INDIANAPOLIS – Forgive those who overlook Will Power as a favorite to win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/ABC/INDYCAR Radio Network) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For some reason he’s never been known as an oval driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Rightfully so though, as 27 out of Power’s 33 career INDYCAR victories have come on road/street courses. He’s arguably one of the best drivers ever on those circuits. AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti and Al Unser Sr. have 29 combined road course wins. Michael Andretti has 28. Scott Dixon has 22. Those are the top five drivers on the all-time INDYCAR wins list.
So, it’s pretty clear where Power ranks on road/street courses.
But, don’t discredit to new found oval prowess either. While 19 of his first 20 INDYCAR wins came on road/street courses, three of his last five have been on ovals. Furthermore, he’s won the last two superspeedway INDYCAR races and three out of the last four. Also, since 2013, the series has hosted 30 races on ovals, Power is tied with Ryan Hunter-Reay for the most wins with five. The next best is two.
“It’s definitely the one superspeedway that I need to check, the most important one at that,” Power told me after qualifying on the front row for Sunday’s race. “Our car has been positive all month.”
He went as far as to say that his biggest gain in success on ovals now is “just experience.” He said that not only does he love ovals now, that he would actually like to race ovals every week because he knows them so well. .”
That’s why Power is extra dangerous to overlook for this weekend’s race in Indianapolis. He won the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the road course two weeks ago. That was his third victory on the 2.439-mile road course here in Indy. If he can win the ‘500 on Sunday, he’d not only be the first driver to win both races, but he’d win his fourth INDYCAR race at IMS, albeit three of which were away from the oval. Still, we can’t overlook him.