Will Power's 2011 season has been such a success - 11 top five finishes including nine podiums - that coming merely second behind Scott Dixon could almost feel like a disappointment, but that wasn't the case at Motegi where he was the driver with the biggest smile on his face after taking the lead of the IZOD IndyCar Series championship with two races remaining.
"We tried everything we possibly could to get Dixon but he was very aggressive and he really deserved the win," said Power after the last race to be run at Motegi by the series, insisting that he couldn't have asked for more than second place this week.
For his part, Dixon agreed that he had felt comfortable even at the final restart and secure in the knowledge that he had the best car out there. "At that point there were no concerns. We had a pretty good buffer to Will," he said. "We definitely were at the point that we knew as long as we didn't run out of fuel or have a mechanical that we were going to win the race."
The podium position puts Power 11pts ahead of Dario Franchitti going into the championship, and Power needed to make the most of this last road course of the season. Power's had the edge over everyone on road courses all season, and unsurprisingly clinched the trophy for the road course component of 2011 after Motegi.
"It's an honour to win the Mario Andretti Road Course award again," he said. "I have such respect for Mario and all he's accomplished. Now, we need to keep going and finish the season strong on the ovals."
But anyone thinking that the newly re-crowned Master of the Roads is unhappy that the final two races of the year will be on ovals can think again. Surprisingly, he's a big fan of speedways.
"Ovals, that's what I enjoy the most racing, mile-and-a-half racing, Chicagoland last week, Texas this year - even Kentucky last year we were really strong, just didn't end up with the result. Pretty focused on that this year," he said.
This year, Kentucky Speedway on October 2 is the penultimate race of the season, with the season concluding at Las Vegas Motor Speedway two weeks later. It's wide open who will come out on top in the battle between himself and Franchitti, and Power is doing his best to not worry about it.
"We had the mindset going into the weekend - we weren't really thinking about points," he insisted. "We were just thinking about doing a good job. The things you can't control, it's not worth even worrying about. Just really making sure we execute on the things we could control."