25 July 2011
Not as easy as it looked, says Power
Will Power never looked flustered or out of control of the Edmonton Indy, but he insisted that it wasn't as simple as it might have looked: "so bloody hard there at the end!"
Will Power might have looked like he was hanging back, biding his time waiting for a risk-free moment to overtake polesitter Takuma Sato, and then controlling the race from there on - but he insisted that it wasn't nearly so calm and easy from the vantage point of the cockpit of the #12 Verizon car.
"It was so bloody hard there at the end with Helio and Dario pushing me along," he said after the race. "I just couldn't gap them ... When I came out I had on reds [soft tyres], I thought I have to look after them so I will really be gentle. Then Helio was right there and I'm like, 'Man, I've got to go.' I had to ask Tim [Cindric, his pit crew chief] if that was for the lead. He said, 'Yeah, go!' I just held on there at the end."
Winning was definitely crucial to Power in terms of regaining his momentum after a frustrating month and two consecutive DNFs. "There's no better way than to come back with a win like this," he said.
Behind him was his Penske team mate Helio Castroneves, but if there was any idea that Helio might hold back and dutifully act as the protective wingman holding off Dario Franchitti in third place, no one had told the Brazilian.
"I wanted to win so bad but at the end of the day, after the season we've been having this is like a victory," he enthused after the race. "Once we were up there, it was just like good old times. I was really catching Will. I don't know what happened. He had a pretty good lead. As soon as we put the reds [soft option tyres] on, I was just going for it, going for it. Suddenly he just started locking the wheels and stuff like that.
"I had one or two chances, but it's one of those things. I wanted to pass, but the way my season was going, it was hard," he continued. "He was just smart enough to be in the right place, use the 'push to pass' to not give me a slight chance. With that, he was able to win a very good race."
The secret to Helio's success here at Edmonton - which last year saw his apparent race victory taken from him by a highly controversial penalty for blocking in the final laps - was a peerless performance by his pit crew during the tyre and fuel stops.
"We had awesome pit stops and everything went smoothly," he said. "Once we had good balance in the car, then I knew what I needed to do. I was able to avoid a lot of accidents."
Dario Franchitti had to settle for third place at the chequered flag, and all things considered it was probably as good as he could have hoped for. "It could have been better but Will and Helio drove clean races. I think the Target car was quicker but they had the track position and they didn't screw up," he said. "I was going as quick as I could behind Helio but he was very strong on the brakes right behind Will.
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