If he didn’t have bad luck, Team Penske’s Will Power might not have any luck in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. After winning the pole at St. Petersburg, an ill-timed caution and a mechanical problem relegated Power to 19th at race’s end. Contact with Charlie Kimball doomed him at Long Beach before he even completed a lap, and he could do no better than 13th. And at Barber Motorsports Park, where he again won the pole and was leading in the final laps, a punctured tire forced him to make a late pit stop and dropped him to 14th at the checkered flag.
However, the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix Raceway saw a turn of good fortune for the 2014 champion. Power started second, led 59 laps and finished the day in a very solid second place behind teammate Simon Pagenaud. “It was a good night considering where we’ve finished the last few races. I’m happy to finish second and get some points,” Power said of the result.
Of course, it could have easily been a win if not for an untimely caution after a scheduled green flag pit stop. That caution allowed Pagenaud to cycle to the front, and Power was unable to mount a challenge. Still, Power did not express much disappointment. “I think the Verizon Chevrolet was the strongest car. I would have liked to have got the win, but I’ll take the points. This was just what we needed for the championship points. We’ve been good everywhere,” he asserted.
Now four races in, Power’s 2017 season is eerily similar to his 2016 campaign. Last year, Power missed the first race at St. Petersburg due to an illness. His finishes in the next three races (third, seventh, and fourth) vaulted him up to seventh in the championship when the calendar turned to May.
Fast forward to 2017, and his finish of second at Phoenix, the fourth race of the year, has vaulted Power’s championship standing to…seventh as the series begins the month of May.
The next race for the Verizon IndyCar Series is the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on May 12-13.
Follow Kyle Lavigne.