IndyCar »

Power on hold until Indy.

Will Power may have finished second on the road in Long Beach, and climbed to second place in the IndyCar Series standings as a result, but, as things stand, he won't even be in the field this coming weekend - and maybe not after the Indianapolis 500 either.

The Australian knew the score when, having lost his Team Australia ride at KVRT, he accepted the offer to fill-in for the court-tied Helio Castroneves at Penske, but the Brazilian's return to action - alongside Power and team-mate Ryan Briscoe - in California at the weekend, could not have come at a much worse time for the reigning Long Beach racewinner.

Having finished sixth on debut with Penske in St Petersburg a fortnight earlier, Power added bonus points for pole position in Long Beach and then proceeded to lead the early part of the race before finishing as runner-up to the luck-and-strategy-aided Dario Franchitti. His haul enabled to Australian to slot in behind Franchitti in the overall standings too, but his team has been unable to say whether he'll appear anywhere other than Indianapolis for the rest of the year.

"As far as Will's future, I think that everyone's asked that question," team owner Roger Penske commented, "As [Penske president] Tim [Cindric] laid out a plan for him early in the year, we were trying to determine what our options were. It was interesting that he wanted to drive the car - it's a little bit like Rick Mears when Mario Andretti was in Formula One. I talked to Rick about maybe being able to run a few races and he said "look, I'll run one race, I'll run two, I'll run three" - and he ended up winning Indy for us four times.

"I think Will has proven that he's fast, and he's certainly been a great team player, working with Helio and with his crew. Our plan, because [Castroneves' return] came on so fast, is that we're able to put him in a car this weekend and, while we will not run three cars at Kansas, he will be in our car, the Verizon Wireless car, at Indianapolis.

"I think, at this point, it's only speculation on what we'll do in the future. We certainly would expect to give him a real chance to run at Indy for what he's done for us. And I think that was based on the different scenarios that we laid out for him when he signed up. I think he's proven he's a great driver and we're looking forward to having him in the #12 Verizon Wireless car at Indianapolis."

Power's attempt to repeat as Long Beach race winner was hampered by a problem with the radio in the #12 Team Verizon Wireless Dallara that left him unable to hear team communications except when he was on a short section of the front straight. On lap 17, the Australia thought he heard a call for a full-course caution and slowed appropriately, allowing two cars the opportunity to pass him.

Although he fought his way back to second, having to conserve fuel in the waning laps meant that he could never put as much pressure on Franchitti as he felt the car was capable of.

"I was saving fuel like you would not believe," Power confirmed, "I was driving as hard as I could through the corners to make up for it. I was full lean, but that's the hardest I've ever driven. The car was there and, if we had been able to go full-rich, we would have been on it."

Cindric admitted in an earlier weekend press conference that talks with Verizon had extended only as far as confirming Power in the #12 car for the blue riband Indy 500 next month, suggesting that both sides may be open to considering further outings for the likeable Australian. Should running three cars prove to be a headache for Penske - particularly if either Briscoe or Castroneves find themselves in title contention - could the Luczo Dragon team, which came into being thanks to a family link through co-owner Jay Penske and leased Team Penske equipment for its first few outings, provide a feasible alternative? Now contesting its first full campaign, the team currently runs a single entry for rookie Rafa Matos.....


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Will Power - Verizon Wireless Dallara-Honda   [pic credit: IRL/McQueeney]
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Will Power - Team Penske
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Firestone tyres during Indianapolis test   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Simon Penske - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar media/Bret Kelley]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Will Power - Penske  [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [image credit: IndyCar Media/Bret Kelley]
Alex Rossi, Indy 500 [Credit: IndyCar]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar/Bret Kelly]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar/Bret Kelly]

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


Don - Unregistered

April 21, 2009 2:46 AM

Bummer for Will, but he knew what the situation was with Helio. Hopefully Penske can run a third car for the balance of the season, with Verizon picking up the tab



© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.