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POWER HALFWAY TO A PERFECT MAY
Halfway through May, Will Power is pitching a perfect May.
Not only did the Team Penske driver champion the Month of May primer known as IndyCar Grand Prix last weekend, but he did so after winning the pole, setting a track qualifying record and producing the fastest practice sessions.
“It's funny how that happens,” Power said of his impeccable weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “You don't even think about it. You don't even remember that you were quickest in every session. Just happens to be. I think I remember thinking after warmup (Saturday), ”˜Wow, I've actually been quickest in every session. Yeah, it would be amazing to win the race.’”
And then he did. After that, he began to wonder: What if I could keep this going? What if I could do the unthinkable and finish off a perfect May? Sit on the pole and cap the month with the first Indianapolis 500 victory of my career?
“To go on and be quickest in every session during the month, now that would be something,” Power said Saturday. “That's impossible. You'd have to have something special there. But to be quickest in qualifying and win the 500 would be something. That would be great. We're definitely focusing on that.”
Off the track, Power is among the most even-keeled drivers in the series. So for him to candidly dream about a perfect month with the media ”” well that might be even rarer than his weekend sweep. But it also sheds some light on how confident he’s feeling.
Power nabbed the pole at Alabama and led two-thirds of the race before a flat tire ripped victory out of his hands. Then he started second at Phoenix and led 59 laps before an untimely caution put him behind eventual race winner Simon Pagenaud.
Then he came to Indianapolis and dominated from the start of the weekend to its end.
“It's a good track for me,” Power said. “I mean, I think every track is now. I mean, I feel like I can win on every track, every track. I can't say that I go to a race ever thinking that I can't win, ever.”
Then he switched gears to let everyone know the 500 is on top of his mind.
“Doesn't matter, oval, road course. My oval results over the last year and into this year have been better than my road course almost. I mean, just been top twos and threes and wins. So I mean, I feel like everywhere I go, I have a shot.”
He's talked this way before. Back in 2015, after Power won the Grand Prix pole and then the race itself, he said “it was very possible” he could pull off the May sweep.
And he was right. It was possible, because he nearly did. At the Indianapolis 500 that year, he came up 0.31 mph short of Scott Dixon for the pole and 0.1 seconds behind Juan Pablo Montoya for the win.
It will take a superhuman effort for Power to pull off the feat this year. Over the next two weeks, and during the race, there are a million ways for his bid for perfection to go awry.
But imagine for a second nothing goes wrong.
Imagine instead that Power pulls off the impossible.
The feat would be considered among the greatest in the history of open-wheel racing and the 500.