Power: “Adversity makes me very motivated to make up for it”

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Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power’s disastrous Long Beach weekend just completed knocked him from third, 14 points back of teammate and points leader Juan Pablo Montoya leaving NOLA Motorsports Park, to sixth, now 39 points back.

With 20th place at Long Beach, Power had his worst finish since 2013 at Baltimore, when he ended 18th following a controversial collision with Scott Dixon. He hadn’t finished outside the top 15 since – 23 consecutive races – before the Long Beach finish.

But it’s early days yet in the season and given his record at Barber, three poles and two victories in five starts, he’s not concerned yet.

If anything, the driver of the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet will look to channel Long Beach winner Dixon in terms of bouncing back at the next race.

“After a weekend like we had at Long Beach I want nothing more than to get back to the racetrack as quickly as possible,” Power said, via Team Penske’s “The Power Outlet” posted to Facebook.

“It’s never fun having to go through a weekend like that. Luckily for our No. 1 Verizon Chevy team they don’t happen very often. We had bad luck in qualifying and it just snowballed from that point.

“However, all that adversity makes me very motivated to make up for it over the next couple of weeks, starting with Barber this weekend.

“We know that we can run a quick pace and challenge for the win there because we have done that on multiple occasions in the past. My teammates have been very solid and very consistent over the first few races and I need to be back on track this weekend to stay with them.”

All four drivers from Team Penske are in the top seven in points. Both Power and Simon Pagenaud have had one “mulligan,” per se, in the first three races – while both Montoya and Helio Castroneves are a perfect three-for-three in top-five finishes to kick off the year.

Montoya leads Castroneves by three points (119-116), with Power (80) and Pagenaud (73) close enough to move forward with a big weekend.