Power looks for clean race

DAVE 'CRASH' CAMERON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

EDMONTON - You can imagine the accents bouncing off each other: Will Power’s guitar-strum of an Australian accent swapping notes with the Southern twang of his new neighbours.

Power and his bride recently made a move from Indianapolis to another power centre of motorsports, Charlotte, N.C.

“It all sounds great, mate,” said Power before his first walkabout around the new track at City Centre Airport on Thursday.

(Surprisingly, Power is not the lone Oz-man in Carolina. Teammate Ryan Briscoe is there, and former Aussie V-8 Supercar champ Marcus Ambrose is racing in NASCAR.)

Cars bouncing off each other is a more immediate topic for Power and his No. 12 Verizon Penske. As in the recent Toronto Indy, when Power and co-series-leader Dario Franchitti had a get-together that saw the Scotsman go on for a win and Power suffer a second-straight non-finish.

“It’s pretty typical of Toronto. It makes it tight racing. Yeah, I was a victim of two incidents,” he said, chuckling out the last word.

“I wasn’t happy, definitely not. The thing is, I always try to race clean. I don’t like to run into people and ruin their day.”

But what can you do on a nowhere-to-go street circuit like Toronto?

“There is,” answered Power. “You can not go into people, not run into people.”

But it’s time to move on.

“Two DNF’s in a row: nothing more to say about other than it’s not good.

“As a team, as a whole, we need to have a good result. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not focused on what happened in Toronto. Or what happened in Iowa.”

The new Edmonton track retains the wide-open spaces of before, but there are also hairpin turns that could cause calamities, much like the late-great airport race in Cleveland. And there is a long straight, like another been-and-gone race in Portland, Ore., and a new race in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“You’re right. There is a mixture of tracks in here: a bit of Brazil, a bit of Long Beach, a bit of Cleveland in that really wide section. It’s pretty cool.”

And it’s a clean slate for all drivers and all teams.

“That’s always a good thing,” said Power, smiling at the thought. “It’s great when there’s no (carried over) expectations. No one knows what lines to take, no one knows anything about set-up. You just go.”

Then there’s the weather.

“If it rains on the Friday, it makes it even tougher for Saturday in qualifying. If it rains (for practice on Friday) and then dry for qualifying, then you don’t learn anything from practice. Nothing.

“If it rains for Saturday you won’t learn in the wet for (Sunday),” he said, before asking: “Is it going to rain on Sunday?”

It’s Northern Alberta. We’ll just have to wait, mate.

*****

Not only will Will Power be driving on an all-new track, he’ll be doing it for onlY the second-straight race — third overall — with Penske boss Tim Cindric as his race strategist.

Cindric — moving over after 12 years with Helio Castroneves — likes the idea of Edmonton being a start-from-scratch scenario.

“You can clear the history books,” said Cindric.

“You can’t predict what everybody is going to do. There’s no data that can predict what you’re competitor is going to do.”

And some decisions you just have to make “based on experience or just your gut feeling.”

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