“Yesterday’s news,” the Brazilian said, while admitting he needs a bit of luck on his side to grab that elusive championship.
“I have to line right with God, to be honest, and with the Pope, too. I’ve just got to push it. I’ve just got to keep pushing. You can’t wait for something to happen. You have to continue giving yourself an opportunity. Well, it may be this year.”
Power, runner-up for the series title in three consecutive years, was shut out of the championship race last season. He closed the season with consecutive victories to grab some of the momentum he seemed to be missing all year.
But Power won’t throw away 2013. The Australian looks at last season as a period of personal growth.
“I have to say I was a lot more relaxed in racing situations,” Power said. “I had spent three years being very conservative, feeling the points. Actually it taught me you just need to race hard no matter what. At the end of the year, it was fun. You can just race hard, it does not matter. In fact, the results came a lot better when I did that.”
They all expect to be challenged by Sebastien Bourdais, a four-time Champ Car champion who did not have equipment capable of matching his talent level in the last two seasons with Dragon Racing. Now with KVSH Racing as Kanaan’s replacement, the Frenchman is eager to show he hasn’t lost his speed.
“I do feel like there is a lot of potential, unexplored potential at KV,” Bourdais said. “They know what they’re shooting for and why they work so hard. It’s great. I haven’t felt that way in a long time. I feel like there’s something pretty awesome to do and am really pumped about it.”
Fellow countryman Simon Pagenaud is also seeking his first championship - a goal he had last year, when he scored two breakthrough victories but finished third in the championship standings. Now teamed at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with newcomer Mikhail Aleshin of Russia, Pagenaud is hoping to take another step up in the series.
And nobody knows what to expect out of the Andretti Autosport group, which took a step back the second-half of last season after a strong opening as the organization went into 2013 trying to defend Ryan Hunter-Reay’s championship.
Andretti opened the season with three wins in the first four races - two by James Hinchcliffe and one for Hunter-Reay, and a huge on-track improvement from Marco Andretti. Although the organization finished second and third in the Indy 500 and Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay added another win each, the team fell off the pace midsummer.
Now they’ve returned to Honda after two seasons with Chevrolet, and Hunter-Reay is hoping for improvement.
“The good thing is we know what we had. We do have a benchmark. We know probably where Chevy is making progress in the offseason,” he said. “We have an idea of where we need to be. I’m optimistic. You don’t know where you stand until first practice at St. Pete.”