It has been quite the feast or famine season for Team Penske’s Will Power in 2018. Aside from a rather large May feast, its been a bit more famine than the Australian driver would prefer.
Despite becoming the first driver to win both the INDYCAR Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 in the same month to go with a pair of runner-up finishes at Long Beach and Detroit, Power has three finishes of 21st or worse to drop him to 5th in the championship.
After leaving the Detroit doubleheader as the series points leader, a crash on lap 204 in Texas relegated Power to an 18th place result while he was running near the top five. Just when a front row starting spot offered hope for a rebound at Road America, the 2014 series champ would be sidelined before his race really began.
“Literally from as soon as I started warming it up, there was something amiss,” Power stated after making an early exit from the race. “I have no clue. They replaced the exhaust and it still didn’t take, so the Chevy guys will take a deep look at it.”
Power would place a disastrous 23rd after completing just two laps, and his Team Penske Chevrolet was the only machine to not finish the race.
While competitors like Scott Dixon (36 points) Ryan Hunter-Reay (40 points) and Josef Newgarden (54) had solid showings for their championship bids, Power left Wisconsin with just seven points in his pocket.
“It is unbelievable the amount of DNFs I have had this season,” said the Indy 500 winner. “I have never had this many in my career in such a short period of time.”
And he is right. Since Power’s first full-time season in Champ Car back in 2006, he has never had a season in which he had to endure 4 DNF’s in the first 10 races.
It is a far cry from his 2014 championship run where Power finished each race and all but 1 lap in the season.
This year Power has completed just 82.2% of the scheduled race distances in 2018. Despite an average starting position of 2.7, Power’s average finishing position is eight spots lower at 10.7.
A veteran of the open-wheel scene, Power knows the highs will always come with the lows at some point. While he isn’t likely to trade that historic month of May for better results at Barber, Texas or Road America, Power would certainly buy into some more consistency. It seems he knows that is on the way.
“Yep, that’s racing. Goes one way and then the other. As quickly as it is down, it can swing the other way quickly in a good way. When I think about it, we came into the Month of May, I think, fifth in points and left as the leader, so it can change, man.”
Header image by Shawn Gritzmacher/INDYCAR.