Power not counting his chickens just yet
Just in case Will Power wasn't cognizant of the calendar, Dario Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Justin Wilson - and a host of other IZOD IndyCar Series drivers - will quickly remind him that the 2010 season is a marathon, not a sprint.
|Will Power is 2-for-2|
There are still 15 races to be contested (eight ovals and seven road/street courses).
Power followed up his victory in the opener March 14 in Brazil with a 0.8244-of-a-second win in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29. The Verizon Team Penske driver leads the IZOD IndyCar Series standings by 44 points over the second-place trio of Franchitti, Hunter-Reay and Wilson.
Power became the first driver since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2001 to emerge victorious in the first two races. He'll attempt to match Scott Dixon (2007, Watkins Glen-Mid-Ohio), Dan Wheldon (2005, St. Petersburg-Indianapolis) and Kenny Brack (1998, Charlotte-Atlanta) for a series-record three consecutive wins in the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union on April 11. He'll enter the event as a favorite after topping the time charts during an Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park last month.
"I'm just aware that it's only race two of 17," said Power, who picked up the three bonus points at St. Pete by earning the PEAK Performance Pole Award and leading the most laps (50 of 100). "To win a championship doesn't matter if you win two races and then have a heap of bad ones. You've got to win as much as you can. You've got to go into every race thinking, 'OK, I've got to win.' But if you can't, you have to make the most of it, and that's my thinking."
Power's teammate, Ryan Briscoe, maintained a similar thought process in '09 - in which he had three victories and a series record-tying eight runner-up finishes - and it led him to the championship-deciding race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Briscoe, who started 19th (his lowest ever on a street/road course) charged through the field to finish third in the No. 6 Team Penske car. Teammate Helio Castroneves was fourth.
"He's got a good lead but it's early and there is a lot of racing to go," Briscoe said. "There are lots of different tracks to come, obviously. At Penske, he's got a car that's going to be strong at all of the races this year, and it's going to take a lot to catch him."
Team Penske has finished either first or second in the past 13 street/road course races (since Mid-Ohio in 2008).
"Obviously, it was a great result overall for Team Penske," Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said. "Will has really come out of the box well in the Verizon car. To have three out of the top four spots puts us in a good position to challenge for the championship early on in the season. But we have to take it one race at a time and continue to execute when opportunities are there."
Wilson finished second, Franchitti was fifth and Hunter-Reay wound up 11th at St. Pete. Raphael Matos followed his third place in Brazil with an eighth-place effort - after starting 23rd - and is 47 points back of Power. Five teams are represented in the top five.
"I think (the championship is) wide open, and obviously Will had a great start to the season," Wilson said. "But the field is so deep this year. You've got to race the whole way."