Second in a series looking at the IZOD IndyCar Series season of championship runner-up Will Power through various eyes. Today, crew chief Bill Vincent talks about team chemistry.
Bill Vincent flashes a thumbs-up to Will Power on pit lane moments before sending the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car out on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway oval for a test session.
It’s a standard gesture for the crew chief/outside front tire changer, much like it is for crew chiefs of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force Flight Demonstration Teams before exhibitions -- a sign of “Hey, the car is good, you’re good and good luck.”
2012 marked the third consecutive season in which Vincent has led the efforts to provide Power a car to exceed the challenges of each session of the diverse IZOD IndyCar Series schedule. Positive results have been plentiful through a combination of preparation, hard work and talent. Vincent agrees with engineer Dave Faustino that another element made a difference in 2012.
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“I’ve seen a little bit of a difference between Will and the crew, and I don’t know if it started with Will or not,” said Vincent, of Kenosha, Wis. “Everybody was trying to have more fun this year, trying not to worry about the things you can’t control. I think that was the biggest key going into this year.
“If something happens outside of our control, move on and make sure everybody does the best they can with what they can. I said to Will before the season, ‘Instead of good luck, I say have fun.’ That’s what I’ve done all year and it’s been an enjoyable season.”
Power won three of the first four races and earned the pole in two of the four. He added three other poles, seven top-10 finishes and led 294 laps over 10 races.
“In the past we really stewed on some things that happened that were beyond our control. It just gets you in the wrong mind-set. We don’t stew on anything. We all did a great job this year and we’re all proud of what we did.”
Results by teammates Ryan Briscoe (one victory, five top-five finishes, two poles – including the Indianapolis 500 -- and sixth place in the standings) and Helio Castroneves (two victories, five top-five finishes and fourth place in the championship) bolstered Team Penske’s season.
“It’s not just a 12 car crew,” Vincent said. “Everybody really came together this year.”