Will Power's strong season looks set to continue after team boss Roger Penske admitted that he felt obliged to give the Australian further outings in the #12 car.
Despite having had to sit out the previous round in Kansas, Power acclimatised well to Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the build-up to the 500, qualifying ninth fastest on Pole Day and then going on to run strongly in the race itself. Indeed, had it not been for a sluggish last pit-stop, when his crew was slow to fit the right rear, the Australian could have been celebrating a potential Penske 1-2 - in either order - with eventual winner Helio Castroneves.
That result would have been particularly fitting given that Power was drafted into the Penske line-up as cover for Castroneves while the Brazilian endured his federal court appearance in Miami, and could have been full-time team-mate to countryman Ryan Briscoe had tax evasion charges been made to stick. As it was, Power gave up the #3 car after opening day practice in Long Beach so that Castroneves could fly in from Florida and take up his regular berth. Penske duly laid on the #12 for the stand-in, and Power claimed sixth with it, adding to the second place he claimed at St Petersburg.
Now, his fifth-place finish at Indianapolis looks set to guarantee the former Champ Car racewinner further opportunities in 2009, although Penske admits that he will not
be in the line-up at Milwaukee this weekend.
“We can't do that,” the veteran team owner confirmed to the Indianapolis Star
newspaper, "but we are going to run him more. He's been great for us. He could have finished in the top two or three [at Indianapolis].”