Power dominates another St. Pete race from pole, but reflective post-race


ST. PETERSBURG – This isn’t the first time this has happened.

In each of 2011, 2012 and 2013, Will Power scored the pole for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and on each occasion, he came up shy of the win.

The first two years, he came second to Dario Franchitti and Helio Castroneves respectively. JR Hildebrand’s aerial attack under a caution period resigned Power to a lapped 16th place finish in 2013.

This year Power was second again, and second to a third different driver in Juan Pablo Montoya.

Power led 75 of the 110 laps in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series curtain-raiser, but none of the last 28 after emerging behind Montoya on the final pit stop sequence.

Power said in his post-race TV interview that his one move on Montoya, attempting to pass on the inside going into Turn 10 on Lap 99, was optimistic but possible.

“Yeah that was a place I could kinda get a run on him,” Power said. “It was the only chance I had. I think he saw me. It was kind of optimistic but it was possible. He didn’t give me anything. It was kind of my only chance.”

The defending series champion elaborated on it during the post-race press conference, although was in very good spirits despite the result.

“You know how these races go,” Power admitted. “That’s the thing I enjoy about IndyCar racing. It doesn’t matter where you were at. If you just hang in there, you can have a good day.

“Yes, it’s a little bit disappointing to lead so many laps and end up second. But it came down to tire choice. I put on the (Firestone) reds and he put on the blacks. It allowed him to jump me in the pits. If there’s a gap, one chance, I went for it. We rubbed a little. But I gotta put a bit of a show on for the fans.”

Power admitted his gamble, to go for the gap on corner entry into Turn 10, was actually aided by the new aero kits rather than hindered by it.

“You can go for gaps with this car that you wouldn’t with the old car,” Power explained. “I wouldn’t have gone for it with the old car. If I missed a bit, we’d both go off and into the wall.”

The other element Power addressed post-race was a brief traffic hangup between he and rookie Sage Karam in the race’s final 10 laps. Power said Karam, in his second start in the series and first with Chip Ganassi Racing, did everything he could to get out of the way as quick as possible.

“It was a hard situation. Sage tried to get out of the way. He moved out the way as quick as he could,” Power said. “Yeah, that’s tough. It happens in racing. If you’re leading, you love it. All that stuff comes and goes and works itself out.”

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”