By David Morgan, Associate Editor
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Starting deep in the field at a track notoriously tough to pass on would seem to be a recipe for disaster, right?
Not for Will Power.
After a subpar qualifying result that left him 19th on the starting grid, the driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet would have his work cut out for him to be able to continue his streak of top-four finishes in Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
Taking the green as one of only a few drivers on the primary black Firestone tires, Power methodically worked his way forward until his first pit stop on lap 30, where he would switch to the faster Firestone red alternates for the remainder of the race.
Just after the lone caution of the race on lap 32, Power cracked the top-10 where he would stay for the duration.
However, the work wasn’t done for Power quite yet, as he used the speed advantage of the Firestone reds to run down and pass a number of strong cars, including Scott Dixon, who has always been stout on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn Barber layout.
With 15 laps to go, Power dove low on Dixon to secure fourth-place and keep his streak of top-four finishes intact.
“I thought I needed to take advantage of those reds early, so I did my best to get by him as soon as possible. Turn 5 seemed to be my spot,” Power said.
“Up to fourth, man. I really didn’t expect to be that far up. Competing for a top-10, that’s what we talked about in the team meeting. The good thing is when you don’t qualify well, you have good tires. We had good tires there at the end and we had pretty good pace. Great strategy by the team and a good day all around. Really solid day.”
Power added that he has taken a new mindset into the year, which has helped aid his performance thus far this season.
“Man, I’ve just been around for so long. It’s my 17th year, so I just know the game so well. It ebbs and flows. You have your good and bad days and all you can do in your best. I mean, there’s not much you can do. Just trying to enjoy it while I’m doing it.”
Heading into Indianapolis, Power will be looking to defend his title at the GMR Grand Prix, where he has won five times previously, as well as adding a second Indianapolis 500 victory to his trophy case.