In motorsports, drivers can encounter all sorts of difficulties. Hazardous spins. Various penalties, which, if issued can cause a racer to lose their place. Navigating difficult circuit terrain. And, of course, falling behind. All of these serve as hindrances to impede racers from achieving peak performance.
Sunday, 2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power overcame all four at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
In Saturday’s qualifying session, Power was penalized for interference against former Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves. Power was forced to relinquish his two fastest laps, which led him to start 21st in The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the All-New 2023 Civic Type R.
As if recovering from that wasn’t challenging enough, Mid-Ohio is a track that is historically difficult to pass on. Only adding to these obstacles, Power also spun the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet in Turn 9 on the first lap, and even dropped all the way to the back of the drivers as well. The spin was the result of getting on the right-side curb as he tried to complete passes on rookie Christian Lundgaard and Takuma Sato.
Yet, despite all this, Power still managed to achieve an astounding comeback and finish third, one of the best comebacks this season.
The 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner and 41-time INDYCAR SERIES race winner, Power is no stranger to achieving success even in the face of various difficulties. But even this was a lot to overcome.
“I spun, kept (the Chevrolet engine) running, kept going … passed a few cars and then pitted again, went to the back, and then yeah, just started passing cars,” he said. “Good pit stop sequence.”
This perseverant mentality, in addition to allowing him to recover so well from the spin, allowed Power to recover well from penalties as well.
“The yellows hurt us actually for the sequences, but it helped us for restarts,” he said. “We had some good restarts, definitely gained positions because of restarts. Yeah, solid – another great day, good strategy, and yeah, keeping ourselves right in the points game.”
Power heads to the second half of the season – eight of the 17 races remain – in second place in the standings, 20 points behind leader Marcus Ericsson, the winner of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
The fact that Power had a great day is evident, but Power also knows that his day could have been even better without the penalties.
“We had the fastest car, and it really hurts to give up a chance at the pole or potentially a win, but to get back to third, you’re not looking back on those days saying that’s why we lost a championship, definitely,” he said.
One of the reasons Power believes contributed to his success is his mentality.
“I think the lesson is that even if you don’t pass any cars today, you’re still making positions,” he said. “If you don’t make any mistakes, just to start with, and then you have a fast car on top of that and you make smart moves, you’re going to make positions.
“You can’t get too desperate – like the first lap, that was just being in the wrong spot sort of where I spun. But yeah, these races are so unpredictable, as you’ve seen all year. If you just hang in there, you’re going to end up in a good spot.”
And end up in a good spot he did. Such a comeback only serves to attest to his expertise in the sport.
Even despite this success, Power is not planning on letting up anytime soon.
“You’ve got to make the most of everything,” he said. “There are some tracks your car is better, you’re stronger at, some click with you very well. That’s a path you’ve got to keep working on, so be strong everywhere.”