DETROIT (AP) — Will Power can still revisit in his mind the last few seconds of the Indianapolis 500. Teammate Juan Pablo Montoya was within sight, but not within reach.
“Obviously, seeing him there in front of you on the last lap … I just didn’t have the balance in the car. But you can always talk about, ‘What if?’ Maybe we would have crashed together, who knows?” Power said. “It just happened the way it was meant to happen.”
Power settled for a second-place finish at Indy, and now it’s time for the defending series champion to turn his attention to an entirely different kind of race. Power was in Detroit for a luncheon Thursday to help promote this weekend’s IndyCar doubleheader. The races Saturday and Sunday, on a street circuit on Belle Isle, play to Power’s strengths, but the Indy 500 showing was also a confidence booster for a driver whose performance on ovals has often been questioned.
“It was definitely a great day, a great day for the team,” he said.
Penske teammates Montoya and Power not only finished 1-2 at Indy, they’re also first and second in the standings. Sunday’s race will be Power’s 100th start for Team Penske. Montoya was also at Thursday’s event — he said he got in around 1 a.m. and was looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep.
At least he sounded normal when he talked.
“I lost my voice from screaming in the car,” he said. “My voice is actually coming back, so I’m doing really good.”
Montoya twice rallied from the back of the field and then held off Power at the end for his second Indy 500 victory, 15 years after his first. It was a triumphant moment for Montoya and an entertaining finish for a series that will take the positive buzz.
“We showed what IndyCar is all about,” Montoya said. “It’s about speed, performance, being competitive and bringing the best, bringing the ‘A’ game. I think if we can translate that to people that watch every week, I think IndyCar is just going to take off.”
As the hoopla from Indy dies down, the race for the championship becomes a bigger focus and two races on the schedule this weekend at Belle Isle present an opportunity.
“It’s always important when you have double races, double points. You want to make sure that you maximize in those areas,” said Helio Castroneves, who is in fourth place, giving Penske three of the top four spots. “We’re going for it. We can’t play around and be conservative.”
Castroneves won the second race at Belle Isle last year. Power won the first race and was the runner-up a day later, leaving little doubt about his comfort level at this venue.
“Indy, it’s fine increments of steering. It’s such a high speed, smooth, super fast,” Power said. “Here, it’s very physical, and you can make a difference with the car. At Indy, if the car’s not working for you, you can’t do much about it.”
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