INDIANAPOLIS – Lets be honest here, if not for some bad luck or pressing too hard, Will Power would likely be at or very near the top of the Verizon IndyCar Series standings right now. Leaving the Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Power was coming off of two wins and a pole in dominating fashion. He was sitting on top of the points standings and looking like the clear favorite for this year’s championship. But, he’s had a ton of bad luck since.
At Belle Isle, Chevrolet had a huge disadvantage compared to their Honda counterparts and Power just had to salvage a points weekend. He came out of the doubleheader weekend with his points lead still intact as he finished seventh and second respectively in the two races. Unfortunately, his luck ran out since.
Power, hasn’t finished in the top five since his runner-up effort in Belle Isle 2. In fact, out of the last four races, three of which have seen him finish 18th or worse.
At Texas, Penske had tire problems and Power, while pressing at the end for his spots back, put himself in a bad spot and crashed with 44 laps-to-go. At Road America, his engine expired as the race went green. In Iowa, he just didn’t have the speed but came away with his best finish since June 3 in a sixth effort. Then, on Sunday in Toronto, he got caught up in a crash not of his doing and would finish 18th.
Throw in his crash at Barber when slipping on a puddling track surface, a crash at Phoenix while trying to pass a lapped car and an early race spin in St. Pete, and you’ll see that bad luck and pressing have cost Power. The speed and talent are there. He’s just in a rut.
What about his teammate Josef Newgarden?
He’s been great everywhere with the exception of street courses and superspeedways. On short ovals, the defending series champion led 30 of 250 laps back in April in Phoenix and won. At Iowa, he led 229 of 300 laps in a fourth place run. Albeit, he would have finished second at the very worst at Iowa if not for that late race blunder and how it all was handled. On natural road courses, he led 73 of 82 laps in his win at Barber and 53 of 55 laps in his victory in Road America. He also came home 11th at Indy.
Based on those races, you would think he’d be well on his way to a second straight title right?
Well, on superspeedways, he came home eighth at Indy and 13th at Texas. He didn’t accumulate the amount of points to close a gap to Scott Dixon. Then, on street courses, he’s finished seventh (St. Pete), seventh (Long Beach), ninth (Belle Isle 1), 15th (Belle Isle 2) and now ninth on Sunday in Toronto.
That’s seven races and all with finishes of seventh through 15th.
So, when looking at why Dixon holds such a big lead with five races remaining in the 2018 season, look at Power’s luck/pressing too hard problems and Newgarden’s lack of dominance on superspeedways and street courses.