Despite earning 62 pole positions in his Indy car career, five of them as recently as last year, the #12 Team Penske-Chevrolet hasn’t started a race from the top spot in 2021, while teammate Josef Newgarden has amassed three poles.
Yet despite falling just 0.0067sec short of P1 today, Power didn’t express any frustration, but rather happiness that he’s in contention once more.
“I was very determined coming into this weekend just considering how the last few races have been for me,” said the 2014 champion and 2018 Indy 500 winner. “Yep, right on the pace, back where I need to be. Very focused. Hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow.”
He also said: “A lot of desire for pole position and a victory. I didn’t get pole today. Long race tomorrow. Hopefully we have a good racecar. I mean, we’re going to make some changes and see if we can get it hooked up.
“You never know in these races, as we saw last week. [Marcus] Ericsson was nowhere, and he was over the back of someone, then he won the race. So who knows? If you just stay out of trouble in these races, you always have a chance to win.”
Asked if he could recall a corner that he could have made up the fractional deficit to pole-winner Pato O’Ward, in a session that saw the top five covered by 0.05sec, Power said: “I have to say I made no mistakes in there, it was a neat lap… [But there’s] always a little bit of something there.
“Obviously everyone was kind of at the limit of their cars. We were all on the same tenth! I don’t think anyone was going to go like two-tenths quicker. Maybe a couple hundredths in it. Pato did a phenomenal lap to be on pole.”
At the end of the session, there was some controversy as Penske said Power had been held up by O’Ward, but the man himself played that down.
“On the first lap, yeah, I was up actually. He started warming his tires and slowing up. Then I had to back up. Aborted the lap. I didn’t get close enough to him. I could have driven right up to the back of him and he would have got a penalty.
“But I had to get a gap for the next lap because I only had fuel for the next lap. Go for it. That’s all that was. Let’s say it wasn’t a blatant block, he was just weaving and backing up.
“You know you only have one more lap to do it. If you finish on his gearbox, you’re not going to be quick because you lose all your air.
“It is what it is. It’s fine. Top four or five cars were on the same 10th. Anyone’s go – and I had a good second lap.”
Power also said that NASCAR’s Goodyear rubber wasn’t causing a huge issue for the IndyCar drivers.
“It is definitely a different track condition,” he said. “The car was a lot different for us at the previous race [on the IMS road course in May]. I don’t know whether that’s because the temperature was cooler.
“Yes, the NASCAR rubber does not go well with the Firestone stuff. It doesn’t take long to get it up, though. Doesn’t take long to get the rubber out of the way.”