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Will Power: Despite missing St. Pete, ‘Yes, absolutely, I can win the championship’

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By missing the Verizon IndyCar Series season opening race two weeks ago in St. Petersburg, Florida, Will Power took a big hit in the standings.

Because doctors would not clear him to compete on race day, Power earned just one point for qualifying on the pole.

But as the series prepares for the second race of the season this weekend, and by default his first, Power still feels very confident he can make up the ground he’s lost and still contend for the championship.

“When you look at the past and how they unfold in IndyCar and the fact you have double points races, yes, absolutely, I can win the championship,” Power told 1070 The Fan’s “Trackside” radio show in Indianapolis with Kevin Lee and Curt Cavin.

Even though he’s 50 points behind series leader and St. Petersburg winner Juan Pablo Montoya, Power hasn’t lost any confidence of rebounding back up the standings.

“I think it puts us in a very, very low pressure situation where we can probably take risks on strategy,” he said. “I’m not going to change the way I drive on the track, obviously.

“I’m not going to take big risks. I’m just going to race how I race. Definitely, from a strategy standpoint, it opens things up a little bit. We’re just going to put our head down and go for it.”

Saturday night’s race in Phoenix marks the return of the Verizon IndyCar Series to the Valley of the Sun for the first time since it’s last visit there in 2005.

“I think it’s going to be good racing,” Power said. “The interesting thing is will there be a second lane possibly.

“No one knows, we haven’t raced there for so long or with this configuration of car and engine, so it’ll be very interesting seeing how it all plays out.”

Power, who is currently 23rd in the IndyCar standings, is fully recovered from the inner ear infection that forced him to miss the race at St. Petersburg.

“I’m doing well,” Power said. “We did a test at Barber Motorsports Park last week, did 77 laps and were quick. So everything’s good. I’m all full healthy now.”

He also took the opportunity to pitch his new book, “The Sheer Force Of Will Power” with veteran motorsports journalist David Malsher, which was released Tuesday.

“It’s an interesting book,” Power said. “It has a lot of insight into how I got there.

“And to younger people, it’s motivational, that if you stick with it and you haven’t got the money and backing but believe in yourself, just keep pushing and you can make anything happen.”

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Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

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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.”