Will Power is Back
Team Penske’s Will Power qualified a disappointing 19th for Sunday’s race at Barber Motorsports Park, but the longtime veteran was methodical in his approach to the race. Power kept calm and collected, gaining spots wherever possible on track, but also remained stoutly devoted to the strategy his team would employ. Throughout the race, he remained mistake-free as he climbed to the 4th position.
The race at Barber is a shining example of the kind of driver Will Power has been this year; smooth, consistent, and trouble-free. There has yet to be a weekend where Power unloads from the truck with dominant speed, yet the 41-year-old has not finished worse than 4th in four races this season, as his 3rd place at St. Petersburg, and three straight 4th place finishes since have afforded him an average finish of 3.75.
While other drivers have shown more raw pace or led more laps, Power’s extreme consistency has kept him well within the title hunt through the early segment of the season.
Power’s Cluttered Past
Power’s career, overall, has been arguably one of the best the sport has ever seen. Will Power is the 2014 champion, the 2018 Indy 500 winner, and near passing the all-time record for pole positions. Still, recent years have been troublesome for him. Power has won at least one race a season since 2007, but he has not finished better than 5th in a season's final standings since 2018. Last season, Power finished a dismal 9th, far behind where Power, or any Team Penske car, expects to be running.
Will Power is an old dog showing off new tricks this year. This season has been full of Power starting and ending races with a relentless degree of calculated meticulousness. He also has sported an ability, and willingness, to overcome adversity this year. Power has long been one of the most reactive drivers in the IndyCar field, often getting animated over the radio when things go wrong. This old version of Will Power has been nonexistent this season. For example, expectations were high for Will Power’s qualifying effort at Barber. Power has captured four poles, and eight front-row starts here. From 2013-to 2018, he never qualified worse than 2nd. So, it was a surprise when Power was eliminated in the first round of qualifying, placing him in the 19th position. Where the old Power would have driven with the weight of fire and fury on his shoulders, the new version of him remained calm, and he utilized all 90 scheduled laps to slowly work his way forward. This degree of focus has become an expectation for him this season, but would not have been just one year ago.
Races such as Barber prove that Will Power can, and will, remain a championship threat for this year and in those to come.