After Sunday's implausible ninth-to-first victory at Barber Motorsports Park, Tim Cindric called his driver a “robot.”
Mechanical and pre-programmed? Perhaps. But a better way to describe Will Power might involve terminology more human and alive than a simple robot could muster. Try “prodigy” or “gifted.” Or “savant,” even. Whatever it is that Power has, it's special.
Power won for the 16th time in his 89th IndyCar race with a bit of judicious strategy from Cindric, his strategist. A pit stop right before a full-course yellow put Power at the front, and he pulled away from Scott Dixon to win the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
Here is where the numbers get a bit stupid. In his 89 IndyCar races, Power has finished on the podium 29 times (33 percent). He's finished in the top five 41 times (46 percent). He's finished in the top 10 58 times (65 percent).
“He's pretty much like a robot,” Cindric said. “You tell him what to do, and he does it. He's awesome.”
For Power, it wasn't anything terribly complicated. “It was just hard racing,” he said. “I ran hard the whole day. Never saved fuel.
"We went in thinking that we have to kind of be a little off-strategy [compared] to the other guys to be able to pass around here. So we started on black tires, everyone else started on reds. We went to reds when everyone was on blacks. That got us a couple of spots.
"Then, good stops and good strategy calls put me out in clean air so we could use our speed. The strategy was perfect. The stops were perfect. We were quick when we needed to be, put ourselves in a position to win – which I did not think was possible this morning."