Power Down On Power, Not Confidence

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 27 2017

Will Power says Honda can be beaten at Indy on Sunday.

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Will Power enters Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 knowing the Honda entries have more power than the Chevrolets, but this year’s Indy Grand Prix winner isn’t worried.

“Every time we have a session, every day a Honda engine blew, so they don’t have the reliability,” said Power, who starts ninth. “They’re obviously always pushing their engines very hard.  

“I think Chevy has a very reliable engine and you can push it hard in the race for a longer time. Chevy is working very hard, as they always do, and they catch up very quick. We’ve won the last three races, so it’s not like we’re struggling.  We were surprised not to have more cars in the top nine.”

Of Team Penske’s five entries in the prestigious race, the 2014 IndyCar champion was the only Penske driver who had a shot at the pole. His four teammates failed to be among the nine fastest drivers in qualifying. Only the top nine got to run for the pole. Honda-powered driver Scott Dixon earned his second Indy 500 pole with a four-lap average 232.164 mph. Power’s four-lap average was 230.200 mph and the Australian admitted he wouldn’t mind slower speeds.

“It’s intense,” Power said about the speeds. “I have to say the last two years of qualifying have been really, really intense trying to feel the car at those speeds. As you saw with Sebastian Bourdais, if it goes wrong, it’s not good. You must be doing over 240 heading into turn one. That’s some serious speed.

“I don’t think a fan can tell a difference between 220 and 230; even 210 and 230 looks pretty similar. I guess on qualifying day if you’re standing at the end of pit lane and watching the cars going into turn one, they look fast. ”

Despite having to face the powerful Honda engines, Power said he wasn’t anxious about Sunday’s race.

“I’m the most relaxed I’ve ever been during the month of May, for whatever reason,” Power said Tuesday at Team Penske headquarters. “I don’t know why. I’m just relaxed. This year has been great for me. Normally at this point, the week before the race, I get antsy, but I’m good.”

Even though Power has won two of the four Indianapolis Grand Prixs, which utilize the historic track’s road course, the 36-year-old driver is still searching for his first Indianapolis 500 victory. His best finish came in 2015 when he narrowly lost to Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya and he knows his window of opportunity is narrowing.

“You start to think about that as you get a little older,” Power said. “You don’t have that mindset going into the race, but when you’re out of the car (it’s different). (In racing) you have to focus on the day and it’s either your day or it’s not.”

Power admitted he once asked team owner Roger Penske about racing a stock car. Penske told him he first had to win a series championship and an Indianapolis 500 and then they would talk.

“I’m focused on Indy Car right now and trying to get the most out of that,” Power said.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 27 2017
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