This has been a very rewarding season for Will Power. While it took him until the month of June to pick up his 1st victory as he watched both of his teammates win 3 of the 1st 6 NTT INDYCAR Series races of the season, it was Power who was the most consistent among them.
Josef Newgarden may have won 5 times, but he also has 5 finishes of 13th or worse too. Scott McLaughlin has three wins but 5 finishes of 14th or worse himself. Power may have just 1 win, but he has only finished outside the top 10 4 total times in 16 races run. 11 of his finishes have been 4th or better.
That’s why he has the lead that he has now heading into the season finale this weekend at Laguna Seca. That’s a far cry from a decade ago to where Power was the fastest man on the track but also had days like Newgarden and McLaughlin.
He had 5 wins in 2010, 6 more in 2011 and 3 in 2012. That’s 14 wins in a 3 season span. He didn’t win the championship in either year. He was runner-up in each. So to have just a single victory this season but a chance to win a title, it makes up in a way from those lost titles.
He enters the season finale with a chance to win a championship for the 1st time since 2018. That’s twice in the last 6 years after having 6 chances in the 7 years prior.
How much has changed in his mindset between now and those past tries heading to a season finale?
He’s also good in season finales too having scored 3 podiums in the last 5.
This year though is a completely different approach for him as he’s finding ways to keep his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet up front which in turn has given him a chance to take a title. Even doing so when he doesn’t start there too. Mid-Ohio and the Indy road course in July come to mind of days he rebounded to go from the back to the front. Even his Belle Isle win in going from 16th to 1st was a sight to behold.
It shows that last year was just a down year for a driver that’s consistently up front. He had just 1 win and 4 total podiums in a 9th place finish last year in the points. That was the only time in the last 13 seasons that he didn’t have a top 5 finish in the final standings.
This weekend, he has the pressure on the rest holding a 20 point advantage and scoring 5 top 6’s, including 4 on the podium in the last 6 starts.
This year he’s guaranteed for another top 5 points finish and is looking to become just the 27th driver to ever win multiple titles in the series. Does he ever feel under appreciative? We talk about that a lot about Scott Dixon, but what about Power?
He is tied with Mario Andretti for most career poles. His 41 wins is 5th best ever and one shy of Michael Andretti for 4th most all-time. His 25 runner-up finishes is 12th best. His 93 podiums is 7th most. He has 122 top 5’s which is 9th best.
He’s won a race in 16 straight seasons, which is 2nd longest ever. He’s done so in 267 career starts. Dixon by comparison has 100 more starts on Power. Is he under valued?