He wants to get through the first turn incident free and avoid the strategic blunder that cost him a win last year at Barber Motorsports Park.
IndyCar is using a NASCAR-style double-file start and restarts for the second time Sunday, following a season opener in which some drivers complained about the new setup. Stars Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon were among those who found trouble while some fans were still settling in at St. Petersburg in the first of several incidents on March 27.
And this time?
“I think they’re going to go early and spread them out and hopefully stop the mayhem,” Power said.
Or at least postpone the crowd-pleasing dustups until the race really gets going. IndyCar officials weren’t expected to make a final decision on the track-specific restart rules until race day.
Power likely will be able to avoid early trouble since he’s starting up front for the second straight race this season. He captured the pole Saturday at the 2.38-mile road course, where he also qualified first last season in the track’s IndyCar debut.
He squandered an opportunity for a victory last year when he made a third pit stop while other fuel-conserving drivers stayed out, costing him a lead he never recovered.
Power wound up finishing fourth, and was runner-up in the championship standings to Dario Franchitti by five points after leading the series in wins and poles. A second-place finish at Barber would have pushed him to the top.
The Australian came into Alabama last year trying to become the first IndyCar driver to open a season with three straight wins.
“I’m very focused on winning this race,” said Power, who picked up four victories and didn’t finish worse than third on any of the other road or street courses in 2010.
“I really want to win it, because I felt we had a really good car last year, a better car than we have this year with speed. We just made a wrong call down on strategy. I just want to make it work. I really want to win it.”
Power will be surrounded by teammates at the start Sunday. Ryan Briscoe will be on his outside and defending champion Helio Castroneves will be in the second group, next to Scott Dixon.
“I’m very confident here,” Power said. “It’s one of my favorite circuits. I’ve got a lot of miles around here, as has everyone. It makes for a very, very tight competition, which is already very tight this year. I think you could go through the whole field, name every driver, and you can’t pick one guy that isn’t capable of winning a race. That’s what we’re dealing with now.”
Justin Wilson and Oriol Servia will start in the third row, while St. Petersburg winner and two-time defending series champion Dario Franchitti opens seventh. Danica Patrick will be near the rear at No. 22 in the 26-car field.