September 5, 2011
Will Power has one goal: Beat Franchitti
By Dean McNulty, QMI Agency
Will Power has only one thing on his mind with three IZOD IndyCar races left on the 2011 racing calendar: Beat Dario Franchitti at every event.
After his win at the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix on Sunday, Power sits just five points behind the three-time IndyCar champion.
It is almost the exact opposite position he found himself in last season when he went in to the final trio of races with a lead over Franchitti, only to lose it at the final at Homestead.
This time, Power said, there will be no taking his foot off of the gas, or in IndyCar’s case, the ethanol.
The Australian native said he started his resolve to push his No. 12 Penske Racing Dallara to the limit at the Edmonton Indy earlier this season.
“I think I’m just mentally better this year anyway, having been through what I went through last year, a championship and not winning in the end,” Power said. “Definitely I was more aggressive at Edmonton, when I won there and very focused, very focused on what I’m doing; very determined and focused.
“I think the difference between last year and this year is ... I wasn’t certain on how to approach the oval thing, so this year I know.”
Two of the next three races — at Kentucky and Las Vegas — are on 1.5 mile ovals where Franchitti, historically, has had a huge advantage over Power and the Penske brigade.
The only road course left is at Motegi, Japan, in two weeks time
But Power said his mindset is much improved on ovals this season and it all has to do with his concentration on winning and putting everything else aside.
No points racing for him and the No. 12 team, he said.
“To me in the championship, second means nothing, second, third, fourth, fifth, who cares, I want to win,” Power said. “It’s a disappointment to lose out by five points (last season). The whole team felt like that, we had such a lead to lose. We’re determined this year not to let that happen.
“All we can do is control what we can control and being mistake free, be quick in every session that we need to be quick in, like qualifying and execute on race day. That’s what we’ve done for the last two races.”
Power said he looks at statistics like any other professional athlete, but the fact that Franchitti has not won at any of the three remaining tracks, does not matter to him.
It is all about what he can do to determine his own fate.
“I don’t think it matters (where Franchitti has or hasn’t won),” Power said. “I’m pretty confident that we will be good on the Motegi course. Kentucky, I felt we had a lot of laps last year but I made a mistake on an outlap and lost position, so we’ll look at the next few races as strong for us.”
Power is also very much aware of how tough it will be to overtake Franchitti. After all the Glasgow native didn’t win three championships and a pair of Indianapolis 500s by accident.
“Dario is a tough competitor, he doesn’t make mistakes, and he’s always there,” Power said. “It is going to have to be mistake-free for the No. 12
team from here out.”
There was a time in his early days in the Champ Car World Series that Spain’s Oriol Servia spent much of his time getting people to pronounce his name correctly.
At the Baltimore Grand Prix, where he finished second in the No. 2 Newman Haas Racing Dallara, he commented it was nice to get his best result of the season in that city.
“Ever since I came to the U.S., everybody (when) I say my name, they say ‘Oreo, like the cookie?’ And I have to say, ‘No, it’s Oriol, like the Baltimore Oriole baseball team,’ so when I come here, I was happy, and then I see the track map, and I see that we’re actually around the stadium of the Baltimore Orioles, so I thought for sure it has to be my race.”
NUTS AND BOLTS
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES
The result of he inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix was never in doubt ... Will Power started from the pole and never looked back, winning for a record sixth time this season in the No. 12 Penske Racing Dallara Honda ... “That was the toughest race I’ve done all year,” Power said ... Oriol Servia, who started 16th in the No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing car finished second with Tony Kanaan, who started the race 27th of 28 cars in the grid, third in the No. 82 GEICO KV Racing Technology-Lotus machine ... Dario Franchitti finished fourth — his 12th top five in the 15 races — and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon was fifth ... Danica Patrick, who started way back in 25th moved through the pack to grab sixth place in the No. 7 Team GoDaddy car for Andretti Autosport ... Canada’s Alex Tagliani was seventh in the No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports after starting 21st ... “We got slowed down early on by a couple of slower cars.” Tagliani said. “That probably cost us the chance to be in the top five.” ... The other Canadian in the field, James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, started the race in sixth but was involved in a Turn 1 incident that eventually cost him several laps to the leaders ... “We were in the pits for a number of laps getting repairs done,” Hinchcliffe said. “We got back out for some laps at the end to just pick up a few places. It was a tough break.”
NASCAR Sprint Cup
Rain and the threat of more bad weather as a result of Tropical Storm Lee stopped the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday ... The race will be run Tuesday starting at 11 a.m. and will be shown on TSN2.