IndyCar Driver Review: Will Power

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With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

Next up, the guy who ended 2013 on a high after three straight title defeats, Will Power…

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Will Power

  • Team: Team Penske
  • 2012: 2nd Place, 3 Wins, 5 Poles
  • 2013: 4th Place, 3 Wins, 2 Poles, 4 Podiums, 7 Top-5, 9 Top-10, 351 Laps Led, 4.3 Avg. Start, 11.0 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: A character-testing year but one where Power emerged with the last laugh for a change. It’s beyond refreshing to see him entering an offseason with a smile and momentum – three wins in the last five races, including his “most satisfying” win of his career at Fontana – will do that for you. He was hit by bad luck all too frequently, from JR Hildebrand’s aerobatics attempt in St. Pete to an engine detonation in Brazil. But he still had the pace thing down per usual and made a storming comeback in the second half of the year to end fourth in points. Not what he wanted, but a much nicer end than losing a title at the last race yet again.

Estrada says: An impressive late-season run ensured that Power would enter the off-season on a high note after various calamities had knocked him out of the championship picture early on – Tony mentioned St. Petersburg and Brazil, but let’s not forget Sebastien Bourdais spinning him out to begin the epic pileup during Belle Isle Race 2 or handling issues causing him to go from the pole to a 17th-place finish at Iowa. But toward the tail end of 2013, Power finally had things rolling his way with wins at Sonoma, Houston Race 2, and the season finale at Fontana, which appeared to send his confidence through the roof. He should back contending for a title next year.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”