Realistically, it’s win or bust for Will Power this weekend in Brazil

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It’s not worth mincing words: Will Power needs to win this weekend in Sao Paulo (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).

Power has gone more than a full calendar year, albeit only over by a few days, since his win at Brazil last year. That was his most recent win in IZOD IndyCar Series competition. The Verizon Team Penske driver has also gone a perfect three-for-three in winning at Sao Paulo, so that helps.

This year, a cartoon anvil has seemingly chased him around the first three races.

JR Hildebrand made a goofy mistake in St. Pete, crashing into Power’s right rear wheel guard under caution.

Power dropped like a stone in Barber on the start and only restart of the day and wound up a disheartening fifth, and needed a caution to make his strategy work.

Then in Long Beach, he was running fine before contact with Tristan Vautier in the pits cost him a right rear wheel guard again, and affected his straight line speed.

Earlier this year, Power described the competition level as “phenomenal,” because “one session you can be first, then you don’t gain enough in the next and you’re 16th.”

That it may be but if Power doesn’t get the job done this weekend, you’d think his next best chance would be the doubleheader weekend on the streets of Detroit, June 1-2. The oval stretch of the schedule comes after Brazil, with Detroit the only interruption.

Of Power’s 18 career wins (IndyCar and Champ Car combined), only one (Texas 2011 race 2) has come on an oval. He is the acknowledged road and street course master and until he breaks his duck on ovals, he’ll still have that stigma attached.

Or, for all we know, he could turn into an oval demon and win three or four oval races in the stretch between Indianapolis and Pocono, and pretty much turn the IndyCar world on its head.

Given the way this year has transpired, where there have already been two first-time winners and eight podium finishers of a possible nine, none of whom named Will Power or Dario Franchitti, would that be so far-fetched after all?

Newgarden fastest as Castroneves returns in weather-shortened Barber test

Photo: IndyCar
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The Verizon IndyCar Series took to Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday for an open test, with 24 entries tackling the 2.38-mile road course.

Weather intervened in the afternoon, preventing nearly the entire field from going out, but the weather held off during the morning enough for one session to be run in its entirety.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden led the way, with a quick lap of 1:07.979, ahead of Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves. For Castroneves, this marked his first IndyCar outing of 2018.

Helio Castroneves was back in an IndyCar on Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: IndyCar

Sporting the Pennzoil “yellow submarine” paint scheme, Castroneves turned 41 laps around Barber in the morning session, with a quick lap of 1:08.315. He was also the only driver to venture out on track in the afternoon, completing eight laps.

The Dale Coyne Racing duo of Sebastien Bourdais and Zachary Claman De Melo completed the top five.

Results are below.