After narrowly qualifying for today’s Indianapolis 500, Will Power expects Penske will be more competitive in race trim.
While their Honda-powered rivals largely dominated qualifying, Power was puzzled by Penske’s inability to qualify as well as fellow Chevrolet users Carpenter, who put one of their cars on the front row.
“[In] low-boost race trim we’ve been very good all the time,” said Power. “It’s just a bit confusing why we’re not fast in the qualifying high boost level.”
Speaking after Friday’s final practice session, where all four Penskes appeared in the top seven places, Power said they “haven’t really ventured far from our original set-up.”
“[We’re] in a good window, got a new engine obviously. It’s probably a little bit better. It felt good.”
He said he needs luck and favourable weather conditions on his side to make progress in today’s 200-lap race.
“If you have a clear day, cool track temp, everything works together, also keeps the tyres under you. Track temp will certainly change the game, even if it was a cool temperature like [Friday].”
“Obviously you can’t be too conservative but you can’t be too aggressive either,” said Power. “You don’t want to end up in the wall.
“Just [need] a methodical day, good pit stop sequences, maybe fish for a lucky yellow, strategy call like that.
“You can’t force it around this place. You just can’t. You got to get a good balance and get in that rhythm. It’s very difficult to tell if you can pass 32 cars back.
“Last year at the start, I qualified 24th or something, you couldn’t do much at all. It’s a bit more downforce this year, I’m hoping that you can, if you got a bit better car, get through a few cars.”
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