The IZOD IndyCar Series is back in the spotlight this weekend as they head to California for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. Danica Patrick finally announced the worst kept secret in racing today, revealing her plans to head to NASCAR after this season. Still, Will Power will without a doubt be the focus of this weekend’s events.
There are many reasons why Power will be the center of attention this weekend. There was the “gesture” that he gave IndyCar officials two weeks ago at New Hampshire, which resulted in a $30,000 fine. On a more positive note, he is the defending winner of this race, having won from the pole last year.
This is also the place where he saw his life flash before his eyes in 2009 when he collided with Nelson Philippe, who had come to a stop in a blind corner of the track after spinning out. The result for Power was a concussion, fractures of the L2 and L4 vertebrae, and some chipped teeth.
As if that weren’t enough, he is trying to chase down rival Dario Franchitti in the Championship standings, with just a few races to go.
The most important of these is obviously the chase for the Championship, so he will need to stay focused all weekend on running up front, and getting the Peak Pole Award. The main objective will be to finish in front of Dario, so strategy may come in to play near the end of the race.
Minimal points are given to the pole winner, so that will be another interesting battle between the two rivals on Saturday. Besides that, the last three winners of this race all started from the pole position.
It will be difficult for him to not think about what happened here in 2009. Everyone is going to be asking him about it, even though it was two years ago. Team Penske will have to turn their focus to the number 12 car for the rest of the season, which shouldn’t be too much to ask given the up-and-down seasons that Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves have had.
The frustration that Power displayed at the end of the New Hampshire race two weeks ago came as a surprise to most people. Normally he doesn’t let things get to him as much as that situation did. He is laid back and likes to laugh things off, but he was clearly upset with how things turned out there, even though the officials made the right call after the fact.
Some people are beginning to think that the pressure is getting to him. Most people though, believe he will have a strong weekend, and close the gap even more between him and Dario.
While those two will likely battle it out for the title once again, there is a snake in the weeds just watching all of the action. He is waiting for his time to strike, and it may be coming this weekend. Scott Dixon has had a feast or famine type of season, but he is still in it. This weekend at Sonoma, he could finally strike, making it a great three-way battle for the Championship.