INDIANAPOLIS – There are only four races remaining in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and as things sit at the moment, it appears that this year’s title is Scott Dixon’s to lose. Currently, Dixon leads Alexander Rossi by 46 points as the series heads into their second consecutive off weekend.
Really, as we sit here today, there are just five drivers that stand a chance for hoisting the Astor Cup trophy at Sonoma on Sept. 16. The points differential between Dixon and fifth place in the standings Ryan Hunter-Reay is 95 points. Everyone else is over 100 points out and even with double points at Sonoma, making up 100+ points on a driver like Dixon is going to one hard task.
But, one driver among the top five still feels like he’s got a shot at winning the championship. That driver is Will Power. He may be 87 points out heading into the final four races of the season, but the Aussie feels like if some luck goes his way, he can definitely be the one to pass Dixon.
Power, while still relishing his Indianapolis 500 win back in May, says that without his DNF’s then he’d likely be the one in the drivers seat for his second series championship. Instead, he has had some bad luck this year which has resulted in a roller coaster type of a season.
“It’s been very up and down,” said Power. “The highlight, absolutely, (was) winning the (Indy) 500. But as far as the championship goes, had great speed, great qualifying. Just had too many DNF’s basically. Still in the game. It can change very quick. I was 70 points out coming into the month of May. I left the month of May leading the championship. Very focused on having a good finish to the season.”
Power did make up a ton of ground on everyone in the Month of May as he won not just the Indianapolis 500 on May 27 but he also won the INDYCAR Grand Prix on May 13 too. In May alone, Power scored 162 points. He went from 10th in the standings heading into the month to first leaving it.
That’s why making up 87 points over four races is still doable. One of those races does pay double points. He needs to likely win that race in Sonoma and stats say he can. Power, finished third there last year but from 2010 through 2013, he had three wins and a second place finish. He’s led a ton of laps there and can easily be a threat for a victory.
At Portland, the race before Sonoma, that track is a new one on the schedule so it’s anyone’s guess who can win there. We do know Power has been quick everywhere we’ve gone, so don’t be surprised to see his No. 12 Chevrolet up front on the Labor Day weekend event.
Then, before Portland, is the second trip in as many years to Gateway. That’s a race that Power earned the pole at last year but was involved in an early race crash. Again, the speed will be there, obviously, but can he capitalize on that?
That leads up to next weekends race at Pocono. Power has won each of the last two years on the Tricky Triangle and has won four of the last five superspeedway races. He’s the overall favorite next Sunday.
So, the next two races on the season are on ovals. No one since the start of the 2013 season has as many wins on ovals than Power.
See the path to him winning the title now? It’s there for the taking.
The only key is going to be Dixon having some bad luck. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has nine top six finishes over his last 10 starts on the season. For the entire year (13 races), Dixon has 11 top six results. He’s called the “Iceman” for a reason. The odds of him having a bad race or two are slim. In the event he does though, Power needs to capitalize and not have a DNF himself.
“Obviously, (Josef) Newgarden and (Alexander) Rossi are very reachable,” Power said of his championship hopes. “But Dixon, we need him to have a bad run, simple as that. That’s how we’re going to catch him. He’s had a very good run all year, very smooth, very consistent. We just need him to have a bad day basically.”
It could happen and if so, Power can be the one there to pull a historic comeback.