IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Will Power

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MotorSportsTalk looks through the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, following the conclusion of the season at the end of August at Sonoma Raceway.

In 2015, defending champion Will Power had a roller-coaster campaign, but still ended third.

Will Power, No. 1 Team Penske Chevrolet

  • 2014: Champion, 3 Wins, 4 Poles, 7 Podiums, 8 Top-5, 15 Top-10, 623 Laps Led, 8.5 Avg. Start, 6.4 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 3rd Place, 1 Win, 6 Poles, 3 Podiums, 7 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 298 Laps Led, 4.1 Avg Start, 9.4 Avg. Finish

The champion had a less-than-successful title defense, but not a terrible season, to still end third in points. In many respects, Will Power’s 2015 was similar to his 2013 campaign – decent throughout, but never fully in title contention.

Power started his season strongly and after the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, site of his lone win this year, looked on top form. It was a typical Power/Penske masterclass where he left the field in his wake, led more than 60 of 82 laps, and positioned himself nicely for the rest of the month of May.

And then the Indianapolis 500 happened. Power’s had plenty of second-place finishes before, but ending second to teammate Juan Pablo Montoya after a month where he felt so on form was a bitter pill to swallow.

From there it was hard to see the forest through the trees. Power didn’t reach another podium all season – three fourth-place finishes were his lone top-fives in the final 10 races of the year. Add in contact with teammate Helio Castroneves in Detroit, Takuma Sato in Fontana and Ryan Briscoe in Milwaukee – none really his fault – and suddenly Power’s race weekends weren’t ending where you thought they should.

Power’s qualifying was as ever, brilliant. Power had a series-high six poles, five additional front-row starts and a series-leading 4.1 grid average in 2015. But like Simon Pagenaud, the results didn’t fully measure up as he ended worse than he started in 13 of 16 races. It’s inevitable when you’re starting up front you’ll end worse, but Power didn’t have near the full complement of results you’re used to seeing.

Nevertheless, in spite of a sarcastic comment about clinching early in 2016 which was actually said in jest, Power should return to full championship form next year and return to winning multiple races. It says something about Power’s ability level that this was his first full-time season with Penske in six years that he won only one race.