You may see Will Power start off in the back of an IndyCar race, but he’ll manage to finish in first.
Power earned his second consecutive win Sunday-keeping Penske Racing perfect for the season – by maneuvering his way through the field to drive from 12th to first in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Two weeks ago, he drove from ninth to the victory- Power didn’t think he could do it again.
“I go into every season thinking that there’s no way I can win another race,” the Australian said. “I don’t know why I feel like that, but I do. I guess I have an insecurity or something or I don’t believe in myself enough.”
That seems sort of silly, though, considering Sunday’s win was the 17th of Power’s career and moved him into the points lead. He pulled it off by working his way through traffic on a street circuit where passing is difficult, conserving gas over the final 31 laps — three laps past his fuel window — and holding off hard-charging rookie Simon Pagenuad at the end.
So where does Power have to start to not win?
“Pole. If you get on pole you won’t win,” he said. “We’ve experienced that a number of times here and many other tracks.”
Of course, Power had started at the pole the last three years and failed to win at Long Beach. He’s learned his lesson, and started elsewhere giving Penske its first win at Long Beach since 2001, and kept the team perfect in three races this season. Helio Castroneves won the opener at St. Pete, Power won the last two races, and they’ve combined with teammate Ryan Briscoe to win all three poles.
But their starting positions were scrambled Sunday because all 11 Chevrolet teams were penalized by IndyCar after the manufacturer decided to yank all its engines as a precautionary measure. The punishment is the loss of 10 spots on the starting grid, so Chevy officials did not make the engine change lightly because they knew it would put rival manufacturer Honda in strong position to win its first race of the year.
Chevrolet drivers claimed 10 of the first 14 positions and had six of the top seven spots.
Chevrolet IndyCar program manager Chris Berube called it a showcase of “determination, talent and spirit of cooperation of Team Chevy.”
“Each one of our Chevrolet teams and drivers put forth their best effort to overcome the adversity of their starting positions,” Berube said. “It was an amazing race to watch and a great show for the fans.”
[Source: Associated Press]