Will Power might not be making many friends this season with his driving style, but he sees nothing wrong with it.
Power is driving to win at all costs, which has meant drawing the ire of fellow drivers, namely Simon Pagenaud.
Power got into Pagenaud last weekend in Detroit, resulting in Pagenaud knocking into the wall. A similar incident between Power and Pagenaud happened earlier this year in Long Beach.
“I have no idea what’s in his head and I don’t really care,” Pagenaud said. “I’m just focused on myself right now.”
Power, meanwhile, feels he’s going about his business the right way in an attempt to win his first championship. And it’s hard to argue with his results so far. He has two wins and is the pole-sitter in Saturday night’s Firestone 600.
“For me, this is how I like to race,” Power said. “Just trying to do a good job week in, week out. I’m just that focused on winning.”
Still the favorite?
The question seemed to catch Helio Castroneves off guard. He didn’t have a great qualifying run, and will start 14th, but don’t tell him he’s not the favorite.
Castroneves has won more IndyCar races at TMS than any other driver and feels good about his chances once again.
“Every time I go out there, I consider myself the favorite,” Castroneves said, smiling. “I am not thinking about them [the other drivers], I’m thinking about myself.”
Castroneves is the defending champion and has finished in the top-five nine of his 16 starts in Texas.
Eyeing win No. 1
Josef Newgarden is running in his 41st IndyCar race Saturday night. He has never visited Victory Lane.
But Newgarden feels he’s got as good of a chance as any to win at Texas. He didn’t have a great practice, but everything went well during his qualifying lap to push him into the No. 2 spot.
“Our car was great,” he said. “Those are some of the coolest days. You get in it, you don’t know what it handles so well, why it’s so fast, but sometimes that’s the case. We got a little bit of mojo on our side.”
Newgarden knows his team has been close to taking the checkered flag at some point and believes it’s only a matter of time before they do.
“We’re knocking on the door,” Newgarden said. “We’re on the cusp.”
Most drivers rely on previous experience at a certain track to get through the race, but rookie Mikhail Aleshin of Russia doesn’t have that luxury.
He got on TMS’ track for the first time Friday afternoon and was pleased to qualify 11th for Saturday night’s race.
As far as the track, Aleshin said: “I don’t have much experience with ovals, but it’s quite tricky, and it’s different from Indy because there’s more banking. The banking comes up on you very fast and you need to be prepared for that.”