Will Power: “It’s the first time I feel I have a shot at winning” Indianapolis 500

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INDIANAPOLIS – Driving one of the fastest cars this month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Will Power has been experiencing an unfamiliar sensation on the 2.5-mile oval.

But it has nothing to do with speed.

“It’s the first time I’ve been out there saying, ‘This is fun,’” said the defending series champion, who will start second in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. “That hasn’t been me for a long time. They are personal changes I feel. I feel when you’re enjoying it, you really get into it.”

Ovals were the bane of the Team Penske driver’s IndyCar existence for four consecutive seasons from 2010-13. His left-turn weaknesses cost him a the title in 2012 when he crashed and finished 24th in the season finale at Auto Club Speedway after entering with the points lead. He also finished runner-up in the standings in 2010 and ’11 while posting only one oval win (in a half-distance race at Texas Motor Speedway as part of a doubleheader).

There were improvements the second half of 2013, notably a crushing win in that year’s season finale at Auto Club Speedway, but the full breakthrough came last season.

On the way to his first Verizon IndyCar title, Power scored a dominant win at the Milwaukee Mile (leading 229 of 250 laps) and led five of six oval laps.

The momentum has continued this season at Indy, where he has a best showing of fifth (in 2009), but four finishes outside the top 10 in seven starts.

“I feel more confident than I ever around this place,” he said. “I’ve absolutely been more confident in traffic, about the car. It’s the first time I’ve felt like if I’m there at the end, I have a shot at winning this. I just have to get myself in that position.”

The Australian, who admittedly can overthink scenarios inside the cockpit of his Chevrolet, said it was simply a matter of getting comfortable enough to tell his team what he needs in the car and respecting its limits. Power has 23 wins on road and street courses, which are more forgiving of mistakes.

“It came down to experience,” he said. “That’s what oval racing is all about. Everything is high speed. You have to be smart the way you race and deal with traffic. That’s the attraction of ovals. You can never overstep it. At a road course, you can go over that limit and understand what the car does. Here it’s tough. It’s why experience counts so much.

“After contending for the win at every ova last year, I’m understanding what I want from the car. I think when you’re inexperienced, and the car is bad, you blame yourself. It’s never about that. It’s always about the car being right. When it’s not, you feel uncomfortable, but you know the car isn’t right. You’ve got to remember, ‘It’s not me, it’s the car.’ ”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”