Power: “It’s funny how relaxed it’s been”

Will Power and Simon Pagenaud claim that the atmosphere at Team Penske as they go head-to-head for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series championship has been “business as usual.”

Power: “It’s funny how relaxed it’s been”
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Championship contenders Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet, Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet, Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet at Pier 39
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet during a parade at the Embarcadero
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Podium: race winner Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet, second place Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, third place Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport Honda

Championship leader Pagenaud, who needs to finish at least fifth should Power win this weekend – fourth if Power takes maximum bonus points – suggested to the assembled media that part of the reason for the relaxed atmosphere between them was because he and Power have guaranteed the title for Team Penske.

“It's been for me a long week waiting," he said. "I'm just excited to be in this fight, excited that we're able, with Will and our teammates, to bring another championship for Team Penske in the 50th anniversary of the team. I think it's very important to Roger and the entire organization.

“I want to be the one winning for sure, and Will does, too. It's great for Team Penske to win, but I do want to get this title.

 We've had a great season. I think first and foremost, even before this weekend starts, it shows how great the season has been on the #22 car, the evolution compared to last year. I couldn't be happier to be where we're at right now.

I'm going to embrace the weekend and enjoy it.”

Power added: “It's been business absolutely as normal. It's pretty funny how relaxed it is. I think we're both experienced enough to realize that at the end of the day it's going to be what it's going to be out on the track. Doing anything out of the car isn't going to make a difference, apart from working with your engineer.



“It's just a normal weekend for me. It really feels that way.”

Power said that the primary difference between this year’s title battle with Pagenaud, and his title fights with Ganassi’s Dario Franchitti and Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, is that he now has no allies on track.

He commented: “It takes out the fact that you can have a teammate help you when you're competing against a driver from a rival team. Everyone else is out of the equation, too, so that makes it different, as well.

“We need to get this championship for the team but we know we've got it now; it's between Simon and I.



Over-aggressive rivals

Asked if he was worried about being taken out of the running by any of the drivers desperately fighting for rides in 2017, Pagenaud replied: “I'm in a different position to Will. Will needs to win the race to have a legit chance really. We don't have a big issue.



“But I think you just race like you usually do. Why change right now? There's no reason to do that.

“Obviously, yeah, there will be aggressive guys out there, like every year. The fact that it's double points gets everybody pretty excited - sometimes too much! We're going to have to be heads-up.

However, Pagenaud added: “It's about going racing, not worrying too much about points. That's how you can lose it, just by worrying too much where he is, where I am, what's going on.


“At the end of the day it's about doing the best you can. And doing the best you can with a Penske car, you should be running up front.”

 

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