Will Power could not have asked for a better start to his racing season. The IndyCar driver has earned the pole position in two of the first four races of the season and has won three consecutive times heading into the biggest race of the season — the Indy 500.
Power says he feels like the rest of the field is gunning for him, but he doesn’t mind seeing as he’s come up just short of a series title the past couple years. He’ll start fifth in Sunday’s race at the Brickyard. Teammate Ryan Briscoe is on the pole.
Will Power, Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball joined WJOX in Birmingham with The RoundTable to discuss the lengthy stretch spent gearing up for the Indy 500, what it’s like to manage a race team during that stretch, Power’s three straight victories, drivers gunning for him, how Indy is different than other race weeks and the tradition of drinking the milk after winning the 500.
Scott, what is Indy week like? It seems like you’re here for a whole month:
“It used to be. I’d say, actually with this week, it’s felt like a whole month, especially on the outside of the team. It used to be about three weeks, I think, with preparation and everything like that. Now it’s seven days or eight days. You start on last Saturday and practice all the way through to this Sunday. We get this whole week off track until Friday. … It’s definitely a lot of work when you’re in the car from noon everyday until 6 o’clock at night.”
What’s it like for a race team trying to manage a week like that without getting drained?:
“You see it all. You have good days and bad days. I think the crew guys definitely work so hard. I think to try and turn around from tests, we’ve been at the track every day this week. We’re changing engines; you’re changing cars. … We get to leave sort of 6 or 7 o’clock at night and they’re still there at 10 or 11.”
Will, you’ve won three races in a row. Is this the best stretch of your career to this point?:
“Yes, I’d have to say it’s probably one of the best starts to a season that I’ve had, to have three in a row. The last couple years I’ve been kind of knocking on the door of that. Very strong as far as the team goes, because Helio won the first race. That’s four in a row for us. We’ve taken all the pole positions. Ryan Briscoe got the pole for the 500, so we’re in great form and I think Chevy has done a great job with the engine. I think we’ve got the upper hand on that right now.”
How different is Indy week for you?:
“Yeah, it’s just the fact that you’re on the track every single day that’s so different to a normal race weekend. You have so much time to sort the car out. And this year they gave us more horsepower for qualifying so then you add in the different boost level to run for qualifying. It is draining, honestly. And it’s draining on not the drivers only … but the crews are just there until 11 at night sometimes and up at 5 in the morning and this is going to go on and on and on so you’ve just got to keep your head.”
Will does it feel like everyone is gunning for you at this point?:
“Yeah, these guys have been trying to play pranks on me and so on to try and unsettle me. … But I’ll take it. The last two years I’ve gone to the last race leading the championship and lost it, so man, I’ll take wins when I can get them and try to get a big enough lead this year and see if I can bloody win the thing.”
Charlie have you ever worked out in the heat and then drank milk just to see what it would be like?:
“I don’t know that you ever want to try and jinx that tradition by practicing for it. I’m sure that if you asked any driver they’d probably give up any win in their career, somewhere other than the Indianapolis 500, to win the 500, because it is so special and is such a crown jewel. People have asked what it’s like this month and the Indianapolis 500, for us, is the Stanley Cup, the World Series and the Super Bowl next Sunday, in 500 miles.”