OVAL EDUCATION KICKS INTO GEAR FOR POWER IN KANSAS Will Power has only raced on an oval twice in his career but that is all about to change for the young Australian ahead of the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City this...
OVAL EDUCATION KICKS INTO GEAR FOR POWER IN KANSAS
Will Power has only raced on an oval twice in his career but that is all about to change for the young Australian ahead of the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City this weekend.
Kansas marks the start of a streak of oval events in the 2008 IndyCar Series schedule, coming off the back of two street courses for Power and the Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia crew.
This weekend's race is followed by the month of May, with opening day and rookie orientation for the Indianapolis 500 on May 4, the start of month-long proceedings for IndyCar drivers and teams at The Brickyard.
Following the Indianapolis 500, the race known as 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing', teams go straight to the Milwaukee Mile and then the ultra-fast Texas Motor Speedway all in consecutive weeks, continuing on to Iowa Speedway one fortnight later, followed up by another short oval at Richmond.
The next few races on the schedule mean that Power, who failed to finish the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway due to contact with another car on a restart, will have his mind focused on oval racing for the next two months, before the next road course event at Watkins Glen on July 6.
Power has risen to fifth in the IndyCar Series standings and is the leader of the Bombardier Rookie of the Year title after qualifying second and finishing eighth in St Petersburg, before absolutely dominating the opposition in Long Beach in the Champ Car finale last weekend, a race that counted for IndyCar Series points.
Now Power turns his attention to ovals, with the focus on fine-tuning the #8 Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone and learning the ropes in this fast and take-no-prisoners form of racing.
Kansas will be the second oval of the season and the third of Power's career, with one Champ Car oval start in Milwaukee. While Power lacks experience on ovals the next phase of races will give the Toowoomba-born driver the opportunity to come to grips with oval racing, albeit in the heat of competition.
WHAT THE TEAM HAD TO SAY --
Will Power - #8 Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone
"It was such a great feeling for our whole team to get a win last weekend in Long Beach and now we are carrying that great feeling into Kansas," said Power.
"We are back in the Aussie Vineyards Dallara IndyCar and back on an oval, so things will be very different this weekend. Again, my crew have worked very hard and done a superb job to get the #8 Aussie Vineyards car ready in only a short space of time.
"It will be our second crack at an oval and Kansas is a different sort of oval to Homestead, so we've got a lot to learn.
"The more experienced IndyCar teams will really have the edge on us again this weekend, but it's going to be good to get a second hit-out on an oval after the things we learned in Homestead, as well as a good warm-up for the month of May at Indy."
Craig Gore - Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia
"We are back on an oval so Kansas is certainly going to be more about learning and running a consistent race," said Gore.
"Will had a bit of bad luck and wasn't able to finish Homestead, so the goal is really to finish the race and get some confidence and a solid pace going.
"Kansas will be a good opportunity for Will and the whole Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia crew to concentrate on oval racing, because from Kansas we go straight into the month of May in Indianapolis.
"Not only that, Milwaukee and Texas are straight after the Indy 500, so we really have our oval education course coming up over the next few months, but Will and the team have shown that they are capable of rising to the occasion."