SALINAS, Calif – Will Power said earlier this week that he would do whatever that it takes to help his Team Penske teammates of Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud to hoist the Astor Cup championship trophy this weekend at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
He knew that in order to do that, all he had to do was be a team player and keep either Alexander Rossi or Scott Dixon out of victory lane.
He’d do just that in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.
Power, qualified seventh but would bring his No. 12 Chevrolet home runner-up in the season finale for his third top two finish over the final four races of the season. The Aussie wasn’t happy with his car on Saturday in the heat of the day, saying that his speed was when it was in the early sessions where the 2.258-mile Northern California road course was cooler.
That’s why he was a bit worried for qualifying.
Still, he narrowly missed the Fast Six and was there when it counted in the race. Power, steadily moved up and by the end of the final stint, he was there for the lead.
Power, came down pit road two laps later than everyone else which helped him jump Dixon and Pagenaud for second. He then had his sights set with two lap newer tires on race leader Herta.
Unfortunately for Power, Herta just had too much speed. Power, earned his 76th career podium and 102nd top five.
The start of the season was very unlike Power. While he won two straight poles to start 2019 off with, he had bad luck in those races.
In the season opener at St. Pete, Power hit pit lane too early thinking that a caution would pin him out. Ryan Hunter-Reay had an engine problem and was slow on track. Roger Penske called Power down pit lane thinking that a caution would fly. It was the right move at the time. But, a yellow never came out.
Unfortunately for Power, RHR got off the racing surface and no yellow was thrown. Power, would lose track position and finish third.
In the next race at COTA, Power led the first 45 laps but this time, a caution did catch him out. Then, while pitting, he had a mechanical issue which forced him to an DNF.
He’d finish 11th in Barber, seventh in Long Beach and seventh in the INDYCAR Grand Prix. For the Indy 500, Power had a contending car but a costly penalty on pit road near the midrace mark cost him a shot at the win. In Belle Isle, he struggled even though he did get a podium in the second race of the doubleheader weekend.
Still, from Barber though Toronto, Power had two top five starting spots in nine tries. Four of those nine saw him start outside of the top 10. He also led a combined 12 laps in that time fame.
Since Mid-Ohio though, Power has been back in the running again. He earned the pole for the Honda Indy 200 and finished fourth. In the next race at Pocono, he started fifth but won. In Gateway, he qualified third but crashed early on. In the last race at Portland, he came from second to win again. Now, he closes 2019 with a runner-up.