The reigning verizon indycar series champ,
Team Penske’s Will Power, laughed derisively
at the theory put forward by many – that
now he’s finally broken into the ranks of
indycar title winners, the dam has been
breached and a flood of glory will follow.
“To me that makes no sense,” he said
pre-season. “you look at mine or Helio’s
[castroneves] championship near misses;
it can tip either way so easily. scott dixon
as well – how many years has that guy
finished top three in the championship?
[The last eight.] right! and he was first in
only two of those. That’s how tough it is;
that’s why you have to attack all the time.
“Think of the drivers who can beat you
if you have just one more bad race than
them, and you’re outnumbered. so the
Last year’s indy 500 distilled down to a
shootout for the ages, with three-time
winner Helio castroneves desperately
trying to repulse the irrepressible ryan
Hunter-reay. The 2012 verizon indycar
series champ had suffered some horrible
times at indianapolis Motor speedway, so
it was inevitable that he’d feel emotion in
the ultimate showdown of his career.
“My heart was coming out of my chest
knowing the biggest race in the world was
on the line,” Hunter-reay confessed to
david Letterman on The Late Show a few
days later, as he described his final pass
for the lead at Turn 1 on the final lap.
ATTACk TO defend
BACk-TO-BACk AT THe BRICKYARd?
as reigning indycar champion, Will Power
expects it to get harder, not easier, in 2015.
There’s no logical reason why ryan Hunter-reay can’t repeat
odds can’t ever really be in your favor…”
Power’s math skills were spot on, but at
least he drives for roger Penske, whose
aces finished 1-2-4 in the points standings
in 2014, and who now has a fourth car
in the lineup for simon Pagenaud.
“yeah, there’s no place i’d rather be,”
Power agreed. “as a team we’ve become
good at maximizing opportunities, and a
fourth source of data will help now we’ve
got a lot to relearn with these aero kits. But
i don’t believe that because we got the title
last year, we have a better chance of
winning in 2015. We’ll have to work just as
hard, if not harder, to repeat. But we’re all
ready to do that. Keep on attacking.”
• For Will Power’s guide to making passing
maneuvers, turn to page 56.
When IndyCar drivers refer to the
series’ depth of competition, they’re
not just blowing smoke. The proof
is in the stats. In 2014, there were
11 winners from 18 races, and no
driver won more than three times.
Expect more of the same in 2015
as there are obvious additions to the
ranks of potential winners. Sebastien
Bourdais (BELOW) has proven KVSH
Racing is capable of victory, but in
pre-season tests, rookie teammate
Stefano Coletti showed he could
match Seabass. And newly combined
Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing
could include three winners from its
two cars. Co-owner Ed Carpenter
(ABOVE) is an ace on ovals, his new
road course ringer Luca Filippi can
be blindingly fast, and in the other
entry, America’s Josef Newgarden
is clearly ready to start winning.
will The CrAzy s TATs
ge T CrAzier in 2015?
No more looking back at
what might have been
or what eventually
came to be. Power’s
focus is entirely forward.
RHR is the epitome
of a driver who puts
it all on the line, and
that makes him ideal
for Indy shootouts…
But a driver who was able to contain
those emotions enough to hold on and win
is capable of doing so again. should he do
that in 2015, Hunter-reay will become
america’s first back-to-back indy 500
winner since al Unser in 1970-’71.
no one starts an indy 500 as favorite,
especially not now the indycar series cars
are so evenly matched. equally, though,
no one will be surprised if Hunter-reay’s
second sterling silver portrait appears on
the Borg-Warner Trophy right alongside
the last one. He’s that good.
• Read Ryan Hunter-Reay’s reflections
on his amazing 2014 win on page 20.