Maybe as much as anyone in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Team Penske’s Will Power is eager to get the new season started. For the record, he still has a little more than two weeks to wait.
Power called the past month “the worst,” in part because he got a brief sampling of the car with its new Aeroscreen during the recent test at Circuit of The Americas and he liked it. He will test with Team Penske and other competitors March 3 at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway to simulate conditions at the season-opening race, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 13-15 on the city streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
Power won two of the final four races of last season, but he finished fifth in the point standings -- that was as high as he was all season after finishing third in the St. Petersburg race. The fifth-place finish tied for his lowest since joining Team Penske full-time for the 2010 season. That teammates Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud finished 1-2 in the standings added to his disappointment.
“I’m more motivated than ever,” Power said Wednesday during an event at Texas Motor Speedway to announce Genesys as the title sponsor of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on June 6. “I feel really good, (and) obviously I have a fantastic team behind me.
“So, I’ve just go to focus hard on the job – I’m not going to predict anything (and) I’ve got no goals set. It’s pretty clear what the goals are, so I’m just focusing on my job.”
The driver of the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet is particularly excited about racing at Texas Motor Speedway since it’s near his wife’s hometown. Power has won two races and three poles at the 1.5-mile oval track, leading 432 laps.
One difference for Power is that team owner Roger Penske won’t call his races this season. That duty now falls on the team’s managing director, Ron Ruzewski, whom Power said is already a natural voice in his ear since the two worked together on days leading up to races when Penske wasn’t on site.
“I’m very used to him,” Power said. “It should be an easy transition.”
Power expects Penske will be focused on leading the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and therefore likely won’t be in the team’s garage-area motorhome as regularly.
“I’m not sure where he’ll be,” Power said of Penske. “Usually it’s easy to have a chat with Roger, but I have a feeling that’s going to be a lot harder now that he has so much more involvement (in the series).
“Yeah, I might not be able to ask him for favors (as easily).”