Power Riding High After His Indianapolis 500 Victory

Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power. [Joe Jennings Photo]

By Joe Jennings

INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power is enjoying the thrill of victory more than ever before. While he has won 33 times on the Verizon IndyCar Series circuit, none compares with that of winning the Indianapolis 500 – the race he wondered if he would ever win.

Less than 24 hours after taking the checkered flag in the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500, Power returned to the track for the winner’s photoshoot and to continue an ambitious round of interviews.

While all smiles, Power said he hardly slept at all as his adrenaline rush continued unabated. He had joined his team late Sunday evening for a victory party but since he doesn’t drink, there was no hangover, just a spillover from his big day on Sunday.

“This was the perfect day. No mistakes were made on pit lane. I just thought about what it took to win this race,” Power said. “Finally, I won this race, and it took a lot of weight off my shoulders.”

Power is not known as an accomplished oval track driver, but he has won seven of them with four being 500-mile races. “I knew I had won three previously but this is the one I couldn’t get done.”

While Sunday’s race was the second hottest ever, the heat didn’t bother Power. “I wasn’t really that hot as I had some fast air coming in,” he commented. “The heat did make it more difficult to drive as the track got very slippery, which took a lot of grip and downforce out of the car. It was hard to follow and you really had to drive. You were rarely wide open; I might have done one lap wide open.”

Power is highly respected by his peers, and one of the highlights of his post-race activities was when (Alexander) Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal and Oriol Servia came out on the track during the victory ride to greet the winner. “That meant a lot to me when they came out to congratulate me – all guys I respect massively. Dario (Franchitti) congratulated me, too. There were so many that were happy to see me win. I just saw Ed Carpenter, too. I had a great battle with him, and I knew he was the guy I had to beat.”

Power and his 32 foes will receive their rewards at tonight’s victory celebration and Power hopes he can sleep much better after that. “I slept very well the whole month and slept even better the night before, but last night I didn’t replay the race in my head, just the whole celebration and the parade lap. My adrenaline wouldn’t go down. It was a pretty good roller-coaster ride.”

The newest winner of the Indianapolis 500 will have many obligations going forward, but knowing he finally won the most important race in the world should allow him to sleep peacefully, at last.

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