that I had a lot of unfortunate things happen last year that really put me out of contention in some big races, in some races where I was top three for sure. It wasn’t obvious.

“It looks like a big change, but it’s not a big change. I’ve had years of this. I’m so experienced at it, so I know it so well. I understand the game so well. I’m just executing as you should at my experience level. You’re getting everything right, like all the details.”

He said again on Sunday that he’s changed his approach and philosophy over the years and that it’s paying off as a result. See, Power used to always start up front which is why he’s 3 poles shy of tying Mario Andretti for most all-time. But INDYCAR keeps evolving and getting better and better. Qualifying is no longer as easy as it once was. I mean we have 7 different pole winners in 7 races this season.

Will Power has now won a race in 16 straight years in INDYCAR. Photo Credit: INDYCAR Media Site

Power has evolved with it and it’s why he’s leading the points as we near the midway mark of the season too.

“When I used to qualify on pole very often and start the very front very often, you’re not racing in the pack very often,” Power said. “Now rarely am I right at the front for qualifying. Sometimes. No one is consistently at the front anymore. It’s just too tough. So you’re racing around other cars, you get very good at that, too. You get very good at restarts, good at judging where you should be. That’s something I missed out early on in my career because I was so fast, I was in the front, I was always leading.

“So, yeah, obviously fast. INDYCAR rules, as they are, rewards often qualifying badly. That’s no joke, it does. You can really go off the guys in front of you. That’s not always the case, but it’s the beauty of INDYCAR, you can come from 16th and win, you can come from 19th at Barber and finish fourth. Did I get on the podium there?”

This was the 6th time in 7 races that a new driver took over the points lead at the drop of the checkered flag too. In saying that, Power doesn’t look primed to give it back next week in Road America.

Power has scored a top 4 finish in 6 of the 7 races run out of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet this season. He’s heading to a good stretch of tracks for him. Power has 3 podiums in his last 4 Road America tries. Then after a 2 week break, we go to Mid-Ohio to where Power has 5 top 4 finishes in his last 7 starts. Then it’s to Toronto where he won 4 races ago there.

Power is primed to carry this points lead on and nab his 2nd career championship.

He already has a Hall of Fame type of career. His 41 wins rank 5th all-time and trail Michael Andretti by 1 for 4th most ever. Only AJ Foyt (67), Mario Andretti (52), Scott Dixon (51) and Andretti (42) has more.

His 64 poles are 2nd most trailing on Mario Andretti ‘s 67 by three. He has 87 podiums now which is 1 shy of Bobby Rahal and Al Unser Jr. for 8th most. His 117 top 10’s are 2 shy of Rahal and Dario Franchitti for 9th all-time.

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