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Will Power likes what he sees of new Belle Isle course
Will Power scorched around Belle Isle on Monday as if there were a championship or trophy at stake.

The Team Penske ace was giving rides to Motor City journalists in a Chevy Camaro pace car and left plenty of sweaty palms and hearts pumping fast.

Power, who starts sixth Sunday in his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet in the 97th Indianapolis 500, was joined on track by fellow IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Simona De Silvestro (KV Racing Technology) and Townsend Bell (Panther Racing).

The trio laid rubber down on the repaved and extended 2.3-mile street course that will host the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix doubleheader weekend May 31-June 2.

Last year, the track broke up during the Grand Prix and the race was red-flagged for 2 hours. With Roger Penske leading the charge and his team putting up $2 million, the track was fixed in the fall and was made longer and faster.

Power, who finished fourth in the 2012 race, loves the new surface and reconfigured circuit.

Can he win one or both races at Belle Isle?

“Absolutely,” the Australian said following one of his many trips around the Belle Isle race course on Monday. “The new track is incredible and it’s going to be great racing.”

Power probably could have won the past three IndyCar championships with a bit of racing luck. Of the twin bill at Belle Isle — a 70-lap Indy Car race on Saturday and another the same distance on Sunday — he’s pumped.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Power, who has started out the year getting involved in other people’s wrecks or blowing engines and is mired in 18th position in series points. “If you are a race driver, you love to race as much as you can. It will be physically tough, but I still think it’s cool to have two races.”

At Belle Isle, Power gives every team a winning chance.

“Honestly, there are 24 guys who can win each weekend in this series,” he said Monday. “I think it’s the most competitive championship we’ve ever had. It is phenomenal.”

Power’s chances at Indy this weekend — can he win the most prestigious race in the world for Penske, who also have Helio Castroneves and A.J. Allmendinger in the hunt?

“I definitely have a fast car, and sixth is a good starting position,” Power said. “I have every ingredient (at Penske) to win races and the 500 included. Anything can happen in the Indy 500 and probably will. There are a lot of good cars in the race, and you have to have some luck to win. I’m hoping our luck is ready to change for the better.” Detroit Free Press

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