An emotional end to drought for Will Power

Winner for the first time in two years in IndyCar at Road America, Will Power put an end to an unprecedented drought for him. If the sporting significance is important, this success comes especially after a complicated personal period for the Australian and his wife Liz.

Published on 11/06/2024 à 17:40

Michael Duforest

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An emotional end to drought for Will Power

© Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

735 is the number of days Will Power had to wait before finding his way back to victory in IndyCar. In Detroit in 2022, the Team Penske driver had the only success of his season, at the end of which he won a second championship title. In his career, Power had too often been the victim of bad luck, or simply of too much commitment. The one who obtained the most pole positions in the history of the sport too often finished on the top step of the podium or at the end of the peloton.

The 2022 season saw a new Will Power, more methodical, less sanguine, more efficient. And it’s this “new” Will Power who struck again on Sunday at Road America. Starting from fifth position on the grid, the Australian did not worry at any time, and calmly moved up to third position, behind his two teammates, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, who were fighting for victory. What they didn't know was that Power and his strategist Ron Ruzewski were one step ahead...

Power's strategic move

In a race that seemed to favor the undercut, this maneuver aimed at stopping before your opponents in order to benefit from the additional grip of new tires, Power did quite the opposite to finally win. It was in fact the #12 Dallara-Chevrolet which was the last of the leading trio to stop for the last time, enough to allow the double IndyCar champion to restart ahead of Newgarden and McLaughlin. A profitable decision which was born from a waiting race from the native of Toowoomba, far from the aggressive Power of the beginning.

“I stayed behind. I couldn't pass Scott without using a lot of push-to-pass, so I waited. I knew I was one lap better on fuel than him. And I also managed to keep my soft tires, I took care of them like a newborn! I was thus able to do a very big return lap, in order to build up a sufficient advantage over Josef, to keep him behind me on cold tires. »

The lap following Will Power's return to the track was indeed the best opportunity to take control for the two-time reigning winner of the Indy 500. Newgarden tried in the first corner, but Power defended perfectly, preventing his teammate from impose yourself. With this 42e career success, the Australian equals Michael Andretti, and joins him in fourth place among the most victorious drivers.

A strong comeback after a difficult year

But this success above all comes to close a complicated period for him and his wife Liz. In early 2023, she was hospitalized for a serious spinal infection. At that moment, as the 43-year-old pilot explained, only the health of his companion mattered. Even if it could mean the end of his career.

“We are starting to think. When this was happening, I wondered if I should even enter races. If something happened to Liz, would she get better? The doctor told me the infection could come back at any time. So should I run? That's what I've been thinking about all last year. You can't perform at your best because you don't want your son to grow up without parents. It's hard to fight with that. Ultimately, if his health hadn't improved, I would have stopped for my son. It's as simple as that. Liz is an integral part of my preparation, and today we are back, the team is back. »

And “the Power team” is now leading the championship…

ALSO READ > Road America: First victory in two years for Will Power!

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