Penske Racing

Team Penske 2023 INDYCAR Season Review - Will Power

November 30, 2023

Over the next few weeks, Team Penske looks back at the exciting 2023 season with an overview of each team's performance and highlights. In this week's spotlight, we focus on Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet team as they fought to defend their 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES title this season.

The 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES (NICS) season offered its share of challenges for Will Power and Team Penske’s No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet team as they recorded a seventh-place finish in the series championship standings.  Riding high from his second career series title and his passing of Mario Andretti for first on the all-time pole position list in 2022, Power was eager to see his name rise even higher in the NICS record books.

Cruelly, before the first practice session of the year at The Thermal Club in late January, Power and his family were hit with terrifying news. His wife and best friend, Liz, was diagnosed with a serious medical condition that required surgery and an extensive hospital stay. As the person that has always been there for Power throughout his illustrious driving career, Liz now needed Will to focus on supporting her and their family as she began her road to recovery.

On track competition was put into perspective as Power took on the role of caretaker, along with Liz’s mother. In the intense, highly-competitive world of INDYCAR SERIES racing, focus is paramount and no one could blame Power if his attention strayed during the early part of the 2023 season. Through the first four races, Power was still able to score three top-10 finishes with a podium finish at Barber Motorsports Park to rank seventh in the point standings. It was in qualifying, however, where the fast Australian racer was not always able to reach his top form.

In the only doubleheader weekend of the year at Iowa Speedway in July, Power reminded everyone of why he has more NTT P1 Pole Awards than any driver in history. In the 10 races prior to Iowa, Power’s average starting position was 10.8. At Iowa, he powered the No. 12 Chevy to pole positions in both races to give him 70 poles for his career.

It was the shot in the arm that Power and the team needed following an incident at Road America that was not of his own making which halted any momentum the Verizon 5G team had after producing a second-place finish on the streets of Detroit. After finishing both Iowa races with top-five finishes – including tying his season best result of second place – Power was rejuvenated as Liz continued her recovery. He rode that momentum to four top-10 finishes in the final five races of the season. The two-time series champion looked to be in position to challenge for the win in the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca before back-to-back penalties dropped him down the runnung order. He would rally to finish fourth, which sent the team into the offseason with positive momentum as they prepare for 2024.

With four podium finishes, two pole positions and 180 laps led on the year, Power and the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevy team finished the season in the seventh position in the championship standings. It marked the first time since his first full INDYCAR SERIES season in 2006 that Power did not record a win – a remarkable streak of 16 consecutive seasons.

“It was definitely a tough year, and a tough start for me personally,” said Power. “It certainly affects your preparation and your mindset. It’s not an excuse, but I know how tough this series is and you can’t have any issues off the track if you want to be good on the track.”

With Liz thankfully healthy again and back to traveling with her husband to the racetrack, Power is ready to return to championship form next season. He is eager to get back to work, especially with the new $1 million all-star race scheduled for The Thermal Club in early February.

“It just takes a little lack of focus – which I was more than prepared to do with Liz in the hospital – to lose ground in a series like this,” continued Power. “This Verizon 5G Chevy team knows how to bounce back. We didn’t have a great 2021 season and we won the title the next year. You never know how it’s going to play out, but we have some work to do.

“With a million dollars on the line at Thermal, we will make sure we’re ready and get off to a strong start in 2024.”

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