More in Indianapolis 500:
Will Power wants to commit his future to Team Penske even though he has now had to relinquish his IndyCar Series drive to Helio Castroneves.
The Australian was recruited to deputize for Castroneves during the Brazilian’s tax evasion trial, but with the proviso that if Castroneves was acquitted, Power would have to step aside.
When a not guilty verdict was delivered on Friday afternoon, Castroneves flew straight to Long Beach to take the No. 3 Penske entry back from Power from Saturday practice onwards. Penske had prepared a third car, run by its Grand-Am Rolex Series crew, for Power to move into for the rest of the Long Beach event, and he duly took that Verizon Wireless-backed No. 12 car to pole position and second in the race.
At present, though, the only other race he is set to contest for the team is the Indianapolis 500, as Penske has committed to a two-car lineup with Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe for the balance of the season.
Power – who had lost his KV Racing drive when Team Australia principal Craig Gore pulled out of IndyCar involvement over the winter – said he was quite happy with this arrangement.
“I’m just happy to be given an opportunity, especially with this team, Team Penske’s very special,” said Power.
“To run the Indy 500 with these guys is going to be great. It’s going to give me a good opportunity to run right up in the front. They’ve had a lot of success there, as you know. So I’m looking forward to the month of May.”
He said he would not look for another drive with a rival team, even though he is currently second in the championship.
“No, I’m with Penske,” Power insisted. “I’m not really looking anywhere else. I’m very focused on the Indy 500. And for the team, I want to remain with them for the rest of my career.”
He said he had always accepted that he was likely to have to give up his drive at short notice.
“Coming into the weekend I was aware that possibly Helio could return, because his case was coming to an end,” said Power. “Halfway through Friday I was told that Helio was coming back, and we’d be going to a third car. But I remained focused the whole time. Each session I just took it as it came. I did the best job possible. You know, if you keep working hard, you have a bit of good luck.”
The Australian is not sure if he will attend next weekend’s Kansas race.
“I’m not a very good spectator,” he admitted. “I don’t know if I can handle standing on the side of the track watching everyone else race. It will be tough.”