INDIANAPOLIS – “Anywhere else I’d be happy with second. But here, it sucks.”
Second is not something Will Power is unaccustomed to.
The driver of the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet finished second in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship three years in a row, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
But having finally got one monkey off his back – his elusive first IndyCar championship last August – Power was extraordinarily focused on scoring what was becoming his elusive first Indianapolis 500 win on Sunday.
He entered with the best “feel” of his career heading into his eighth race start.
Yes, in the grand scheme of things, Power had a good day and a good month of May.
But he came second in both of the key sessions that mattered for the Indianapolis 500.
He qualified second behind Scott Dixon, and now ended second behind his Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya in the race.
Are they good results? Certainly.
Are they what he desired? Nope.
“Pole, win, second, second. Not what I was looking for,” Power said. “There was some great battling out there. I have to give it to the drivers in the race. Fair, clean, but close and hard. That’s all you can ask for.”
Power explained how he fell to second in the final stages of the race.
“If Dixon had stayed there, because he was on lower downforce, I could stay out front,” Power said. “I saw Juan get him. I thought I might be safe. I actually felt I could get hit back. I just had an imbalance in leading. Out front, it was loose. When you get behind, I readjusted for that.
“There’s no problem, I was running less downforce. I could draw up really quickly. It just came down to an imbalance. I just didn’t spend enough time in second place understanding what I need from the car. He comes back there, which is a smart move, because it won him the race.
“It’s a difficult position, right? If it goes yellow, you win the race. You want to lead. I really fought hard to make sure I was leading all the time. Then again, if it’s going to go green, you get a bit of experience behind the way these cars draft.
“If the car wasn’t in balance, I would have had no shot at him. Still, Team Penske, 1-2, pretty good.”
And speaking of second, the second place means Power lost 20 points to Montoya in the championship battle. He entered the Indianapolis 500 just five points behind, but he’ll unofficially be 25 behind after this race.
Still in second.
It’s a result he’ll look to change heading into Penske’s home race, the Penske-promoted Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend, next week for IndyCar’s lone doubleheader of the season.