Power eager for 2024 reset after troubled IndyCar title defense

Outgoing NTT IndyCar Series champion Will Power is ready to move on from a season where off-track matters have sapped some of the attention and energy that he would ordinarily direct towards the job of wringing lap time out of the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet.

Power sealed his second championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca last year, but comes into this weekend’s race at the same venue looking to fend off what would be his first winless season since his first full-year Champ Car campaign with Walker Racing in 2006. However, with his wife Liz having spent the past year navigating serious health issues, Power said that there have been times during 2023 where driving has not been his primary focus.

“It was a tough year,” Power said. “It was a tough start for me personally, just with what was going on with my family that kind of continued… even at Road America, we had a bit of an issue. It certainly affects your preparation and your mindset. It’s not an excuse, but I know how tough this series is and you can’t have any issues off the track if you want to be good on the track.


“It’s been a real slow process. It’s a tough situation, because if she’s in a situation where I’m not sure what’s going to happen… I was at the point where you probably shouldn’t be racing, because you don’t want your kid to grow up without parents. That was actually going through my mind at the time. Things have improved significantly, so I certainly feel a lot more comfortable.”

With Liz now making good progress on the health front, Power said he intends to spend the winter looking at where gains can be made in car performance.

“It’s an ultra-competitive series and it’s not hard to lose ground in the championship,” he said. “It just takes a couple of little mishaps, and suddenly you’re trying to claw back. But definitely (it will be) an off-season of really reflecting on what went wrong, and thinking about it, and mental approaches and such, and seeing what we can do about it coming back.”

The fierce competitiveness of IndyCar magnifies the significant of any mishap, Power notes. “It’s not hard to lose ground.” Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment

While Power’s struggles have been the most apparent among Penske’s three drivers this year, the entire team fell short of its championship targets. Josef Newgarden, who was the final Penske driver to remain in title contention, was eliminated from the conversation after a late crash at World Wide Technology Raceway. Power said that the team will spend the off-season looking at where it fell short, but he also sees an opportunity for it climb back to the top of the pile when the new hybrid power plants are introduced next year.

“We’ve got to work harder,” Power said. “This series, the teams continually get better and you cannot stop, ever. We’ll reflect; have a good look at everything, and try to understand where we need to develop. But I think there could be a chance to get a jump on the field (in 2024) with a different car, a different style of racing, with the way the hybrid will probably change things. That’s always an opportunity to get ahead of the game.”

Story originally appeared on Racer