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IndyCar Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 2

Power “miles ahead mentally” than in previous IndyCar title fights

Championship leader Will Power says he’s better mentally prepared for a close-run battle for the 2022 IndyCar Series title than he was in previous years.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

The Team Penske driver finished runner-up in the IndyCar championship in 2010, ’11 and ’12, before finally clinching in 2014. Having just wrested the 2022 points lead from Marcus Ericsson by finishing third in Saturday’s Gallagher Grand Prix on the Indianapolis road course, Power said his experience in IndyCar will help make him psychologically stronger approaching the finale.

“Absolutely, it’s so different to what it was back then,” he said. “I just know the game so well, I’m mentally just miles ahead in every respect than I was back then. Just a tremendous amount of experience in this series.”

Of the 13 races held so far this year, Power’s #12 Penske-Chevrolet has finished outside the top four only three times, despite five times having to come from deep in the pack. That’s the sort of consistency that Power hadn’t found since his championship year.

“It's not necessarily the long game,” he said, “it's just that sort of attitude switch where you know these races are long, the season is long, and you've got to make the most of every situation, even if you're fighting for like 12th.

“If that's your day to finish 12th, well, finish 12th, not 24th. It's certainly working very well.”

Just 52 points cover the top six drivers in the championship, with more than 200 points on offer over the remaining four rounds. Erstwhile points leader and Indy 500 winner Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda is only nine points adrift of Power, while his teammate and two-time champion Josef Newgarden, six-time champion Scott Dixon (Ganassi), Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy) and Alex Palou (Ganassi’s defending champion) are 32, 38, 46 and 52 points in arrears.

Asked if the last four races at Nashville, Gateway, Portland and Laguna Seca will see him alter his approach, Power responded: “That totally depends on the situation: how you qualify, who's in front of you, where you're running, and where are the guys that you’re fighting – or you believe will be the drivers that you have to fight at the end. It becomes a little more obvious with three to go.

“The next couple races you've got to know, OK, these are definitely the lead guys that we're racing. We've got to cover them on strategies and such. [For now] it's still not completely clear. A lot of guys still clustered up. I think there's probably still five guys in the game, so still a long way to go.”

Power said it was “impossible to predict” if that quintet would all still be in the frame until the Laguna Seca finale in September.

“It feels like it's always going to go down to the last race,” he said. “I expect to be having a fight at Laguna. We'll see how it plays out.

“Impossible to predict in this series: there's just too many fast guys, good teams, good drivers, everything. Try and pick a winner each week and try and pick a polesitter: impossible.”

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