Iowa is his favorite oval, but Power’s making no predictions

Will Power is pleased with his pace at Iowa Speedway but won’t make predictions because it’s impossible to forecast winners in the NTT IndyCar Series.

Power set fastest lap in Friday’s sole practice for the double-header Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa’s 0.894-mile D-shaped oval, and this followed an encouraging test there for Team Penske-Chevrolet. But he denied that the team were in a different league from their opposition.

“I saw cars at the test I thought were pretty strong as well,” he said. “McLaren looked good. When teams have our setup... We know McLaren has got it, because an engineer [Gavin Ward, Josef Newgarden’s former race engineer] went there. Andretti has it because [Simon] Pagenaud brought it over [to Meyer Shank Racing with whom Andretti Autosport has a technical alliance].”

So when asked if he foresaw this weekend as a great opportunity to make a big points leap, Power responded: “You just can't tell in this series. You can't. You don't know when a yellow will fall. You can't say, ‘OK, I'm going to have this race that I'm going to get points.’ It may just not be the case.

“You've got to take every race, put everything into it, because you never know.”

That said Power said he believed the team was “in the window”.

He continued: “Obviously a lot of good cars and drivers, so you're never going to predict who is going to be where. I'm hoping to finally have a good qualifying, at least start at the front… I feel good about the car.”

Power is a three-time polesitter at Iowa but has never finished higher than second here, yet described it as “a great track because it has multiple lanes, a lot of tire degradation, bumps. Tricky. It's my favorite oval. I really, really enjoy it here.”

Power said the priority in the test and in practice had been ensuring that his car could run anywhere on the track so that when following knots of backmarkers he could still find clean air.

“I just think you've got to be wherever a car in front of you is not,” he said. “It's not even a tire deg[radation] thing. It's, ‘Where can I get clean air?’ There's probably three sort of lanes in a way that you can find places. Hopefully it creates a good race…

“It's a difficult race to win when Josef Newgarden is in the game,” added Power, acknowledging that three-time Iowa-winning teammate has been dominant, with 1150 laps led compared with his own 131 and Scott Dixon’s 130. “He's had a very strong career at this track. I think he'll always be in the mix. But I've got the same car. Hopefully I can make it work.”

Power acknowledged that starting near the front of the 26-car pack would “certainly help” his chances of victory and noted that the technique required to produce a fast lap at Iowa in the current breed of IndyCar was very different than when he took pole in 2010 driving the Indy Racing League-era Dallara IR09.

“It's completely different,” he said. “Back in '10, we actually tried to run the white line [at the bottom of the track] – you would run the short line for speed. I think it was wide open – must have been close to wide open. I think in '08, wide open for sure. Yeah, you're just doing the short line.

“Now you're more to the wall, then down to the apex, and you're lifting. Yeah, quite different.”

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