Q: I have been a Will Power fan ever since meeting him at the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, but he's always found a way to choke at crunch time. Usually it seemed like immaturity and lack of confidence on ovals seemed to get in the way, but Milwaukee was a championship drive. Practice didn't seem to go that well and I think even Will was shocked by his qualifying. He just seemed quietly confident, though. I think messing up Pocono may have helped him mature as a driver, any indication that is true? Also, any hope for Baltimore again?
Pete, Arnold, MD
RM: To be fair, someone drove into him on pit road while he was dominating at Kentucky in 2011, and that turned out to be the last points race of the year. Without car damage that day, he’d have that title. But you’re right, he’s just seemed more measured and business-like lately rather than panicked if he didn’t win or lead every lap. And throwing away all those points with penalties mid-season must have registered as well. But you nailed it: last weekend was a masterpiece. Taking away all that downforce for qualifying and then driving flawlessly yet aggressively in the race. Two races and more than 150 points still on the table, but Will appears poised to get that elusive title.
Q: So what do the conspiracy theorists have to say caused Power to win on Sunday? Aliens? He stole Helio’s talent for ovals? Verizon gave him more horsepower? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Not after a crushing victory like that. The racing side by side with Tony Kanaan for the lead was probably some of the best I’ve seen all year. It took some serious guts to stick with it on the outside like that at Milwaukee and better still, he pulled it off. There may not have been a lot of passing and the win may have been a dominant one but I was entertained. Oh and I think Newgarden would be wise to re-up with SFHRECR or whatever they call the team. Penske, Ganassi, and Andretti likely don’t have any openings and any other move would probably be sideways.
Ryan in West Michigan
RM: Considering all the circumstances, I thought it was Power’s biggest victory to date. He took charge of the championship with a peerless performance from start to finish. People screamed about how boring it was but I can recall Rodger Ward, A.J., Mario, Michael and Little Al putting people to sleep with their dominance.
I think Josef is wisely waiting to see what engine is chosen (Honda loves the kid) for the merged operation and if something else opens up at Foyt or SPM.
Q: I've been a longtime follower of your column and an even longer fan of CART, Champ Car and now IndyCar, been to numerous road, street and oval races over the past 25 years. I live near Chicago, so Milwaukee is the closest track to me, this year however I decided that I did not purchase tickets ahead of time not knowing if I was going to attend. Sunday morning I woke up and just couldn't resist the fact that an IndyCar race was so close and I would not be there so the wife and I drove up and bought tickets for the show, which was good.
However, unless Andretti can figure out a better way to entertain fans with more than a pathetic Indy Lights race and a rickshaw race, (seriously, a RICKSHAW race?!?!?) I don't see how they will ever grow this event. There has got to be something else out there that could help fill the time and entertain people who have given their time to attend the event. I also don't want to beat a dead horse but there's a track a couple of hours north that would FILL the entire weekend with racing.
RM: Couldn’t agree more Rich. I wrote a commentary a few weeks ago that said ovals need to take the lead from street circuits and give the paying customers as much racing as possible instead of all that down time. Eight cars in the Lights race is embarrassing enough without rickshaws. And, of course, a double-header with sports cars at Road America would be a nice addition to the schedule…but we need to keep Milwaukee as well.