INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power has 18 victories since moving to America, where he’s one of the most decorated drivers in open-wheel racing.
But his resume has some glaring holes: He’s never won an Indianapolis 500, and he’s never won a championship.
“I’d just love to win something, just one time win something of significance,” he said Thursday. “I’m so sick of it.”
The most dominant driver in IndyCar the last three seasons isn’t content with his results. Make no mistake, they are quite impressive.
In 44 career starts since joining Penske Racing, Power has 15 wins, 20 poles, 24 podiums and has led at least one lap in 34 races.
“You think about his record with Penske Racing over the last three years, and he’s won almost one out of every three races he’s been in, and he’s been on the podium almost two-thirds of the time,” Penske said. “It really establishes him, from the road racing perspective at least, as the top driver out there right now.”
But Power wants more – a lot more – and his chance to cross the Indy 500 off his list comes Sunday, when he’ll start fifth. He goes into the race as IndyCar’s points leader, and has won the last three races of the season. Penske, meanwhile, is a perfect 4-0 in races and 5-0 in qualifying.
So this might just be the year for Power to finally break through. Maybe it will be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the race his team owner cherishes above all over. Or, maybe it will be in the title race, which he’s lost the last two years to four-time champion Dario Franchitti.
Even if Power never wins another race – something the uber- intense Australian often frets about – he’s still accomplished far more than he expected. He’d come close to quitting at the end of every season he spent in Europe, where he scraped together rides and racked up enormous debt in his quest to become a Formula One driver.
He thought for sure at the end of the 2004 season he was headed home to Australia for good and join the family canvas business, and once again, something came along that kept him in it another year. Then came the call from America, from Derrick Walker, who needed an Aussie driver for his Champ Car Series team.
Power was reluctant to consider the offer, and he knew moving to the U.S. would probably put an end to F1 forever. But the ledger showed a deficit near $500,000, and the job Walker had available would have paid him a salary for the first time in his driving career.
So he took it, and he’s never looked back.