Power tests at Pocono, analyzes his oval struggles

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Will Power’s among a handful of drivers testing today at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., in preparation for the IZOD IndyCar Series race there July 7.

“I’m really looking forward to Pocono, as it should be interesting around that place,” he said in an interview with MotorSports Talk earlier this week. “To pull off the Triple Crown (a sweep of Indianapolis, Pocono and Fontana) would be pretty massive.”

Power’s regarded as the dominant street and road course driver in IndyCar, but for whatever reason has struggled to capture the same results on ovals. In five oval starts last year, Power had only one top-10 finish and finished in a tie for 17th in the oval points standings.

“I think, to be honest, it’s not speed that’s the issue,” he said of his oval results. “It’s as simple as I gotta finish races this year.

“If you look at bad luck, or unfortunate incidents, I had (Mike) Conway spin ahead of me with a damaged wing at Indy, I got a drive-through at Texas for blocking where I could have won, and Iowa I turned down on a guy I didn’t see.

“It would be great if it was just one thing. But it’s a bunch of random incidents. You just keep plugging away and focusing on the job. All the ovals – Indy, Milwaukee, Pocono – they’re all so different. But I’m looking forward to them. It’s fun racing.”

After Long Beach in a week and Brazil in early May, the series heads to Indianapolis in May for the 500-miler and a couple weeks of practice. Indianapolis starts a stretch of five oval races, culminating with Pocono, in the next seven events.

See also:

Power: The competition is phenomenal

Power: We were golden with a yellow

 

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.