"This guy knows the bad luck, too," he added. "I mean, he was leading Kentucky when he was fighting Dario last year - last year, right? Man, it seems like a long time ago - when he had an incident in pit lane while dominating the race and got taken out of contention. So he kind of feels how I felt at Sonoma. It's tough - that's how racing is."
"It can be so cruel," agreed Power. "To have done such a good job and be taken out on the last restart ... that sort of thing, but that is racing.
"The guy who has the least amount of those sort of days wins the championship, and that's just how it goes," he added. "You can be as upset as you want at the time and say it not fair and bad luck and all this, but at the end of the day it kind of all works itself out by the end."
A little back-up out on the track can go a long way as well. Michael Andretti has said that he expects his drivers - which include James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti - to work as a team in any way that they can to help secure the title, which means that the use of team orders will be at Hunter-Reay's disposal should it come down to that.
"We are making it a show in Fontana, and that's what it's all about," he said. "We are excited about it and we feel very good that, you know, we are going to be a factor there in the end."
Perhaps for that reason, Andretti has chosen to add an extra car at Fontana meaning they their four-car line-up will outnumber the Penske trio. Sebastian Saavedra will once again get an outing in an Andretti co-entry with AFS Racing, having previously made an appearance at Indianapolis in May and at Sonoma last month. It'll be the Colombian's first night race in the series.
"He'll be fine, he's driven night races before," insisted Andretti. "I don't think he will have any problems.The good thing is he'll have three teammates to help him as well.
Andretti spelled out the advantage of expanded the team's line-up: "It's helped us - even at Sonoma there were a few things that Sebastian found in practice that actually helped the other guys," he said. "Having more cars out there helps and we have great people and his team ‑ it's not taking away from the other three teams."
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the end of the season is the lack of any Chip Ganassi Racing drivers still in the hunt for this year's title. Either Dario Franchitti or his team mate Scott Dixon have won the IZOD IndyCar Series championship every year since 2006, but this year Franchitti stumbled early and Dixon's last remaining hopes were extinguished despite a decent run at Baltimore two weeks ago.
"There have simply been too many issues and so we were mathematically eliminated from the championship with two rounds to go," said outgoing champion Dario Franchitti of his season in his regular blog for racer.com
. "But realistically, the game was up before then. Whether it was getting a handle on the new car, being outpaced, engine blow-ups, pit stop issues and just sheer bad luck, we just weren't able to take advantage of all the days when we had a winning car."