- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS — Will Power has 18 victories since moving to America, where he’s one of the most decorated drivers in open-wheel racing.

But his resume has some glaring holes: He’s never won an Indianapolis 500, and he’s never won a championship.

“I’d just love to win something, just one time win something of significance,” he said Thursday. “I’m so sick of it.”

The most dominant driver in IndyCar the past three seasons isn’t content with his results. And make no mistake, they are impressive.

In 44 career starts since joining Penske Racing, Power has 15 wins, 20 poles, 24 podiums and has led at least one lap in 34 races.

“You think about his record with Penske Racing over the last three years, and he’s won almost one out of every three races he’s been in, and he’s been on the podium almost two-thirds of the time,” Penske said. “It really establishes him, from the road-racing perspective at least, as the top driver out there right now.”

But Power wants more — a lot more — and his chance to cross the Indy 500 off his list comes Sunday, when he’ll start fifth. He goes into the race as IndyCar’s points leader and has won the past three races of the season. Penske, meanwhile, is a 4-0 in races and 5-0 in qualifying.

So this might just be the year for Power to finally breakthrough. Maybe it will be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the race his team owner cherishes above all over. Or, maybe it will be in the title race, which he’s lost the past two years to four-time champion Dario Franchitti.

Even if Power never wins another race — something the uber-intense Australian often frets about - he’s still accomplished far more than he ever expected. He’d come close to quitting racing at the end of every season he spent in Europe, where he scraped together rides and racked up enormous debt in his quest to become a Formula One driver.

He thought for sure at the end of the 2004 season he was headed home to Australia for good and join the family canvas business, and once again, something came along that kept him in it another year. Then came the call from America, from Derrick Walker, who needed an Aussie driver for his Champ Car Series team.

Power was reluctant to consider the offer, and he knew moving to the U.S. probably would put an end to F1 forever. But the ledger showed a deficit near $500,000, and the job Walker had available would have paid him a salary for the first time in his driving career.

So he took it, and he’s never looked back.

F1 driver Mark Webber believes Power did the best thing for his career. A fellow Aussie, Webber had helped Power financially over the years and the two were even roommates for a time in Europe.

“He was in a similar position to me, coming through the junior ranks, with very, very, very little finances and I was in a position to help a little bit, mainly because I could see the hunger and I could see how much he wanted it,” Webber said. “He’s good enough to be at the top level in Europe, and that’s something he will live with for a long time. But he did cut his losses, the options did run out for him Europe.

“That’s how it goes. But ultimately, he’s done the right thing and he’s controlled his own destiny.”



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