INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power said after his pole position on Friday, ahead of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, that he wants to finish in four sessions in the month of May.
Those sessions are in order: Grand Prix qualifying, Grand Prix race for the Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 qualifying and Indianapolis 500 race.
Power’s a perfect two-for-two to kick off the month.
After securing the pole on Friday with a new track record lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Power dominated Saturday’s race en route to his first win of the year, which seemed only a matter of time before he finally got on the scoreboard for the season.
Power led 65 of 82 laps and also held off the advances of Graham Rahal, who yet again put in a dynamic drive for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the single-car team up against the might of the four-car Team Penske brigade.
“Yeah, that was as good as you get as far as no mistakes, good start, good restart, good stops, good out-laps, good in-laps. Just did everything we needed to do to win,” Power said post-race.
“I think back, I can’t think of anything that I felt was wrong with that race. You don’t often get that in IndyCar. So, yeah, it was a very good day.”
It was a day that is part of Power’s month of May motivation for 2015, as he now seeks to check the next box on his resume.
Power’s been one of North American open-wheel racing’s best drivers since his full-time arrival in Champ Car in 2006, and particularly since he joined Team Penske in 2009 on a part-time basis before his full-time team appointment in 2010.
But thus far it’s been the month of May that has eluded him.
Power finished fifth in the 2009 Indianapolis 500, his career best in the race, as a then-third car part-time alongside teammates Helio Castroneves (last race winner) and Ryan Briscoe. He had a car he thought could have won in 2010 but didn’t achieve the win.
A year ago, Power finished eighth after a drive-through penalty served as an unforced error.
The Australian is determined to overcome that past frustration this year.
“It’s funny, I came in this month determined to have a good month,” Power said. “I haven’t had that for so long. It’s working out. It’s just awesome to win at this place. It just is. I mean, you know, you look at the event, you look at the facility itself, it’s first class. The road course is phenomenal. It’s smooth, technical. Then you have the Cathedral of Speed, you could call it. It’s just an unbelievable month for motorsport.
“2009 and ’10 were years I felt I had a car to win it. Especially 2010, it was an unbelievable car. Just something would happen every time. The last couple years, last year was my mistake getting a drive-through penalty. I have to put myself in that position to challenge at the end of the race. I’m really determined to do that this month. I really want to get it right and win that race.”
Power’s set himself up nicely to do just that on the strength of an overdue first win this year achieved on Saturday.
It remains to be seen whether he follows it up and completes IndyCar’s first month of May IMS “double.”