Thirty-four race wins. Fifty-two poles. One sequence championship.
And a huge zero in the course of all of it. With every passing season, one race has at all times eaten away at 37-year-old Aussie Will Energy. Positive, he has put collectively a exceptional physique of labor that has been the envy of most drivers round him all through the previous decade within the Verizon IndyCar Collection, and, earlier than that, in Champ Automobile. However one accomplishment was at all times lacking – till now.
“It’s one thing that I’ve been making an attempt to win for a very long time and I really feel like, if I’d completed my profession with out an Indy 500 win, it wouldn’t have been … I might have been very upset,” mentioned Energy, who needn’t fear about any of that after chugging victory milk on Memorial Day within the U.S. this previous Might, having claimed his first Indianapolis 500 win.
“So, it was very satisfying to get that win and that ranks completely on the high of my record. An excellent, satisfying feeling.”
Energy returns to Canada for the Honda Indy Toronto July 13-15 on the Exhibition Place grounds as a three-time winner on the downtown avenue course, twice in IndyCar (2016, 2010) and as soon as in Champ Automobile (2007).
The Indy 500 is billed as The Best Spectacle in Racing and whereas the 102nd working of the occasion was probably the most forgettable days of Canadian James Hinchcliffe’s profession – the Oakville native didn’t qualify – it’s a day Energy will always remember. Even when he tried to.
“Clearly you’re reminded of it on a regular basis, in press conferences and while you’re talking to the media you’re consistently requested about it,” mentioned Energy, one in every of IndyCar’s winningest drivers. “Having to fly in to do appearances and such, however you embrace it, and I adore it. I like every little thing that goes with it. I believe each time you see a clip of it, or you concentrate on it, it’s only a nice, satisfying feeling of accomplishment. It truly is. It’s simply a type of issues. If you happen to labored very arduous for one thing in your life and also you lastly achieved it, I believe that feeling will final a very long time.”
It’s to not recommend Energy has parked his Staff Penske No. 12 Chevrolet underneath a tree someplace to delight in his career-defining Indy 500 victory for the remainder of the summer season. The truth is, Energy, who additionally gained the IndyCar Grand Prix earlier this season, additionally on the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was in Detroit the very subsequent week for a gruelling double-header race and it has been go, go, go since then – all in pursuit of claiming a sequence championship he hasn’t gained since 2014.
Energy captured his 52nd profession pole place in Iowa this previous weekend and completed sixth as Canadian James Hinchcliffe gained his first race of the season and sixth of his profession.
“So far as placing your head down and getting on with making an attempt to win a championship, that’s precisely what I’ve completed,” mentioned Energy, who’s fifth within the total driver standings, only one level again of fourth-placed American Ryan Hunter-Reay. “I’m centered on profitable one other championship, I actually am. That was an enormous focus of mine coming into this season. Yearly the 500 has been an enormous focus of mine since I gained the championship, however I need to win one other championship. To win the 500 and the championship in the identical 12 months would simply be incredible.”
Regardless of his success in Indianapolis, it has been a topsy-turvy season for Energy, who failed to complete 4 of his first 10 races, gained massive in Might, and has struggled with some mechanical points lately. Not getting too excessive or too low is one thing the veteran driver Energy continues to key in on.
“You recognize the sport properly and you understand it doesn’t at all times go easily. The truth is, it hardly ever goes easily,” he mentioned. “You perceive that and you understand how rapidly it will probably swing again the opposite method, so that you’ve simply bought to maintain specializing in the job, study from the errors and simply maintain shifting on.”
As for including a fourth race win to his already spectacular Toronto resume?
“Yeah, I stay up for going there. It’s at all times a race I stay up for,” Energy mentioned, noting he was left on the skin trying in final July on account of any early collision with Scott Dixon. “Clearly a horrible race final 12 months so decided to vary that and have a very good day after I get again there.”
NO STOPPING NOW
Now that Will Energy has captured the up-to-now-elusive Indianapolis 500 victory, will the veteran 37-year-old IndyCar celebrity take into account driving off into the sundown any time quickly?
Sadly for the remainder of the sequence competitors typically caught in Energy’s rearview, his reply to the good-old retirement query is an emphatic no.
“I form of having fun with my racing so much at this level, as a result of I’ve bought quite a lot of the expertise and I’m nonetheless as quick as I ever was, so it’s simply, yeah, having enjoyable with it,” mentioned Energy, who has 34 race wins, 52 poles, and Indy 500 victory and an total sequence championship to his title – to this point.
Energy isn’t positive precisely how for much longer he’ll race for, however he takes his cue from former Penske teammate Helio Castroneves, a three-time Indy 500 winner who, at age 43, lately left IndyCar for sportscars and has mentioned he plans to race properly into his 50s — if he’s ready.
“Helio is a man that I take advantage of as a benchmark after I take into consideration how lengthy I might race for as a result of he merely bought quicker. Simply bought faster and faster. Truthfully, his final 12 months in IndyCar (2017) was the quickest that I’ve ever seen him,” Energy mentioned. “I have a look at Helio and … he might have saved going. I might have seen him race for an additional two, three, 4 years and doubtless nonetheless been simply as fast. So, yeah, there’s no actual timeline.”
Does Energy really feel there may be much less stress on him now, contemplating all that he has completed? Once more, that’s an enormous no.
“I believe should you really feel snug, you’re not getting essentially the most out of your self. If you happen to’re sitting there pondering you’ve bought an excellent contract or no matter, you’ve bought an excellent job, you’ll be able to’t be snug. You simply can’t,” he mentioned. “I’ve had sufficient expertise to know and perceive that. That’s not for everybody, however for me, I’ve bought to really feel like I’m on my toes on a regular basis. You’ve simply bought to have a bit of fireside burning in your stomach on a regular basis if you wish to win races and championships.”