Indy Racing League Media Conference
Topics: Indy Racing League
August 19, 2013
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to today's IndyCar conference call, we are pleased to be joined by IZOD IndyCar Series driver Will Power of Team Penske. Will, welcome to the call.
WILL POWER: Yeah, thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Will thrives the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet for Team Penske and enters this weekend's race Sonoma raceway coming off a fourth‑place finish at Mid‑Ohio earlier this month. Will is the only IndyCar driver to win multiple times at Sonoma raceway and has won the last three pole positions at the track.
Will, with your past record at Sonoma, you have to be looking forward to getting back in your car for this weekends's GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.
WILL POWER: Yeah, definitely. Especially the year we've had, I can't wait to get back there. It's a track I've had a lot of success on. Although the competition has definitely heated up this year, we still expect to be running right at the front.
THE MODERATOR: There have been nine different winners in the 14 races so far. Would you say that the race at Sonoma or Baltimore where you've won before, as well, are your best opportunities to at least challenge for wins?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I think the next‑‑ yeah, the next two, for sure, are good tracks for me. Always quick there. Then you've got Houston, as well, and even Fontana, obviously that's‑‑ haven't won on an oval for a long time.
Yeah, Sonoma is definitely a good chance for us. But you know, as you said, there's been nine different winners this year, so it's really hard to predict how fast you're going to be, and you know, who is going to be in the front and who you're going to be challenging.
THE MODERATOR: This year, is a little bit of a role reversal; the last three years you've been right in the mix for the championship, and this year it's your teammate, Helio, who is leading the championship. Does that change the way you approach the last four races of the season, or do you just think about what the 12 car can do and score as many points as you can?
WILL POWER: Well, for the 12 car, we have just got to try and win each race and put ourselves in a really good position. If I'm in a position to help Helio out, of course, it's all about team; I'd love to see Roger win a championship, and Helio. I would most definitely help him out.
THE MODERATOR: And finally, I know you were in Detroit over the weekend for the Woodward Dream Cruise, what was that experience like? I guess you got to do, as they say in Australia, some lapping.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I was accustomed to lapping growing up in Toowoomba, that was a big deal, get your car‑‑ well, basically spend money on a car, it's probably not worth much, and go lapping.
There was some pretty impressive cars there, and a lot of people. I was surprised how big that Woodward Cruise is, it's amazing.
So, yeah, spent a little bit of time there and got to see some nice cars, and yeah, I was pretty impressed.
Q. Just wondering, your last win came in São Paulo last year, even after that, Penske has had three wins since then. What is happening with the car this year, especially with you, that you're just not being able to get the wins that you normally should get, especially on the road and street courses.
WILL POWER: Well, it's probably a number of things. One is the competition is definitely tougher, for sure. You know, there are some things that were homologated at the end of last year, which gave us a little bit of an advantage and go ‑‑ every other team, Chevy team.
You know, the car itself, you're really boxed into a corner as far as setup. There's not much adjustment on this car that you can do, because of the way it was designed with this horribly rearward weight distribution; so you're stuck, and you can't set it up to suit yourself. You have to drive it as it is. You know, I think that that itself closes the field up.
You know, and then a few other reasons. Just had some bad incidents happen such as getting run over on a yellow, getting hit in the pits, engine failure at Brazil. Yeah, and then a few other things to go along with it.
Q. You look at Ganassi, they seem to have sort of found something in the second half, especially Scott, who is a little more aggressive than Dario. When you look at Penske, you're more aggressive than Helio. Is there something you think that you can find that will allow you to be more aggressive, and that your driving style will kind of come to the car, or get to the car to come to your driving style?
WILL POWER: Well, actually, we did, we found something for sure at the last test at Sebring, which very much suited me. So we did get to work there, so I just wonder if it's going to be possible on these lower‑grip circuits like Sonoma and Baltimore.
But, yes, we are always aware. We saw how dominant Ganassi was at Toronto and they were able to get their car to work very well there. I also think Honda has made a bit of a gain, definitely, but then Chevy has also made a gain recently, too. So it's‑‑ yeah, I think it's obviously changing, but I'm hoping that at Sonoma, we get our pace.
Q. Do you feel that if you've been more aggressive, you're penalized more in this car, if you sort of look at Dixon and Franchitti, as well?
WILL POWER: Yeah, aggressive, what do you mean, the driving style aggressive?
Q. Like to turn in a little harder, you like to attack the corners a little more than Helio does, and Scott the same way.
WILL POWER: Yeah, that's actually true. I do drive‑‑ I have a very similar style to Dixon, where, you know, Dario and Helio, for sure, like a more stable rear end and a bit of understeer.
It's kind of weird, this car. Yeah, I think you can get it to work for you, but yeah, Toronto in particular, the car has just a lot of understeer, and I'm not sure if that's the car or the tire. The tire might change a bit, too.
Q. Two parts. At Mid‑Ohio how surprised, or was it surprising at all, to see some of the guys that jumped ahead of youon the three‑stop strategy to be able to push? And secondly, since I know this race you kind of got caught up by strategy in the yellow here last year, do you think you'll be able to do a flat‑out run, or have to save it at certain points again?
WILL POWER: Actually I think it's a pretty clear two‑stopper at Sonoma, so it will be a flat‑out run. Whereas Mid‑Ohio, you could make it in two by saving a lot of fuel and going slow, so that's why you saw what happened, happen.
You know, we kind of‑‑ at Mid‑Ohio, I just had to do what Hunter‑Reay did, because it was very difficult to pass there. So if he ran hard and did three stops, we were going to do that; and if he saved fuel and went to two, we were going to do that.
And I think once you had done that first stop, you were kind of boxed in. You had to do it in two, otherwise you're going to lose a lot more, like Dixon did.
Q. And also, this is a race that has not had a lot of cautions in the past. I think there was only one or two the last couple years. Kind you how do you play into that knowing that there's unlikely to be a lot of interrupted periods?
WILL POWER: That is the best possible scenario, if there is no yellows, because it means you don't have to plan for anything. Two‑on‑two, just a real race there; there's no manipulation by a yellow. That's been the case on quite a few of the road courses in the last couple years for IndyCar, they have been very green races.
Basically, it just shows that the level, the standard of driving, has done really‑‑ has gone up a lot. People don't make mistakes anymore.
Q. Over the weekend, and really the last week or so, we've had a lot of talk about a road course race at Indy and it looks more and more likely. How do you feel about that, particularly if it were in May?
WILL POWER: Yeah, if it brings more people, I think it's a good idea. Provided it doesn't take away from the main race, which I don't think it will.
But I think the key is to get more people out on those‑‑ obviously you don't really have a bump day any more and qualifying days to get more people out. During the months or during the two weeks we are there, yeah, that would be interesting. Be cool.
Q. Any thoughts, would you have encouragement for Montoya if he would like to look back at IndyCars again?
WILL POWER: Yeah, absolutely. He was obviously a very, very good driver when he came into IndyCar, or CART, as it was.
Yeah, I love it when high‑profile drivers come into the series. It's very good for IndyCar and it's cool to compete against those type of guys.
Q. I take it you don't see him much?
WILL POWER: No, I don't.
Q. Penske, there's been quite a bit of winning on over there recently like with Brad, and of course Helio leading the points and Joey just winning, also. Can you talk a little about, I know you have a central location there with the huge shop there, basically. But can you talk about how that feeds over to your side at all?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I didn't get‑‑ you said there's a lot of what going on?
Q. A lot of winning.
WILL POWER: Oh, winning. Winning, okay.
Yeah, the IndyCar shop, it's all under one roof. Yeah, I think they do cross a little bit of information back and forth. It's always good for the whole team, you know, the whole shop, you could say, organization, when ‑‑ because even one portion of it is having success, I think it makes everyone feel better like it should.
Yeah, I don't know what else to say, but yeah, it's good. Winning is good. That's what we're there for.
Q. And along the way, kind of a corollary to that, as far as when you came up, were there certain people you got advice from or where you watched somebody that really helped you along the way that made a difference for you coming up?
WILL POWER: During my career?
WILL POWER: Well, yeah. I mean, there's ‑‑ Mark Webber was definitely pivotal in me being able to continue my career there in Europe, which led to racing over here in the U.S., and a lot of other people, as well.
The first guy I drove for was Derrick Walker, and he was definitely, you know, a great team to drive for and a good guy to give you the right direction when you're driving for him.
Q. And as far as a young person, what would be your best advice to a young person to be successful in anything? You're a successful guy; could you share a little with any young person out there?
WILL POWER: Well, I think to be successful in anything, even outside of motorsport, it's just hard work, study and really understanding the craft. I think you do have to have some natural ability to begin with, but then after that, it just really does come down to hard work, learning it, and doing as much as possible and finding a way, if you really love it. That's how I kind of got to this point.
Q. Inaudible ‑‑ this weekend's race at Sonoma a chance ‑‑ for yourself and your Penske teammates.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I couldn't quite get you. You're kind of breaking up a little bit there. I think you said that, basically, I've had a bad start to the year and can I turn it around here, is that the gist of the question?
WILL POWER: Yeah, this track, I've had success here before. Obviously the series is very tight right now, but very motivated and determined to have another good weekend, because I thought we had a good weekend at Mid‑Ohio. It would be really nice to get a win before the end of the year.
But yeah, as far as Helio goes, he's in a very good spot to win the championship, and as a team, we'll be doing everything possible to make that happen.
Q. Who would you say you lean on for emotional support or all‑around support during good times and bad times?
WILL POWER: Who do I lean on for emotional support? My wife.
Q. And on the track, do you rely on your teammates and crew members‑‑ to give you that pep talk, like Will ‑‑
WILL POWER: What?
Q. When you're at the racetrack, besides your wife, like who else supports you and gives that you little motivation to get things done when you're struggling or having good times.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, really, anyone else‑‑ I mean, you don't ‑‑ basically, yourself ‑‑ to yourself, I think if you're needing that support, you're not going to last very long in this business. But I think that's motivation, and when you're having tough times, it's really up to your own self to turn that around, because if you can't do it yourself, you shouldn't be there.
THE MODERATOR: Seeing as we have no further questions for Will, we will thank him for his time today and wish him the best of luck this weekend at Sonoma.
WILL POWER: Thank you.
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|