Power enjoys being in right place
Will Power watched the 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series championship-deciding race from a suite at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which played out like a 90-minute inspirational video for the Australian driver to push physically and mentally to be in a similar position this year as Team Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe.
He'll be on the grid Oct. 2 in the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, aiming to realize that goal. Power takes a 12-point lead over reigning series champion Dario Franchitti into the 200-lap race under the lights. There are a number of scenarios in which Power can clinch - foremost finishing ahead of his lone competitor in the field of 27.
Power's 587 points have been amassed through five victories on road/street circuits and top-10 finishes in 13 of the 16 races. He's also accrued 29 bonus points from a series-record eight pole starts and race laps led.
"If I go back to the end of 2008, it's amazing the position I'm in right now," said Power, who transitioned to the IZOD IndyCar Series with KV Racing Technology that season. "This is what I've been working for the last 10 years of my career, which in 2000 I decided I wanted to be a race driver at a high level and get as far as I can. At this point, to win a championship in a major series has been the goal.
"I remember saying at the beginning of the year I wanted to be a contender at the end of the year. I did that, but I didn't think it would come down to two people."
Franchitti won that championship race last October, coaxing more fuel mileage out of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car in the second half of the caution-free race than fellow title contenders Briscoe and Scott Dixon. This year, Franchitti has won four times on ovals.
"Dario is experienced and never makes mistakes," said Power, standing a few feet from the two-time Indy 500 winner during the second wave of interviews Sept. 29 in Miami to preview the show. "You can't hang back. You have to be on it. I expect it to be intense."
Both drivers tested on the 1.5-mile oval Sept. 27, even hooking up late in the session for brief race preview.
"It was definitely more beneficial for me than anyone else with the position we're in and not really racing there before," said Power, who in the '08 season opener finished 25th in his first oval race. "I think we have good cars and I've been knocking on the door of winning an oval with strong finishes in the last three. We're there; I feel like I'm ready to win a race.
"Winning races, you want to add to your resume. But it's been a process of getting experience without taking too big of a risk and trying to win a championship at the same time. I feel like I've got all that this year and now in a position to do that.
"If I don't win the race this weekend it doesn't mean anything to me. The championship is the one thing I want to win."