Power's health issues behind him, snaps Indycar drought

Staff WritersAP
Will Power is the toast of Team Penske after the Queenslander took out his 42nd IndyCar race. (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconWill Power is the toast of Team Penske after the Queenslander took out his 42nd IndyCar race. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AAP

Will Power pondered retirement last year as his wife battled a near deadly staph infection that had the Australian wondering if he needed to focus on his family's future.

"She almost died," Power said.

"You start thinking, 'Yeah, I'm going to have to stop now, take care of my son'."

His wife has recovered and Power is back in victory lane.

Power was joined by wife Liz and son Beau in victory circle on Sunday after he earned his first win in two years and ended a 34-race winless streak to move to the top of the IndyCar points standings.

The 43-year-old Queenslander beat teammate Josef Newgarden by 3.2609 seconds on the 14-turn, 4.014-mile course in Wisconsin to win for the first time since the Detroit Grand Prix on June 5, 2022. Power has a five-point lead over reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou as he seeks his second championship in three years.

Power won the 2022 title but was distracted by his wife's health issues during last year's winless season.

"I have to say I'm a better driver again this year than I was in '22 when I won the championship," Power said.

"Last year was sort of a stall-out here. Not much I could do. Spending a lot of time at home, looking after Liz, making sure everything was going well for her.

"(Now I'm) back to Liz helping me. She is a big part of my preparation. She does a lot for me. We're back as a team again."

Power won for the 42nd time in the series to tie Michael Andretti for fourth on the all-time wins list. They trail A.J. Foyt (67), Scott Dixon (58) and Mario Andretti (52).

Josef Newgarden was second and three-time Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin third to give Team Penske a sweep of the podium ? their first since 2017.

It continued Team Penske's successful run since getting rocked by a cheating scandal in April. Newgarden was stripped of his season-opening win at St. Petersburg nearly six weeks later when IndyCar discovered Penske's three cars had an illegal version of the push-to-pass software installed that allowed their drivers to use the horsepower boost when no one else in the field had access to the advantage.

Since then, McLaughlin won at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, for the second straight time, Newgarden won his second consecutive Indy 500 title and now Team Penske has taken the top three spots at Road America.

"If you're a team like Penske, people like to pound you if something like that happens, 'Ha, ha, we knew that's how you guys are fast'," Power said.

"I know how much work goes into it. I know they don't even venture into the grey. It frustrates me at time because I know other teams do. But they will not do that just because of that brand.

"Roger won't allow that brand to be tarnished with cheating allegations. We don't do that. There's a lot of talk around the paddock. I know we don't do that. I know other teams do because people push the rules. If I was a small team, I'd be doing it. That's how you get a slight advantage."

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