Aussie returns to street course he's dominated
IndyCar ends its 2021 season in style this week, going out with a fan favorite and North America’s longest-running street race in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
If history is a guide, Will Power should be a threat on the iconic 1.968-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit. The 2014 IndyCar Series champ has won here twice, in 2008 and 2012, and gotten on the podium four other times, most recently in 2018 when he finished second. Like many drivers, this is a race he gets up for.
Unfortunately, 2021 has been something of a disappointment for the 40-year-old Australian. Before collecting his first win of the season in the IndyCar Grand Prix on Aug. 14, the year had been a mishmash of mishaps and underperformance. He was nearly dropped from the starting grid for the Indianapolis 500 before qualifying 32nd and finishing 30th. In Detroit, he was leading most of the first race before his car overheated and he wound up 20th. And in Nashville, early contact with Simon Pagenaud caused him to finish 14th.
Were it not for his win in the Indy road course race — which snapped a 13-month drought — Power would be farther down in the IndyCar standings than his current ninth (as of early September). A victory at Long Beach would help salvage his season though the series title is certainly out of reach with leaders Pato O’Ward and Alex Palou ahead of him by more than 100 points.
And it is against them and the likes of Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden and Marcus Ericsson that Power will vie in the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, which airs from Southern California Sunday, Sept. 26, on NBC Sports Network.
Full name: William Steven Power
Birth date: March 1, 1981
Birthplace: Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
Height/weight: 5 feet 8 inches/155 pounds
Owner: Team Penske
Honors and achievements: Queensland Formula Ford championship (2000); Australian Drivers’ Championship (2002); IndyCar Series Road Course Trophy (2010-12, 2014-15); IndyCar Series championship (2014)