IndyCar Title on the Line
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on October 12, 2011 | 12:00 P.M. EST
Dario Franchitti holds an 18-point advantage over Will Power. (Photo: Getty Images)
Dario Franchitti and Will Power will battle for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship in Sunday’s season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Franchitti carries and 18-point advantage over Power heading into the 2011 season ending race at the 1.5-mile track. It’s been a sudden turn of events for the two title contenders with Power taking the into the series’ last race at Kentucky Speedway two weeks ago.
But Power finished 19th that afternoon with a variety of problems while Franchitti finished second to climb back on top the standings.
"It just shows how quickly things change," Franchitti said. "You never give up. Until it's mathematically impossible, you haven't lost it or you haven't won it."
Franchitti has been in this position before and the former series champion described what the feeling is this time around compared to past seasons.
“I'd say it's very similar to last season, really,” said the Target Ganassi Racing driver. "You know, I think in the middle of the season there was a little more tension there with some of the stuff that went on, but at this point it feels very, very similar to me.
“I see Will and the Penske boys as very, very difficult opponents, and that was the same last year. It's no different now. But our job is to go out and to beat them this Sunday.”
Despite letting the lead slip away at Kentucky, Power is bringing his A game to Las Vegas and believes he’ll be able to put up a fight to wrestle the top spot and the championship away from Franchitti.
“We need to bounce back and keep fighting at Las Vegas," Power said. "We know we have a fast car, now we just need to get the job done. We need to go out and win the race and earn every point possible. We need to have a great weekend and that's what we'll be going out there to do."
Power has pretty much boiled down his goal to its simplest form and is getting caught up in the numerous statistical scenarios that have been generated to predict the outcome of the championship.
“We need to win the race,” Power said. “Whatever else happens is totally out of our control. So we're just focused on doing that and also getting the other two up there as well because, at the end of the day, if we finish one, two, three as a team, we win the championship.”
The season finale has attracted 34 cars to Las Vegas and in addition to the championship battle between Franchitti and Power, Dan Wheldon will try to win a $5 million bonus. The Indy 500 winner will start last in the field and if he can pull of the win will split the $5 million payday with a lucky fan.
That excitement has created a solid buzz for the race and the driver expect a competitive race at the high speed Las Vegas oval.
“Yeah, it is. I think that's what it's going to be,” Power said. “I have a feeling this track is going to be easy, easy flat, which makes it very much a pack race. Also, with where it is, because the atmospheric pressure, we lose a bit of horsepower as well, something like 40 or so horsepower. So that makes it even more so like a pack race.”
One both drivers are hoping to come out ahead of when the checkered flag flies on Sunday afternoon.