MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Will Power won his second NTT IndyCar Series championship by playing it low key.
Instead of pushing to the limit and risking a good finish in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet in the process, Power accumulated nine podiums, including one victory, in 17 races to maintain steady control of the championship.
If he had a fourth-place car, Power might push it to get up to third, but he didn’t risk it to try and win a race thehe likely couldn’t, potentially getting involved in an overly aggressive mistake.
“If there are five or six people going for a championship, generally the driver with the most consistency will pay off,” Power told SPEED SPORT.
Playing it low key worked well for Power as he added the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series Championship to his first title in 2014. At 41, Power also learned how to celebrate the championship in a “low key” manner. He took his wife, Liz, and young son Beau, back to Australia to visit his family for the first time in three years.
“It was nice to catch up with my parents and brothers,” Power said. “It was great. It’s always great to see your family with COVID and all that, it made it very difficult to travel. It was good. I was very low key. I hooked up with quite a few old friends and cousins. Supercar driver Will Davison, I’m good friends with and had lunch with him. I visited with a lot of people.”
Power played a vital role in helping team owner Roger Penske achieve an historic double championship in 2022. It’s the first time in history the same team owner won both the NTT IndyCar Series title and the NASCAR Cup Series championship in the same season.
Power’s IndyCar championship was Team Penske’s 42nd championship. Joey Logano’s NASCAR Cup Series title was the 43rd title for Team Penske.
“It’s really an amazing year for the team,” Power said. “It was an amazing achievement because we came off such a terrible year in 2021. It’s obviously pretty special to be part of that history, the first time Roger has won both championships.
“It makes my championship even better. What a year for Roger.”
The two championships are determined by two completely different points systems. The IndyCar champion is determined by the driver who accumulates the most points during the 17-race campaign.
“If you are a true sports fan and want to see the best guy of the season win and you are able to play the consistency game if you want,” Power explained. “I love IndyCar the way the points structure is.
“The only thing I dislike about it is the double points. It’s the worst place to do it as well because Indianapolis has an extra 10 drivers in the field so if you have a DNF with double points, that’s a big hit. People are filling those gaps and taking points away from you that aren’t even in the championship. That’s the only thing I dislike about the IndyCar points system.”
The NASCAR Cup Series has a 26-race regular season that sets a field of 16 drivers in a 10-race playoff that has three elimination rounds, culminating with a Championship Race. The highest finishing driver out of the remaining four drivers wins the championship.
Since that format was introduced, the champion has won the finale every year.
“I think as a spectator, I love the way NASCAR does it,” Power said. “It’s very exciting. I think they have done a great job to really make the finale something pretty special and very interesting to watch. You never know until the last lap who has won the championship. It certainly makes those cutoff races really important as well. You get paid off with wins. I like that structure. It works well with the size of the field they have and how competitive it is.
“They are both very different series, but both are very competitive, and both come down to the wire for the championship.”
Team owner Roger Penske has 17 Indy car championships and 18 Indianapolis 500 victories. Both are records and Power has played his role with two of those IndyCar titles and a victory in the 2018 Indianapolis 500. Power enters this season with 41 career victories, is the record holder for most poles in an IndyCar career with 68, has two IndyCar championships and an Indy 500 triumph.
What is ahead for Will Power?
“I’m doing what I’m paid to do,” Power said. “That is to win races, win championships, win Indy 500s and get pole positions. That’s what I’m paid, and I try to do that every time to the best of my ability. That’s my plan.”
With such an impressive résumé, it gives Power the confidence to achieve even more, and it takes the pressure off.
“I think I have the right amount of intensity now and I have the right amount to execute at the highest level without going over the top,” Power said. “Having those achievements takes the big pressure off, but mentally I’m so much further ahead than I ever was.”
Power keeps himself physically sharp by competing in karting, including national meets at such venues as Go Pro Motorplex in Mooresville, N.C., and at Las Vegas. He competes in the Masters Class, but also has a chance to meet many aspiring karters. Power is always willing to help when they ask for advice.
“I get to talk to a lot of young kids, which is great,” Power said. “I like to help kids. I’ve been through the whole process of trying to make it in motorsports and I can give them information of how to go about it. I love karting because it’s grass-roots racing. It’s a really good place to start.”
Power is far from finished, however.
He enters 2023 with a renewed confidence, having won a second championship and he has more goals he wants to achieve.