He knew the moment he crashed early in the race at the Auto Club Speedway that his 17-point lead over Hunter-Reay would not hold up. After all, Hunter-Reay just had to finish fifth to ace out Power and win the title.
In the end, Hunter-Reay finished fourth and claimed his first ever IndyCar championship.
For the 2013 IndyCar season, Power will return driving the familiar No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dallara/Chevrolet for Team Penske. Thursday, I spoke to Power about the new season and his expectations and Sunday's season opener at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Bleacher Report: Are you ready for 2013?
Power: Our team knows how very close we were to winning an IndyCar Championship last year and we are ready on all fronts to challenge again in 2013. The No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dallara/Chevrolet will again be at full speed and the crew wants the season to start today. The main point here is that we all feel to a man that we have unfinished business to take care of this year. There are no guarantees in either racing or life, but we know we have a great car, a world-class owner in Roger Penske and a dedicated sponsor in Verizon, so they have given us the tools to win now it is up to us to make it happen.
B/R: Talk about the challenges of the St. Petersburg race course.
Power: It's one my favorite road courses that we race on in the IndyCar series. I like to get to town a little early in the week, hit the beach and just enjoy the area. As for why I like the course, it is very much a driver’s layout. Good, long straightaways as well as a number of quite tricky turns, but they are great areas for passing. There can be a breeze coming off the bay that can cause you some interesting problems, but overall, it is a fun place to run.
B/R: Who do you see as the teams and drivers to beat in 2013?
Power: To their credit, the IndyCar series has plenty of outstanding teams and possibly the deepest pool of talented drivers I have ever seen in the series. I can start with my own teammate, Helio Castroneves, who is always in the hunt. Then comes two powerful teams like Andretti Autosport, with the defending champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, and his mates James Hinchcliffe and of course Marco Andretti.
The other superteam is, of course, Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Dario Franchitti with Scott Dixon—both are great drivers with Honda behind them. I am not going to try to name more drivers for fear of leaving someone out, but there are at least 12 men and women who could step up and become challengers for the title. That is what makes IndyCar racing so special—there are so many good cars and drivers; you simply don’t have an easy race.
B/R: What rule changes has IndyCar put in place that interests you the most?
Power: Well, the one that has gotten my interest is that in three races, we will begin from a standing start. So, we are going old-school European with this type of start, and I must say, it will be very exciting for both the fans as well as the drivers. If your car starts right up, then you are off and running, but if for some reason it stalls out, then there could be a crash before the race actually passes the start-finish line.
All quotes were obtained firsthand in a phone interview with Power conducted Thursday, February 21, 2013 and arranged by IndyCar.