2015 INDYCAR Driver Review - Will Power

November 18, 2015

Since joining Team Penske in 2009 and driving the Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet Indy car, Will Power has been one of the fastest drivers – if not the fastest – in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 2014, he broke through to win his first series championship after several close finishes in the standings. The 2015 season brought on the difficult task of trying to repeat as champion, something that has only been done twice in the last 14 seasons. 

Power made a solid run at another Astor Cup trophy, but ultimately fell short of the goal. He finished third in the standings behind teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya, and champion Scott Dixon. Power finished the year with one win, seven top-five finishes and a series-leading six Verizon P1 Pole Awards.  

The season-opening race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., provided Power an opportunity to get off to a great start. Power had made the picturesque layout his own personal playground over the years with two wins and four Verizon P1 Pole Awards. Another pole position for the 2015 race gave way to a second-place finish behind Montoya, and got the Australian off to a solid start. 

A 20th-place result in the Grand Prix of Long Beach proved to be the only finish for Power outside of the top 10 throughout the first seven races. Included in that stretch was a landmark win at Indianapolis in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indy and a thrilling duel with Montoya in the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500, where he would ultimately finish in the second position by just .105 of a second behind his teammate. Following a fourth-place finish in the first race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Power found himself in the second position in the standings behind Montoya. 

Unfortunately for Power, he hit a rough stretch over the next seven races as he was only able to muster one top-10 finish during that stretch. Most of these results were out of his control as he either experienced a poorly-timed caution flag or he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. An average finish of 14.2 during this time dropped Power to the fifth position in the standings. He rebounded in the penultimate race of the season at Pocono Raceway with a fourth-place finish, setting himself and the No. 1 Verizon Chevy team up to have a shot at the title in the season-finale at Sonoma Raceway. 

Sonoma is another track where Power has enjoyed tremendous success since becoming a member of Team Penske, with three victories to his credit since 2010. He needed to score the maximum 104 points, with Montoya finishing outside the top 10, Graham Rahal finishing third or lower and Dixon finishing second or lower in order to successfully defend his series crown. Power put his Verizon Chevrolet on the pole position – his fifth at Sonoma in the last six years – and early on in the race he was doing his part to try and secure the title, leading 26 of the first 34 laps.

On lap 38, while racing to get back to the front of the field following a pit stop, Power and Montoya made contact with one another. The damage was severe enough that both drivers had to come down pit road for repairs, effectively ending the championship hopes for both of them. It was a tough ending to another winning season for Power, one in which he extended his streak of winning at least one race to nine consecutive years. 

Power will return to the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet after one year in the No. 1 championship car designation. He plans to make a return appearance in the No. 1 as soon as possible. 

“Sonoma was one of the worst feelings I’ve had as a racecar driver,” said Power. “You never want that to happen, especially with a championship on the line. We have to put it behind us, though, and not let it linger into 2016. It was a good year for the Verizon Chevy team. We had a difficult stretch during the middle of the season – a lot of bad luck – but we still went into Sonoma with a shot at the title. I’m ready to get next year started because I really feel that we will be the team to beat.”