After taking the win on Sunday at St. Petersburg in the season opener for the Verizon IndyCar Series, Will Power said that it’s the obvious perfect way to start the season.
“As a team I think we worked very well together to get the most out of our cars,” Power commented. “It’s been a real team effort. Real happy to get the Verizon car in Victory Lane again.”
After the first round of pit stops, Power was able to track down pole sitter Takuma Sato and pass him for the lead with a pass around the outside in turn one.
“I felt our car was definitely stronger on blacks and was able to hunt him down and pull the move on him that I’ve had pulled on me two years in a row,” Power said. “I learned my lesson and finally pulled it off myself.”
Power said after practice and qualifying, he wasn’t expecting to be as dominant in the race as he turned out to be.
“Just good team strategy, good pit stops, mistake-free driving, and obviously a good car,” Power summarized it. “It’s just hard work basically.”
There was a pivotal moment of the race that seems to be the topic of the discussion rather than the win and that’s the lap 82 restart. Will Power brought the field down and it appeared he slowed, which caused the whole field to accordion. As a result contact was made in the second half of the field, ending the race for both Marco Andretti and Jack Hawksworth.
Power felt the issues were caused as a result of the pace car pulling off before they got into the “restart zone” where the leader controls everything.
“They actually threw the green before I was even in the zone, so it was confusing to me,” Power noted. “So the next restart I just went because I figured, They’re going to throw the green anyway. To me, the only problem people would have had would have been if they gassed back to get a big run. That’s the only problem they should have had. I didn’t touch the brakes, did not touch the brakes.”
While he didn’t touch the brakes, Power admitted lifting off the gas while in first gear – which some people note is the same as touching the brakes. Power said he lifted a little when he saw Helio Castroneves getting out of line.
“That’s when I lifted off the throttle,” he stated. “Why are you getting out of line? Are you going to go like you did last year and jump-start completely and get the lead that way? I wasn’t going to let that happen. I wasn’t even in the zone, so it did not matter. He got out here, he’s going to do his thing, jump the start, he was getting out of line, I was going to make it obvious by lifting a little. Then I just went.”
While Power has been conservative in the past, the veteran has changed his approach now as he’s ready to race hard for the win every week.
“I just want to race, race hard, and I want to win,” he said. “That’s the only way to think of it, not think of points. I want to win a championship, but I like winning races. Hopefully the two come together and it happens.”