This is it. No more “get out of jail free” cards. It’s put up or shut up time for Will Power as the 2010 IndyCar season moves to Kentucky Speedway this weekend. Our resident IndyCar correspondent, Matt Lennon, takes a look at the form guide heading into this weekend’s oval race…
Momentum is a funny thing. When you’ve got it you feel unstoppable. Dario Franchitti must feel that way right now. Coming off a brilliant strategic victory at Chicago last weekend, Team Target Chip Ganassi will know that Will Power and Team Penske are vulnerable and most importantly, beatable.
On the flipside, Team Penske will be checking and rechecking every detail with a fine tooth comb. There is no room for any more mistakes as another result similar to last weekend will see a new championship leader with only two races remaining. Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves should now be working to ensure the championship comes back to Charlotte, North Carolina instead of Minneapolis and the Ganassi factory.
Qualifying seems to be one thing that Will Power can do better than most. With 8 Peak Pole Performance awards to his name so far in 2010, Power knows how to lead from the front at the start of the race. However this is not a road circuit – this is a 1.5 mile oval. Racing wheel-to-wheel for 200 laps at roughly 215 mph doesn’t exactly give the pole-sitter much of an advantage. It requires consistently running at the front, challenging for the lead, keeping your nose clean, timing your pit stops while trying to anticipate when the full-course cautions will strike.
The 2009 race will be remembered for a duel between Ryan Briscoe and Ed Carpenter that kept everyone watching glued to their seats. Ryan Briscoe ended up winning that battle, but only just, nosing ahead by about 0.0077 of a second (pictured).
An admirable trait in Will Power is that he will never quit. Whether it was a spur of the moment call, or a reaction to the disappointment at the time, during an interview with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network following the disappointment of Chicago, Power promised to win in Kentucky. If for no other reason than to lift the oval circuit monkey off his back, Power has to show that he is competitive and prepared to defend his championship lead to the final corner of the final lap of the final race.
[Original images via AUTOSPORT]