By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
The past four seasons, Will Power’s Achille’s heel was the start of his IndyCar campaigns. Due to this, it’s played a negative role on the Team Penske racer’s aspirations of being a title contender.
Fortunately for the 2014 champion, he finished second in Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Just coming up 0.4016 seconds short of catching race winner Alex Palou.
It’s Power’s best season opener finish since getting second at St. Petersburg in 2015. Not only that, it’s just his third opener podium since capturing his only Astor Cup to date.
Needless to say, he had a smile when he got out of his No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet. When asked about his 90-lap grind, Power felt that his shot of catching Palou went away after making one little mistake in Turn 9.
“With the amount of push to pass I had left, it could’ve been pretty good,” said Power. “I had to save some fuel, but had enough for the last two laps.”
On a day Palou will never forget, Power won’t forget how strong the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda was. The series veteran’s mind was blown on how fast the Spaniard was, especially on the first stint.
“I had absolutely nothing for him. He just pulled away, so I figured he was going to do a three-stop race,” Power on Palou’s performance. “I was getting the best lap time I could for the fuel number. Too bad, but still got the car on the podium. We’ve had a pretty bad start to the year the last four years, so it’s awesome to get a really good start to the season.”
A runner-up finish going into St. Petersburg next Sunday is the start of what Power hopes is a fight for the championship.
“I said to the guys, ‘If we do this week in and week out. Just have solid races with no mistakes. I promise you that we’ll absolutely have a great chance of winning the championship,'” Power stated.
Over the years, Power has won at the popular Florida street circuit twice in 2010 and 2014. However, aside from a third in 2019, the track hasn’t been kind to him since 2016 with three retirements being a sore thumb.