Will Power was only moments removed from celebrating the 37th victory of his NTT IndyCar Series career last weekend at Portland International Raceway when he caught himself in a reflective moment.
The champion of the 2014 season and the 2018 Indianapolis 500 was asked if he ever takes time to consider all of the things he has accomplished in motorsports. His mind turned a surprising direction.
“Yeah, I do,” he said. “You know what, I get very disappointed in my career because of some of the things I’ve let go. I feel like I should have been champion more times.”
Power had the series lead heading to the final race of the season three consecutive years – 2010, 2011 and 2012 – only to not win the championship. He crashed out of the final race in 2010 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to yield the title to Dario Franchitti, and in 2012 he crashed at Auto Club Speedway while fighting Ryan Hunter-Reay for position. Hunter-Reay went on to win the title.
“It’s disappointing,” the driver of Team Penske's No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet said. “Sometimes you can forget that you’ve had a great career.”
Last weekend’s Grand Prix of Portland victory pushed Power into a tie with Sebastien Bourdais for sixth place among all drivers in terms of race wins. Two more wins will allow him to pull even with Al Unser for fifth place, and he stands only six wins behind Michael Andretti for fourth.
It’s also noteworthy that Portland became the 21st track where Power has won an Indy car race. That’s as many as Bourdais and only two fewer than Scott Dixon. Power has won on eight street circuits, seven permanent road courses and six oval tracks. Impressive by any measure, especially considering this era of the sport includes Scott Dixon (No. 3 in career wins), Bourdais (four series champions) and the depth of the field in recent years.
“It’s a tough series, tough to win races,” Power said. “So any win you get you’re just over the moon.”
Power also has 57 career poles, second on the all-time list to Mario Andretti’s 67.
“I think you’d be lying if you don’t look at that stuff at times,” Power said. “You don’t think about it when you’re driving, but I know Dixon would most definitely look at that stuff, too. He might say he doesn’t, but because you’re up amongst drivers that you idolized as a child. It’s just kind of surreal that you can put yourself up amongst names like Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Michael Andretti, the Unsers, these names that for me were people that always seemed above me.”
Power believes this era of the sport, given its competitiveness, will one day be revered.
“It’s going to be an era that kids look up to like, ‘Wow, that was a great era of competitive INDYCAR racing, probably the most competitive era ever,” he said. “I’ve kind of been thinking that.
“You look at the field, the series, the teams now, it’s just so cool to be a part of it right now, and (INDYCAR) is growing and the continuity of drivers, new teams coming in, it’s fantastic.”
POWER ON THE INDYCAR CHARTS
1. A.J. Foyt, 67
2. Mario Andretti, 52
3. Scott Dixon, 46
4. Michael Andretti, 42
5. Al Unser, 39
6. Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power, 37
1. Mario Andretti, 67
2. Will Power, 57
3. A.J. Foyt, 53
4. Helio Castroneves, 50
5. Bobby Unser, 49
INDYCAR concludes its 17-race season with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday, Sept. 22. Television coverage will begin on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. PT local) with the green flag scheduled for 3:15 p.m. (12:15 p.m. local). Live radio broadcasts will be available on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM 205, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970).