Power: “I started screaming because I just knew I was going to win”
2018 Indianapolis 500 victor Will Power said he started screaming on the last lap of the race as he realized he was going to win, and described the experience of taking Indy victory at his 11th attempt as “overwhelming, amazing.”
The Team Penske-Chevrolet driver’s first Indy 500 victory came after he saw off the challenge of Ed Carpenter’s ECR-Chevy following a restart for Sebastien Bourdais’s crash.
Multiple late cautions then split the field on strategy and the off-sequence trio of Stefan Wilson, Jack Harvey and Oriol Servia led. But they had pushed the boundaries of their stints on fuel, meaning Wilson and Harvey were forced to stop before the finish.
Power was ahead of Servia by lap 196 of 200 and said he was screaming on the final lap.
“It’s overwhelming, amazing,” said Power. “It's funny, you forget where you are, you're so immersed in the race. You don't even realize.
“On the white flag lap [199 of 200] I started screaming because I just knew I was going to win it. Unbelievable. I've never been so excited. I just screamed like I've never screamed before. The last two laps, the last lap, seeing the white flag, the checkered… I mean, you can't explain it.
“It's what I needed so badly, what I wanted so badly, and it came true. Anyone here knows how that would feel. You want something so much, it comes to you through hard work and determination."
Describing his final restart while running fourth, Power said: “I knew that I had to get a run on these guys [the three off-sequence], at least get one of them in the first turn…which I didn't! I got Oriol I think a lap later or something.
“I didn't want Carpenter to have a shot at me. He was very quick. If he had gotten by, I think it would have been game over, potentially.
“In clean air, I was very aggressive on the restarts. I started in a different spot every time to get a jump on Ed. I knew if we were fighting into Turn 1, it just creates a problem. [They were] very good restarts, when you look at it. I never got challenged.”
Power believes his Indy 500 win ticks the final box of his career goals.
“It was the last box to tick to be considered as a very successful driver,” he said. “I'm not done. I still have plenty of time left to win more 500s and championships and races.”
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