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Indy 500 Victory Relieved Burden, Added Boost to Power's Engineer

With three wins, four poles and 358 laps led, a strong case could be made that Team Verizon driver Will Power was the fastest driver in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The highlight for Power was his first victory in the Indianapolis 500 on May 27.

That victory was also the first Indy 500 win for his longtime race engineer, David Faustino, who has been involved with Power’s effort since the Champ Car series days in 2007.

“It was huge,” Faustino said. “You never really understand what it means to win Indy until you win Indy. Will has won a lot of races. To win the Indy 500 was better than my very first win.”

When Power’s face was unveiled on the Borg-Warner Trophy on Dec. 5 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, the winning driver recalled a conversation he had with Faustino. The engineer told Power the duo had spent a full year of their lives at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the quest an Indy 500 victory. 

“For us being based in North Carolina, we are away from our families, our kids, our friends for that three-week period before we go into a really tough June on the IndyCar schedule,” Faustino said. “It really picks you up for the rest of the year, and it’s really gratifying when all that effort you put in comes together.”

Considering most teams spend three weeks in Indianapolis every year to prepare for the race, Faustino’s calculation is pretty close to accurate on the time spent at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Power and Faustino have been trying to win the Indy 500 every year since 2008. To get that victory later in his career instead of early gives Power a deeper appreciation of its meaning.

“I think Will knew it wasn’t an easy thing to win,” Faustino said. “More than anything, it has made Will more relaxed. It’s more of a relief for him. The question is out how it will change him going forward. After his win, he was really focused on chasing the championship.

“I think what it will do for this coming year is make him really hungry for the championship. Indy is one race that is hard to win because there are a lot of entries, and a lot can happen. Some is in your control, and some is out of your control. But how things work in a championship is in your control.

“We should have won more championships by now.”

Power won the Verizon IndyCar Series title in 2014 and has been involved in the championship battle nearly every year he has been in IndyCar.

He finished third in the championship in 2018, and his engineer sees reasons why they didn’t win the title.

“Statistically speaking, Will was by far the fastest driver in qualifying, and his race start average this year is the best it has ever been,” Faustino said. “But we had mistakes on all fronts. He made two or three mistakes, and the team made two or three mistakes. We had six to seven races where we went out pretty early in the race. It was effectively too many DNFs.”

Eliminating those mistakes in 2019 are at the top of the list for Faustino, as well as another trip to Victory Lane in the Indianapolis 500.

Power had a nearly flawless “Month of May” in 2018, winning the pole and the INDYCAR Grand Prix for the third time in his career and then winning the Indianapolis 500. The only prize he didn’t win was the Indy 500 pole. Ed Carpenter won that for the third time in his career.

“Trust me, I’m happy with the race wins,” Faustino said. “That’s where the points are paid, and we can take with us into the championship hunt.

“If somebody could win all four prizes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, that would be very impressive.”

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