Glitz and glamour invariably come as part of the Indianapolis 500 winner’s package, but nobody markets the grueling media obligations and three races in two weekends that follow. Take it from this year’s winner, Team Penske’s Will Power.
Power, 37, has been a passenger on the high-speed champion’s tour that kicks into high gear right after the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” After hours of interviews that follow victory lane celebrations on race day, the week following Indy is packed with photos, the Victory Banquet in Indianapolis, a media tour in New York City, and of course, the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader the next weekend.
The action doesn’t cease there, though. Teams head back to the shop for a couple of days before venturing south to Texas Motor Speedway for a Saturday night shootout under the lights. For Power, it was more interviews, more pictures, more appearances, and less sleep.
Through it all, the Australian held serve on-track as he emerged from the IndyCar gauntlet 3rd in the championship standings. While a collision with Zachary Claman de Melo at Texas produced in an ugly 18th-place result, finishes of 7th and 2nd at Detroit beforehand plus the wins at Indy have been more than enough to place Power right in the thick of things.
Possibly even more important for Power was the break enjoyed between Texas and Road America that finally offered relief for the former champion, and father.
“It was awesome to have some time off after the long stretch – especially to spend time with my wife and son on Father’s Day,” Power shared. “It was really great for me and the rest of the team. It has been quite a whirlwind for everyone since Indianapolis, so it is nice to have the schedule calm down a bit.
“Texas was a tough one for myself and the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet team. It was disappointing but we are ready to bounce back.”
Getting over that disappointment should be easy enough to do as Power shifts his focus to Road America. In 2016, Power won the first race in IndyCar’s return to the venue after a 10-year absence. That day Power took victory from the pole, and in 2017 he qualified 2nd and still picked up a top-five finish.
In four races at Elkhart Lake, Power has qualified on the pole once, 2nd twice and 7th once for an average grid position of third. Couple that with his natural love for road courses and a chip on his shoulder from Barber Motorsports Park, and Power could be a man on a mission this Sunday.
“Road courses are always so much fun and this is definitely one of the most beautiful tracks on the circuit,” Power says. “The fans at Road America are such great INDYCAR fans and I really enjoy meeting them when we’re there. I always look forward to this race and am ready to get back on track there.”
Sometimes the key to getting back on track is just a little time off. Only time itself will tell.
Image courtesy of James Black/INDYCAR Media.