He might have been kidding, he might not have.
Either way, Will Power got something quite unusual for the IndyCar racer last year — no attention.
“I love it. I hate attention,” he said.
He dropped off the radar last year because he, for him, “slumped” to a fourth-place finish in the IndyCar Series standings. He had been second three years in a row.
“No one paid attention. I could just do my thing,” he said. “Yup, I hope it continues. I don’t want people to talk about me. I like to be low-key. I don’t like to be in the limelight.
“I just like to do my job, enjoy it, race hard, and that’s it.”
Hard to tell if he’s kidding, but one thing is clear one race into the new season — he is drawing attention again. He won the season opener on Sunday at St. Petersburg. Added to the two-race winning streak to close last season, which made his year much better cosmetically, he’s won three races in a row.
“He’s going to be in the hunt for the championship no matter what, unless he has some crazy bad luck again,” 2012 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay said. “He’s been in the hunt just about every year unless luck gets in the way. ... Will definitely hasn’t skipped a beat. He’ll be a definite pain in the rear end this year.”
Power said he did some close self-examination during the stretch when wins dried up. He had won only once last year before the strong finish.
“It’s a good kick in the [behind] to have some bad runs,” he said. “Not actually lack of pace, but just to have some bad runs, be in the back of the field. You just reset, just realize that you can’t leave anything on the table. You just can’t.”
For Power, the reset means clearing the mind — getting away from the trappings of success and the chasing of a championship. It means a simple focus.
“I’ve just got to keep reminding myself, it doesn’t matter if you lose,” he said. “You just got to keep reminding yourself that it’s a race, and you race hard to win a race. ... I just want to race, race hard, and I want to win. That’s the only way to think of it — not think of points. I want to win a championship, but I like winning races. Hopefully the two come together and it happens.”
Jimmie Johnson will race at Texas Motor Speedway with a heavy heart. His brother-in-law died in a skydiving accident on Sunday. Jordan Janway, 27, the brother of Johnson’s wife, Chandra, was a skydiving instructor in San Diego. Investigators believe he was knocked unconscious in a collision with another jumper and was unable to deploy his parachute.
Winner, winner: The six different winners in six races to start the season is a Chase era record. The last non-Chase season, 2003, started with seven different winners. The record is 10 different winners to start a season, in 2000. That 2003 season had 16 winners after 26 races. The 2000 season had 13.
Dale DVD: Reflecting the popularity of Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR is selling a DVD of his Daytona 500 win this year. It’s on NASCAR’s website.
Points leaders: Trevor Bayne and Regan Smith come to TMS tied as the points leaders. For Bayne, it’s the first time he’s held or shared the top points spot.
Women winners: NHRA produced two female winners at Las Vegas, Alexis DeJoria in Funny Car and Erica Enders-Stevens in Pro Stock. It was the second time for that to happen in NHRA. Enders-Stevens and Courtney Force did it in 2012 in Seattle.
18 Victories for Roush Fenway Racing across the Cup, Nationwide and Truck series at Texas Motor Series, most of any organization.
“The solution for Kurt Busch is to get him to Victory Lane so he won’t complain.” — Team owner Gene Haas, joking after his driver’s victory at Martinsville