Race Weekend Central

Will Power Set to Begin 2023 at Thermal Club Test

Defending IndyCar champion Will Power made one thing clear during his media availability during Wednesday’s series Content Day.

He’s not done yet.

The Team Penske driver, who turns 42 on March 1, put together one of his finest all-around seasons in 2022. Though he won just once, at Detroit in June, he was a consistent sight at or near the front of the field, with nine podiums and 12 top-five finishes in 17 events.

Always a strong qualifier, especially on road and street courses, Power broke Mario Andretti’s record for career poles when he notched his 68th start from first place in the final race of the season at Laguna Seca.

All of that is well and good, but Power has already put it in the rear-view mirror and moved on to 2023.

“It hasn’t really — honestly, I haven’t even thought about the championship,” Power said.

“I almost had to be reminded that I won the championship. Kind of just, I did it, and I know it’s just that I’m older now and moving on quickly and thinking about what’s next. Yeah, haven’t been on a high off-season or anything like that, I just kind of stayed even.”

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It was that kind of headspace that helped propel Power to his championship. He never got too high or low, focused on the race in front of him, and made the most of each race weekend. It’s also what helped him recover from a disastrous 2021 that saw him finish 13th or worse in eight races – half of the schedule – and plunge to ninth in the final points, the first season he’d finished out of the top five since 2009, when he was running a partial schedule for Team Penske.

Power said one thing that made a big difference in the season was how he was able to take a rough qualifying session and make it into a good race result. His win at Detroit came after starting 16th, at Mid-Ohio he started 21st but drove through the field and finished on the podium in third, and at Alabama he started 19th and came home in fourth.

Power has never lacked in confidence, and now with age and experience on top of that, he’s content with where he is as a driver, and no longer feels any pressure.

“The confidence, I just think the older you get, the more comfortable you are with the situation,” Power said.

“You just naturally gain confidence. You know your strengths, you know your weaknesses, you know how to extract the most out of yourself. That’s kind of what I’ve been doing.”

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Power said the important thing is to be able to read a situation and know how to react to it. While everything clicked for Power and his team, what worked for him last season may not be the winning formula in 2023.

He’s confident that he can put up the same results in 2023, but it may just be in a different fashion.

“Every season has its flow, it’s never the same,” he said.

“Sometimes you get a runaway guy and you have to win races rather than be consistent. It just depends how it rolls, and you’ve got to adjust accordingly.

“It’s just about extracting the most out of every situation. They’re always different and require a different approach. You’ve just got to get good at reading that.”

Power hasn’t been in his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet since the final race at Laguna Seca, and while he’s excited to be back in the car, he sees the two-day test at The Thermal Club as a great opportunity to go through a simulated race weekend before it all happens for real four weeks from now in St. Petersburg.

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