Newly crowned two-time IndyCar champion Will Power says he couldn’t conjure an outpouring of emotion due to the mental weight of his title chase.
The Australian finished third in the season-finale at Laguna Seca, doing enough to beat Team Penske stablemate Josef Newagarden to the win.
There were muted celebrations post-race, a stark contrast to his first IndyCar Series win and his sole Indianapolis 500 triumph where he screamed “show me respect” over the radio.
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There were low-key celebrations a day prior to his title triumph too when he claimed his 68th pole position, eclipsing Mario Andretti for the all-time record.
“What a great weekend all around,” said Power.
“I couldn’t really enjoy the pole yesterday because I was so focused on the race.
“A lot of stress. A lot of stress this weekend. I was pretty calm all year. Once I got in the car and we started rolling, it was fine.
“A bit sketchy in the middle of the race. I was digging deep, just I’ve got to give everything I can.
“Yeah, it was interesting. Some sets of tyres were really good, and some were not quite so good. A bit of a difference there.
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“But yep, mentally drained. I couldn’t show the sort of emotion that I showed when I won the 500.
“But it’s been like a long journey over the year. I think it’s pretty fitting that we just did another solid day, just a sort of long-game day like today. That’s just been the story of our year.”
All year, Power has been the class of the field in qualifying. On five occasions he started on pole position.
However, the 41-year-old has been more than content to settle for podiums and play the long game on his way to the title.
Including his three wins, Power stood on the podium on nine occasions.
Indeed, the final race of the season was another day where he had to settle for a finish lower than his starting spot.
Although, it wasn’t without a few nerves as he watched title adversary Newgarden blow by and quickly fall into the clutches of Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean.
“Josef and I were on the same tyres and he pulled a 12-second gap which just blew my mind,” Power explained.
“Then the next set of tyres, suddenly I was actually quicker than him. It was a bit confusing to me because I just figured he was on reds but he wasn’t. Yeah, the car came alive in the last stint and no problem.
“I was watching on my dash. I got it on my dash so I could tell how fast someone is, and once that sort of stabilised with Grosjean, I thought, ‘okay, I’m looking not bad here’.
“And the fact that they said that Palou is 20 seconds up the road, I was like, ‘well, if something doesn’t happen to him, you still have to try and maintain our position if it goes yellow or there’s a restart or any of that’ because it just can mix it all up.
“I have to say, I dug deep all year, fought hard all year, and that was the case today again.”
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