It’s been a dry spell for Verizon Team Penske driver Will Power. The Australian powerhouse has, for various reasons, been stuck in a winless drought since Sao Paulo, Brazil, in April, 2012. A total of 25 races have passed since he emerged victorious.
But as Team Penske has consistently led the IndyCar contingent at Sonoma over the last three years – Power and former teammate Ryan Briscoe have won the last three races at Sonoma between them – this is as good a spot as any for Power to finally break his duck.
“I can’t wait to get back there. It’s a track I’ve had a lot of success on,” Power said in a media teleconference on Monday. “Although the competition has definitely heated up this year, we still expect to be running right at the front.”
Power discussed the improved competition level in IndyCar earlier this year in a MotorSportsTalk interview, and elaborated on it as one of the reasons why winning has gotten harder in 2013.
“There have been nine different winners this year, so it’s really hard to predict how fast you’re going to be, and you know, who is going to be in the front and who you’re going to be challenging,” he said. “The competition is definitely tougher, for sure. There are some things that were homologated at the end of last year, which gave us a little bit of an advantage and every other Chevy team. The car itself, you’re really boxed into a corner as far as setup. There’s not much adjustment on this car that you can do because of the way it was designed with this rearward weight distribution. So you’re stuck, and you can’t set it up to suit yourself. You have to drive it as it is. I think that that itself closes the field up.”
It should be a straightforward two-stop race at Sonoma, over the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma’s 85 laps (4 p.m EST, Sunday, NBCSN). The last couple years have seen fewer full-course cautions on permanent road courses (just one at Barber, zero at Mid-Ohio this year), which allows for maximum attack the entire race.
“That is the best possible scenario, if there is no yellows, because it means you don’t have to plan for anything,” Power said “Two‑on‑two, just a real race there; there’s no manipulation by a yellow. That’s been the case on quite a few of the road courses in the last couple years for INDYCAR. They have been very green races. Basically, it just shows that the level, the standard of driving, has done really ‑‑ has gone up a lot. People don’t make mistakes anymore.”