By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
Motorsports Tribune reviews the season of the top 10 drivers from the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship. Our list continues with the fifth-place championship finisher, Will Power.
Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet
- 2017: 5th in the championship
- Wins: 3, Top 5: 9, Top 10: 10, Poles: 6, Laps Led: 443
- Best Finish: 1st – Three times (Indy GP, Texas, Pocono)
With the most poles in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season and most laps led by one over Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves (443 to 442), it’s incredible to see that Will Power only finished fifth in the points.
The reason that happened might be best described in that it was a feast or famine season. Power had four DNFs with three other finishes below 13th. On the flip side, there were three trips to victory lane with two of those being on the types of tracks Power had struggled with early in his career: ovals.
Power’s first win of the season was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, a track which gave him a taste of victory lane in 2015. That race followed a second place at Phoenix International Raceway but the Indianapolis 500 would be one to forget for the Australian as he would be involved in the five car incident that brought out the final caution.
A podium at the second race in Detroit was followed by three more top five finishes, the first of those being the win at Texas Motor Speedway in the caution-marred race on the newly reconfigured track.
Road America and Iowa netted the 2014 series champion with a fifth and a fourth respectively but Toronto was where it went south. A first lap collision with Scott Dixon and the wall heading to Turn 3 broke the front suspension on Power’s car and relegating him to 21st.
The results would swing up briefly for Power with a second at Mid-Ohio thanks to the crafty passing by winner and teammate Josef Newgarden led to a win at Pocono ahead of Newgarden in a race where Power had several difficulties but an alternate strategy gave the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet the right to enter victory lane.
However, Gateway would prove to be Power’s ultimate undoing in the championship as he crashed in Turn 2 on the first lap of the race. A respective sixth and third at Watkins Glen and Sonoma gave Power more points but it wasn’t enough to salvage a result higher than fifth in the standings.
With a return to a universal aerodynamic body kit in 2018, Power will be returning to a spec similar to how he started his open wheel career in the U.S. when he was in Champ Car. Power won three races in Champ Car before moving to IndyCar. With experienced, championship winning teammates in Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden, the entire team will be one to watch in 2018.