By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
Will Power did it all Saturday night at the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
He started ninth, fell back to 12th at the start, led 180 of 248 laps and scored his first oval victory since last year’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono, but it was all down to placing his car properly.
Power’s start wasn’t ideal, but the Australian was able to adjust his car to make it work for him.
“I made some in-cockpit adjustments, but my car was pretty good from the beginning. I was able to drive forward after that,” Power said.
“I was able to drive forward pretty quickly and get into P3. I was kind of trying to think about how I was going to set Josef (Newgarden) up, but then it went yellow.”
Power’s march to third was methodical and showed how much the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion has taken to ovals. After 12th on the first lap he moved to 10th on Lap 2, eighth on Lap 6 (setting his fastest lap of the race), then was able to get to sixth on Lap 28.
Power moved to fourth on Lap 30, then third three laps later before the race’s first yellow came out on Lap 37. After teammate Josef Newgarden had to drop to the rear of the field following a pit road speeding infraction, Power took the lead on Lap 47, leading 91 of the next 93 laps.
By staying on the white line, the Australian was able to secure his 31st IndyCar win, tying him for ninth on the all-time wins list with Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy. What gave Power his edge though was one thing that caught out many other drivers.
Power maintained that Texas would be a packed up race while several drivers didn’t think that would be the case because of an initial lack of a second groove.
“They didn’t go up there. Some did, but it’s just so obvious that once the rubber goes down, there’s just a lot of grip,” Power said.
“It just gets better and better and better. It was so obvious to me, and anyone who said it wasn’t going to be, I can’t see how you could not see that.”
“There was zero degradation with the tires. It didn’t matter what lap you were on, it was like you had new tires on, so it made for a very tight, close racing.”
Texas Motor Speedway had undergone a recent reconfiguration that reduced the banking in Turns 1 and 2 by four degrees and widened the track in that part by 20 feet. The track was completely resurfaced leading to Power’s comments about tire degradation.