I was told that the Rexall Edmonton Indy had the potential to be as exciting a race as the Toronto circuit two weeks ago. Instead, in what I wouldn't call a "fun" race to watch, Will Power dominated the field to capture his first IndyCar Series victory.
When the most visually exciting part of your race is not a pass for position, but one of the series' marquee stars catching fire, you have some problems. (Though the fire in Tony Kanaan's car did receive significant attention when ESPNews showed highlights, so I guess any news is good news on the coverage end.). I'll have more on Andretti Green later this week (probably Wednesday), so let's just leave it at this for now: they are having a terrible season, and when one of your drivers catches on fire twice in the same season, you may want to begin re-evaluating things.
Now, back to the race. Here in Indianapolis, there was another race going on, with the 2000 Indianapolis 500 champion dominating until Juan Pablo Montoya forgot the pit road speed. In Edmonton, Will Power did not make a mistake the entire race, cruising to victory - had Tomas Scheckter not brought out the first yellow of the day with two laps to go, Power would have won by close to seven seconds.
Power can clearly run on street and road circuits - in five starts this year (including one oval - Indianapolis), he has five top 10 finishes and four top fives, counting his win yesterday. If Penske does not renew Power's contract for 2010 (sponsorship would probably help), then Power may be the most significant addition for a team this side of Danica Patrick.
While Penske never released the terms of Power's contract when he signed at the beginning of the season, wouldn't it behoove someone (I'm looking at you AGR), to pick up a driver everyone in the Paddock knows can win on at least half the circuits in the IndyCar Series? Especially if ICS adds a few more street/road circuits in 2010 - right now, there will be a race in Brazil and Curt Cavin reported that Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., will host an ICS race in 2010 (it's at the bottom of the story). So with the potential for more street/road circuits than ovals in 2010, I think I'd want someone who can dominate those circuits on my team, but that's just me.
On the championship front, Scott Dixon took the lead from his teammate, Dario Franchitti, as the two continue to toss the points lead back and forth like a game of hot potato. Dixon would have increased his advantage more if he had not been the victim of one of the few passes in the race, as Helio Castroneves pulled off a pass using the cars of Ed Carpenter and Alex Tagliani as picks to slide by Dixon.
That said, coming out of Edmonton, we know this: Will Power can drive a car. And sponsorship or no sponsorship, some team would be very wise to scoop him up should Penske not have room for him in 2010. Let's be honest, if you're near the front on at least half the races, someone will find sponsorship for your car.