In the more than 100 years of IndyCar racing through its various guises, 26 drivers have won the title more than once.
Of those 26, just two have gone back-to-back.
Will Power could become the third this year, joining Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish Jr in that elite club.
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Hornish Jr was the first to do the double, winning the 2001 and 2002 titles with the now-defunct Panther Racing. He later won the 2006 crown with Team Penske.
Franchitti went one better, going back-to-back-to-back from 2009 to 2011, adding three titles to the first that he claimed in 2007.
Power, now a two-time champion, beat Team Penske stablemate Josef Negarden to the 2022 title in a year that saw the Australian finish outside the top five on just five occasions.
Power is among the favourites for this year’s crown, and although history says back-to-back championships are a rare thing, he’s conscious of what his team is capable of.
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“It’s only race-by-race,” he said on the eve of the season-opener in St Petersburg.
“I am well aware I can go back-to-back, which would be fantastic, but the mentality approach is just race-by-race, extracting the most out of every single lap basically when you get down to the nitty-gritty.
“I didn’t realise only two people had ever gone back to back. There’s only two people. That’s crazy. That’s impressive to show how competitive our series is.”
Power, who celebrated his 42nd birthday on Thursday, said he’s expecting the fiercest competition to come from his teammates.
Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin are expected to be front-runners alongside Chip Ganassi Racing’s top two drivers Alex Palou and Scott Dixon.
Colton Herta will lead Andretti Autosport’s efforts with second-year driver Kyle Kirkwood a dark horse for the squad.
McLaren has pinched Alexander Rossi from the Andretti camp, joining another front-runner Pato O’Ward and his off-sider Felix Rosenqvist.
In the end, Power picked 2021 champion Palou to be his biggest rival outside his teammates.
“I want to say Palou is probably going to be the other toughest guy I think,” said Power.
“Who knows if (Colton) Herta gets some real good consistency. It’s very difficult to say.
“I mean, Dixon is always there. I feel like Palou is a faster version of Dixon because he’s extremely fast and consistent.
“I think obviously they’re both extremely good drivers. The field is full of very good drivers.
Will Power wins second IndyCar crown
“I think you’ll learn over the first five races who is really right in the game,” he added.
“It’s so hard to predict. So many fast drivers and fast teams, good teams. Who knows?
“You know the Penske cars will be good, Ganassi will be good, the Andretti guys. You have Kirkwood in there now, which I think he’ll be very strong.
“Yeah, a bunch of guys. McLaren guys. Like it’s crazy. It’s very, very fiercely competitive.”
This year’s IndyCar Series gets underway on the streets of St Petersburg on March 6 at 4.30am.
Coverage is live, ad-free, and exclusively on Stan Sport.
IndyCar winners (two titles or more):
Seven: A.J. Foyt
Six: Scott Dixon
Four: Mario Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, Dario Franchitti
Three: Louis Meyer, Ted Horn, Jimmy Bryan, Rick Mears, Al Unser, Bobby Rahal, Sam Hornish Jr.
Two: Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Alex Zanardi, Gil De Ferran, JJimmy Murphy, Pete DePaolo, Wilbur Shaw, Rex Mays, Tony Bettenhausen, Rodger Ward, Joe Leonard, Bobby Unser, Tom Sneva, Al Unser Jr.
(Italics denotes active driver)
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