Power primed for a third Sonoma win

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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.”

Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup