Will Power interview: Indy 500 winner looks beyond

DETROIT, MI - JUNE 03: Will Power, of Australia, stands on the podium after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on June 3, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 03: Will Power, of Australia, stands on the podium after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on June 3, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images) /

Will Power achieved a long-awaited milestone when he won the Indy 500. Now, the Team Penske star talks life after Indy and the 2018 IndyCar season.

Will Power’s victory at the 2018 Indianapolis 500 was more than a win. It was capturing the most coveted race in motorsports, but more than that, it was achieving something he had been fighting for and deserved long ago.

Long regarded as one of the Verizon IndyCar Series‘ best drivers and the 2014 IndyCar champion, Power’s resume was missing that Indy 500 victory — the one he almost had in 2015 but for a very heated battle with then-teammate Juan Pablo Montoya.

Winning in 2018, then, was a personal and professional milestone. And with that well-deserved accomplishment under his belt, the Team Penske driver is looking for a second championship to fill out his 2018 IndyCar season.

FanSided spoke with Will Power before this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto, where he’ll be racing for his second victory in three seasons, to discuss how winning the Indy 500 has changed him and what he’s looking at in the rest of the 2018 IndyCar season.

FanSided: Are people perceiving you differently now that you’re an Indy 500 winner? Because you’ve accomplished quite a bit in your career, yet that was the “but” people kept bringing up.

Will Power (WP): Every time you win a race, you build up credit with people. I think that was the box I needed to tick. Once you’ve won a championship and the 500 you can be considered as a successful driver in IndyCar, so yes.

FanSided: The remaining tracks on the IndyCar schedule would seem to favor you. You won at Toronto two years ago, and if you win at Pocono it will be your third consecutive victory there. How do you feel about the remainder of the 2018 IndyCar season?

WP: I feel really good. We’ve been fast everywhere this year, [but] obviously had some unfortunate results. So to be where I am, championship-wise — we’ve been very strong. It’s just a matter of minimizing little mistakes and such. Focusing week in, week out, getting the most out of the weekend. The focus is to win the championship, absolutely.

FanSided: The start of the season was tough for you, with only one podium in the first four races. Since then, you have two wins and five Top 10 finishes. Was there a particular turning point for you?

WP: No, I was qualifying in the top three every race. I was in a great position every race. [It was] just the moves that could have gone either way. It could have quite easily been the move that really helped you in the race — instead of hinder me, or hit the wall, or have contact with someone. There hasn’t been a lack of pace. It’s just kind of little mistakes.

FanSided: What’s going to be Will Power’s biggest challenge in the remainder of the season?

WP: It’s going to be a very, very tough tight championship, because there are just so many guys that are good and are right there in the points. I think the thing is to remain consistent, week in, week out, without those mistakes. Which sometimes you can’t control. You just put your head down and focus on what you need to focus on.

FanSided: 2018 is also your tenth year in IndyCar. How do you consider your career as a whole now that you’ve crossed off that Indy 500 victory? Does that change the legacy of Will Power to you?

WP: When I look back I think I’ve won a lot of races. I’ve won a championship. Had a lot of pole positions. I think actually more than anyone in the whole field, in the last decade. So I look back, there’s definitely some lost opportunities there as far as championships go, but [I’m] still very happy with everything that I’ve accomplished so far. I’m really determined to focus forward and win the championship this year, and focusing on winning races.

FanSided: Your story is even more remarkable with the challenges you’ve overcome to achieve that success. Whether it was the Sonoma wreck where you broke your back, or so many times where you’ve been close in races but it just hasn’t gone your way. But you keep finding ways to win. What do you think is the biggest strength that’s gotten you here?

WP: Determination and focus is what makes you good. You obviously have a natural ability, but then it comes down to how well you execute I think that comes down to determination, focus and hard work.

FanSided: What’s more competitive: the Indy 500, or competing against your fellow Team Penske drivers in the Penske Games?

WP: (laughs) Definitely a lot of good guys, competitive people, competing in the Penske Games. I was very stoked to win the foosball. That was pretty tough!

Next: Scott Dixon talks Ninja Warrior, new documentary

Catch Will Power in the 2018 Honda Indy Toronto this Sunday, July 15 at 3:00 p.m. on NBCSN. For full coverage of the 2018 IndyCar season, follow the Motor Sports category at FanSided.