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IndyCar Mid-Ohio

Power proud of #12 team and charge from 27th to third at Mid-Ohio

Will Power says his recovery drive from a disastrous qualifying and a first lap spin is the kind of performance that “makes you want to keep going for a long time”.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

With a potential pole-winning car Power had his fastest two laps deleted in qualifying, after impeding Helio Castronevess when the team failed to warn him of the rapid approach of his former teammate. That relegated the #12 Verizon Team Penske-Chevrolet to 21st on the grid.

A spin on the opening lap was a result of trying to pass – then avoid contact with –Takuma Sato in 19th at Turn 9.

Having dropped to the back of the 27-car field, Power climbed to 23rd by Lap 9 when he made a not-much-to-lose first stop under caution, and then proceeded to climb to a legitimate 18th before the first round of stops commenced on Lap 23. He would have gone longer than the front- and most midfield runners thanks to the earlier splash of fuel on Lap 9 but in anticipation of a full-course yellow that flew on Lap 31, the team chose to pit him, and he would emerge in 12th.

A Lap 39 restart saw him pass David Malukas and Simon Pagenaud on consecutive laps, then Alex Rossi and the mechanically faltering Pato O'Ward on consecutive laps. The second on-strategy stop saw the #12 crew get him out ahead of both Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson, and on the final restart, Power took advantage of his fresh alternate-compound Firestone to zap past Rinus VeeKay to claim third. He then looked after his reds over the last stint, rather than wear them out trying to pass runner-up Alex Palou.

Describing the start of the race, Power said that he “went up the inside [of Sato], everyone was very choked up and just got someone's back wheel, trying not to take them out.

“I spun, kept it runningand had passed a few cars then and then pitted, went to the back, and then yeah, just started passing cars. Good pit stop sequence.

“The yellows hurt us actually for the sequences, but helped us for restarts: we had some good restarts, definitely gained positions.

“Solid – another great day, good strategy, and yeah, keeping ourselves right in the points game.”

Power’s seventh top-four finish in nine races which includes victory in Detroit, leaves him second in the championship, but now only 20 points behind Chip Ganassi Racing’s Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson. Power agreed he had the quickest car of the weekend and that he was left wondering what might have been if he’d started at or near the front.

“I definitely feel like we had the fastest car because in the second practice I had left three tenths on the table. I was up three tenths and the throttle broke, and then obviously in qualifying we had our issue.

“We had the fastest car and it really hurts to give up a chance at a pole or potentially a win, but to get back to third, you're not [going to be] looking back on those days saying that's why we lost a championship.”

Power said he regarded his progress up the order as “fun”, but only after the race because “you're so focused during the race.”

He continued: “The enjoyment of a skill is executing it the best you possibly can. I enjoy it a lot. I enjoy qualifying, putting it all together over a whole race weekend. When you have a day like that, it makes you want to keep going for a long time.”

Asked yet again about his altered mental approach, Power alluded to tackling the season as Palou had on his run to the IndyCar title in 2021.

“I'm not doing anything crazy different,” said the 2014 champion. “I'm just not having strange things happen like spark plugs and brakes not working and just weird things happening to me. I think we’ve had just a great year all around because we haven't had any mechanicals or anything like this.

“Yes, I did make a slight change in the off-season after watching him [nodding to Palou], and I'll tell you after I'm finished what it was that I've actually caught on to that's helped me a lot. After I'm done, you'll understand.”

To Palou he added: “I probably could tell you because you do it anyway! But yeah, it's good.”

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