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IndyCar Indy 500

Power expects “very fierce” racing from Indy 500 package

Monday’s practice pacesetter Will Power believes a combination of the aerodynamic package and tire degradation in this year’s Indianapolis 500 will create “a very fierce race”.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

After doubts were raised last week by Pato O’Ward about the ability for cars in the pack to overtake, akin to a Formula 1-style ‘DRS train’, Team Penske’s reigning IndyCar champion Power thinks that tire degradation can play a huge role in allowing drivers to work their way towards the front.

In the aftermath of the crash involving Katherine Legge and Stefan Wilson today, Power also predicts more shunts on Sunday because the cars can run very closely together.

“It's actually a really good package,” said Power. “That's why no one has really crashed [until now], which means it'll be a very fierce race. I think it'll be very tight. Maybe there's more accidents in the race. It's going to be a good battle.”

Power, who won the Indy 500 in 2018, thinks there will be plenty of overtaking between the leaders this weekend, with the cars boasting up to 10 per cent more downforce than last year.

“It's going to be easy to pass, not in the pack but at the front, because you've added downforce,” he explained. “The front three will race pretty hard.

“You actually haven't added much drag. The cars are about the same speed because they're very efficient, aero bits or strakes and some floor stuff, so it's not big draggy wicker on the wing or anything. It's the closest I've ever been able to run to a car at this place without an issue.”

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

When asked for his thoughts about how difficult it would be to overtake when in a train of cars, Power replied: “It would be ridiculous to have enough downforce for everyone to pass, but the one thing there is, there's tire deg. So, I think that will create good racing in the pack.

“I think if [someone] has a better car that looks after the tire, yeah. The left sides are softer. They get vibrations more easily and the tire degrades, so if it's a hot day like this, there will be cars coming and going, I think.

“I think it's just because the left sides are softer. They just degrade easier. I haven't had a set without a vibration yet. I've had a couple that have been massive and you have to pit and I've had a couple – the last one I just did a full stint, but it's still there. It's left-side – left-front and left-rear. Depends which slides more.

“I think it makes for better racing. It needed some deg. Yeah, on a good hot day, I think it'll be a good race.”

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