Top 10 IndyCar Driver of the Year 2011:
So there is is: just as happened in the real-life IZOD IndyCar Series championship, Will Power has lost out to Dario Franchitti for the number one spot yet again. Just what does the poor Aussie have to do to get a break and overcome that man!
There can be no question what a stunning year Will Power has had on the race track this year. He was especially dominant on the road courses, but his oval racing was also much improved this year as he south to close the one remaining clink in his armour that his arch rival Franchitti had been able to exploit in the past to sneak past him for the title.
Eight pole positions, resulting in six wins and a total of 11 top five finishes during the year - an incredible performance by anyone's standards. It's almost inconceivable that someone driving so well could actually miss out on going on to win the championship. But when the dust settled on the 2012 season, there he was in second place again.
Two of the pivotal moments for Power didn't even happen out on the track, but on pit road. He was hit by Charlie Kimball during a round of pit stops at Iowa, and was then holed in the sidepod by Ana Beatriz at what proved to be the final race of the season at Kentucky. On both occasions the damage meant a disastrous final result for the #12. More problems with pit stop timing compromised his Mid-Ohio race, and all the time Dario Franchitti was plugging away cutting his points lead and then going in front as the end of the season approached, and there seemed nothing Power could do to stop the title slipping through his fingers like sand.
At times the passion and desire - and the frustration and disappointment that it inspired in Power - has been all-too clear to see, such as his astonishing tirade against Franchitti after the two collided at Toronto, or his verbal outburst and now-iconic two-handed "flipping the bird" to race control at New Hampshire after that controversial and dangerous final restart attempt. In truth, such moments probably did more to unsettle Power's state of mind than he would like to admit.
Now the question is: has he learned from 2011? Can he repeat the same level of race success he's enjoyed this year while cutting out the mishaps? If he can, then he should be a sight to behold in 2012 - and difficult for anyone (even Dario Franchitti) to deny him a first, long overdue IndyCar championship.
Top 10 IndyCar Driver of the Year 2011 results so far:
3. Tony Kanaan
4. Scott Dixon
5. Oriol Servia
6. Ryan Briscoe
7. James Hinchcliffe
8. Graham Rahal
9. Ed Carpenter
10. JR Hildebrand