Indy 500 winner Will Power looks for Mid-Ohio breakthrough
LEXINGTON, Ohio (AP) — Winning the Indianapolis 500 for the first time two months ago gives Will Power hope another drought will end Sunday.
Power is among the favorites for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This is a race he has never won, but he’s come close. He has been on the pole three poles. He finished second four times, including the past two years, and had seven top-10 finishes in nine starts.
He was at it again Saturday, qualifying second behind Alexander Rossi.
“It’s been a race I’ve been trying to win for a long time,” Power said.
The same could have been said of the Indy 500.
“It’s a nice feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction,” he said. “Every time I think about it, it brings a smile to my face. It took so long to achieve. It’s the biggest thing for me. All the other things that come with it are a bonus.”
Life has changed for him since the victory while driving the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Power, who makes his 200th IndyCar start Sunday, has been drawing the kind of attention usually reserved for local favorite Graham Rahal.
“It was cool to see him win the Indy 500,” IndyCar Series leader Scott Dixon said. “I know that was something he’s dreamt about and finally achieved.”
Power also hasn’t tired of being introduced as the Indy 500 winner.
“Sometimes you’ve got to pinch yourself that you’ve won that race,” he said. “It took so long, you start wondering am I going to end my career without winning it?
“I imagine it was in the back of my mind all the time. It does take some pressure off for sure. It gives you that added confidence. I’m still the same person I was before winning it but there is a different feeling.”
He’s hoping those vibes carry over to the 13-turn, 90-lap road course that covers 203.2 miles.
“It’s a good course,” Power said. “I’ve qualified on the pole a few times. I’ve led a lot of laps there and been runner-up. It’s another track I’ve been chasing for a win for what seems like forever.
“It’s a lot like Indy in that regard. I’ve put a lot of focus on it. Maybe it will come together this weekend.”
Power, 37, has 34 IndyCar wins, including the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 12. He won the series championship in 2014 and has been runner-up in 2010-12 and ’16.
He sits fifth in points this season, 93 behind Dixon. Power’s average finish in the six post-Indy 500 races is 12.3. He was 18th in the most recent race in Toronto.
“It’s not been very good at all,” he said. “Really, we’ve qualified well but when it comes to racing we haven’t put it all together. It’s been a little bit frustrating, actually.”