Will Power believes that the modern era of IndyCar stands to be remembered by future generations as a classic due to the high quality of competition and the careers being forged by its leading drivers.
“You’ve got to look at this generation as one of those generations when you had A.J. [Foyt], Mario [Andretti], the Unsers as, with [Scott] Dixon, and I’m sure [Alexander] Rossi and [Josef] Newgarden, these guys are going to be around for a long time,” he said.
“That’s going to be an era that kids look up to, like ‘Wow, that was a great era of competitive IndyCar racing, probably the most competitive era ever.’ Yeah, I’ve kind of been thinking that. You look at the field, the series, the teams now… it’s just so cool to be a part of it right now, and it’s growing, and the continuity of drivers, new teams coming in, it’s fantastic.”
Power’s win in Portland on Sunday was the 37th of his career, tying him with Sebastien Bourdais at sixth on the all-time winner’s list, and putting him just two short of joining Al Unser Sr in fifth. He’s also second on the all-time pole list with 54, one ahead of A.J. Foyt, and 10 behind Mario Andretti. While Power admitted that he can be prone to focusing more on the seasons that didn’t go to plan than the ones that did, he said that viewing his achievements in the context of the sport’s greats helps he – and other current drivers – appreciate their own careers.
“You know what, I get very disappointed in my career because of some of the things I’ve let go,” Power said. “I feel like I should have been champion more times. But it’s something that you… look, after you win the (Indianapolis) 500, you’re very satisfied with your career and that paves the way, and then the next year you’re like, ‘Man, I need to start winning races’, and you get just — it’s disappointing. Sometimes you can forget that you’ve had a great career.
“It’s a tough series. It’s tough to win races, so any win you get, you’re just over the moon. But any win I get at the moment and any pole I get, the pole is getting me closer to Mario’s all-time record, and any win I get moves me up the all-time list, and I think you’d be lying if you don’t look at that stuff at times.
“You don’t think about it when you’re driving, but I know Dixon (third all-time with 46 wins) would most definitely look at that stuff, too. He might say he doesn’t. Because you’re up amongst drivers that you idolized as a child, as a kid, so it’s just kind of surreal that you can put yourself up amongst names like Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt, Michael Andretti, the Unsers, these names always seemed above me because it’s somebody you idolized as a kid. It doesn’t seem right to have your name amongst them when you really idolized someone, even if you’ve reached the same level as them in your career. It just doesn’t feel like… it still feels like they’re above you, untouchable.”