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In the Hot Seat with Will Power

Naturally, Will Power remains one of the genuine contenders for this year's Indianapolis 500. (Photo: Luis Torres/The Podium Finish)

Naturally, Will Power remains one of the genuine contenders for this year’s Indianapolis 500. (Photo: Luis Torres/The Podium Finish)

By all means, Will Power of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, remains one of the most competitive NTT INDYCAR Series drivers around.

Certainly, with 39 open wheel American Championship car racing wins, including 37 INDYCAR wins, Power remains a consistent championship contender. Likewise, the 40-year-old racer ranks second among active all-time INDYCAR race winners, as he trails six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon.

All things considered, Will Power does not take his success and achievements for granted. In like manner, Power sweated out Bump Day by qualifying 32nd in the 33 driver field.

Needless to say, Power’s relentlessness may be a difference maker for Sunday’s (May 30) 105th Indianapolis 500. In this case, Power’s experience, savvy and calculative aggression may factor into his bid for a second Indianapolis 500 win.

Presently, Power possesses a podium with his second at Birmingham along with an eighth at St. Petersburg. As a result, Power ranks ninth in the championship standings with his greatest test awaiting him this Sunday.

Nevertheless, Will Power remains confident and prepared for his bid with a second Indianapolis 500 win and IndyCar title. Of course, Power cannot be dismissed when his No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet runs on the track.

Primarily, the Team Penske driver makes his presence known at or near the front of the pack. In the words of Crowded House, Power’s tenacity is truly “something so strong.”

Recently, I caught up with Will Power for the first time on The Podium Finish. From his longevity in INDYCAR to his fervent passion of competition, Power possesses a genuine, youthful enthusiasm. Perhaps it explains his tremendous success in the INDYCAR scene since 2008. Now, let’s get “In the Hot Seat with Will Power” here on The Podium Finish!

Rob Tiongson : In your 14th INDYCAR season and 17th overall in the open wheel ranks, you’ve been a consistent, frontrunner battling for wins and championships. What’s your thoughts on how you’ve been able to contend each year considering the changes with the cars, schedule and competitors over the years?

Make no mistake, Will Power takes pride in representing Team Penske in his No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet. (Photo: Luis Torres/The Podium Finish)

Make no mistake, Will Power takes pride in representing Team Penske in his No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet. (Photo: Luis Torres/The Podium Finish)

Will Power : That’s a pretty easy question. I drive for one of the best teams on the planet. Team Penske does a great job in understanding any changes to the cars, schedule, competition, etc. and how to best turn that into a positive for our team and for my driving style.

Tiongson : With how diverse INDYCAR is in terms of the different nations represented throughout the field and those in the garage, what does it mean for you to represent your home country of Australia?

Power : It’s amazing, it really is. You know, Australia has produced some good racing talent, along with New Zealand. To be the first Australian to win the Indy 500 will always be a special part of my racing career.

Tiongson : You’re in the midst of your busiest time of the season at Indianapolis. Recently, you raced in Indianapolis Grand Prix. Now, this year’s Indianapolis 500 approaches this Sunday. As an Indianapolis 500 champion in 2018 and a four time winner on the Indianapolis road course, what’s the feeling like to race there knowing you’ve won at this venue five times?

Power : It gives you confidence, for sure. But you have to approach it with the mindset that it’s a new year. So much can change at a track from year to year. So you take nothing for granted. But, yeah, you know you can win there and that never hurts.

Tiongson : You’ve got a great trio of teammates in Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud. What is it like to work with them and pick their brains for ideas during the race weekend and away from the track?

Power : Yeah, all three of them are amazing, accomplished racecar drivers. I like to think we all compliment each other well. It’s going to be very refreshing to bring in a talent like Scott McLaughlin with the new perspective he will have on things.

Tiongson : As we are starting to edge closer toward a post pandemic normalcy, how important has it been for you to interact with your fans on social media and at the track?

Without a doubt, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay appreciate their fans who'll return to Indianapolis this Sunday. (Photo: Luis Torres/The Podium Finish)

Without a doubt, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay appreciate their fans who’ll return to Indianapolis this Sunday. (Photo: Luis Torres/The Podium Finish)

Power : It’s huge. I’m sure many people think that when we start up the cars and go racing that we don’t even know the fans are there. That is the furthest thing from the truth. We can see them standing and cheering. And obviously, we feed off their energy before we get behind the wheel, for sure.

Tiongson : This year’s rookie class must be among the most unique crop of drivers with Jimmie Johnson from NASCAR, Romain Grosjean from Formula 1, and your teammate Scott McLaughlin from the Supercar ranks. How exciting has it been for you to race with these talented racers and see them taking on their first season in INDYCAR?

Power : It’s pretty cool. You look at someone like Jimmie Johnson. He’s someone I never thought I get a chance to share a racetrack with. To have a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion cross over to INDYCAR is great for the series because even though we’re full of international drivers, we race mainly in America. To see Romain come back from his incident last year and win the pole for the GMR Grand Prix, what an amazing drive that was. Scott is just scratching the surface of how good he will be in this series.

Tiongson : Fans got to see you compete in various iRacing events. You’ve competed in the INDYCAR Challenge and the Wednesday Night Racing specials on FS1. You’ve mentioned how iRacing is a great tool for young racers in the past. How close does iRacing capture the experiences of being on the track from your perspective?

Power : Yeah, it’s really close. Of course, nothing will compare to actually feeling a car sliding around underneath you in real life. But braking points and turn-in markers are very realistic. The tire degradation they’ve incorporated into the software is amazing, along with the condition of the track surface and what it does to the tires.

Tiongson : You continue to deliver on the track with your accolades and accomplishments. From your perspective, what do you feel motorsports has given back to you and your family over the years that you’ll forever cherish?

Power : Honestly, it’s all I ever wanted to do. My dad raced in Australia and I wanted to do what he did. It was a long, winding road to get to INDYCAR. But I couldn’t have picked a better series to land in. The cars really fit my driving style and it is so competitive. I feel like I made a mark in this series and with Team Penske and that is special to me.

Tiongson : With INDYCAR’s popularity increasing over the years across the world, would you like to see the series return to Surfers Paradise? Or should it take on a new to INDYCAR track like the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit in Australia?

Power : Would I like to see that happen? Absolutely. Do I think it will happen? I wouldn’t think so before I retire. Roger (Penske) seems like he is pretty clear on expanding the series in North America first. I would never say never on going back to Australia. But I think it’s down the road a bit.

Tiongson : You’ve won the championship in 2014. However, give race fans three reasons why you and your No. 12 team are the ones to beat for this year’s championship.

Ultimately, Will Power believes in himself and his team with their pursuit of another INDYCAR championship. (Photo: Luis Torres/The Podium Finish)

Ultimately, Will Power believes in himself and his team with their pursuit of another INDYCAR championship. (Photo: Luis Torres/The Podium Finish)

Power : 1. We’ve done it before. 2. We still show plenty of speed. 3. We drive/work for the best race team on the planet.

Editor’s Notes

Special thanks to Will Power for taking the time for this latest “In the Hot Seat” interview series on The Podium Finish. Also, thanks to David Hovis and Team Penske for making this interview possible. You can keep track of Will Power on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, his official website and here on TPF!

Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing. Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Journalism at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's an everywhere kind of man residing in Texas.

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