Last in a series looking at the IZOD IndyCar Series season of championship runner-up Will Power through various eyes. Today, Elizabeth Power talks about the different approach her husband employed this season.
The scene, Elizabeth Power recounts, “was the craziest thing I had ever seen.”
There was Power (nee Cannon), a Texan, in the Toowoomba, Australia, home of her fiancé, Will Power, ostensibly to meet his extended family over the holidays, when an impromptu “welcome to family” show featuring Power’s three brothers attempting to break dance on stilts materialized.
She heard tales about Power’s adventurous brothers – and vice versa – during their courtship that began while they were employed at Walker Racing in Champ Car (he as the driver; she as the publicist), and witnessed quite a few, too. Another version of break dancing even infiltrated their wedding reception in Maui. The couple celebrates its second wedding anniversary Dec. 17.
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Power remains fun-loving, though potential injury-producing exploits have been tempered by his Team Penske contract, and a warrior on the racetrack. Over the past three full seasons, he has posted an IZOD IndyCar Series-high 14 victories, including three in a row early in the 2012 season, and challenged to the final race each year for the driver championship.
He’ll be a title favorite for the 2013 season, which features 19 races at 16 venues. Two days of testing on the Sebring International Raceway short course this week will complete his year in the Chevrolet-powered No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car.
Through success, the disappointment of falling oh so short of the championship goal and trauma (Power suffered a broken back late in the 2009 season), the couple has been learning through each experience how best to navigate expectations (self-imposed and external) and prescribe a balanced mental approach to the peaks and valleys of the arduous season.
“He’s the same person focus-wise if not more focused and determined,” Liz says. “It’s such a trying thing, especially when you’re new to it, battling for the championship like he was in 2010. 2010 was a learning experience. Will went from a part-time season to full time and hadn’t been on ovals much.
“Then to now he’s still has that same focus and determination because he’s (been) runner-up. But, at the same time, he has a more relaxed approach. I think the past two years have molded that, and the way he approaches the driving and just his attitude out of the car.”
At home in suburban Charlotte, N.C., drumming on the full set Liz presented on his 31st birthday on March 1 has been among his mental escapes.
“He still does the things he’s always done to prepare, but he’s doing more things to relax and being goofy,” she says. “It helps me too because going through it with him I feed off of him and want to be positive for him. It’s a more relaxed approach for both of is. He is more relaxed and you see that away from the racetrack where he has tunnel vision.
“I understand the support system that it takes. Our relationship has grown too because we have that understanding and love for the sport.”