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10 Questions with Team Penske’s Will Power

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Just 10 years ago this month, Australia’s Will Power won his first Champ Car race on the streets of Las Vegas, also taking pole, and setting fast lap of the event.  In the years since, Power has finished no lower than fourth place in points in all but two seasons. By anyone’s reckoning, this driver who is also the first Australian to win a Verizon IndyCar Series event, is someone to beat each week.

But, as we head into the third race of 2017, Power sits 17th in the driver points, with only a pole at St Petersburg to show for it. Just what is going on? We decided to ask him before this weekend’s race at Barber Motorsport Park.


Popular Speed: Penske has had a slower than usual start this season. Do you think this is due to the resurgence of Honda’s engine program or are there other factors at play that you can tell us about?

Will Power: How strong Honda has become this year in comparison to Chevy is definitely the reason for the results being what they are. We worked hard in the offseason to get ready for this one but Honda’s speed came as a surprise.

PS: Dave Faustino, your race engineer, recently said that Chevy’s problem this year is speed, which was prioritized less than reliability?

Power: Chevy’s always been a very reliable engine and in general a very competitive engine, more competitive than Honda. This year, we got taken by surprise a little bit. Chevy reacts very quickly and they are working away right now to close the deficit.

PS: Have your team members for this year changed or do you have the same guys?

Power: Same engineer and Crew Chief as last year and a couple of crew guys. One of our mechanics, a young guy, was in a nasty accident, and could not come back. He was only 26 years old, and he lost a leg.

PS: What is your overall strategy there going to be this weekend?

Power: Qualifying well is going to be critical.

PS: You recently became a father for the first time. Tell us a little bit about that.

Power: It’s fantastic, an amazing experience to be a father. Very absorbing. Elizabeth (his wife) is doing well and is finally getting around. It’s great having him around and I really enjoy coming home to him.

PS: How it has effected your racing?

Power: To be quite honest, I don’t think about the fact I’m a father when I get into my race car.

PS: What are your favorite tracks and why?

Power: It’s interesting, your favorite tracks change all the time according to where you win. Barber is a great one, Indy Road Course I love, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway is unique track, like nothing else in the world.

PS: Could this be your year at Indy and if so how do you feel about it?

Power: We’re hoping it will be this year; we have very strong cars. It’s just a matter do we have enough time to close that gap to Honda? I know Chevy and Ilmor will do that, it’s just when.

PS: What should our readers look out for at the Barber race?

Power: The main things are qualifying well, you’ve got to do that, pit strategy, which is critical.

PS: And, what else?

Power: If it rains, it will make it an interesting race. We shall see, it could be a mixed up and unusual race. And I hope to run at the front, that’s very important.

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Lisa Davidson

Lisa Davidson is a graduate of the University of Arizona and spent her corporate career as a Controller. She is a lifelong writer who has been covering open wheel racing since 2000 and is the author of historical articles and co-author of one book She and her husband, photographer Jeff Davidson, have two daughters and make their home in Murrieta, CA.