MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Instead of Media Day, IndyCar kicked off its Content Days Thursday morning in Indianapolis.
The two-day affair includes a variety of photo shoots, television interviews and a Zoom Room for the print media to interview competitors ahead of the upcoming NTT IndyCar Series season.
Like most of these affairs, the questions ranged from the serious, to the inane; from Will Power’s rebound season to Conor Daly’s mullet haircut.
The event is held at an undisclosed hotel in Indianapolis and concludes on Friday with the annual IndyCar drivers meeting when IndyCar President Jay Frye, Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles and possibly series owner Roger Penske will speak to the drivers and other key team personnel about the upcoming season.
Power is one of the more high-profile drivers in the series. The Team Penske star is the 2014 NTT IndyCar Series champion and 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner. He also has 62 poles, five short of Mario Andretti’s record of 67.
He won two races in 2020 but finished fifth in points. For any other driver, that’s a successful season, but not for Power.
This year is both the final year of his contract and what he believes will be his rebound season.
“It actually does feel a little bit that way, considering we’ve started the last four seasons in a really bad way,” Power said. “It certainly isn’t speed that’s the issue. It’s our bad days are just too bad. Our bad days are DNFs and multiple laps down. They’re not like a 10th place or a seventh place, and that’s our problem. The speed is certainly not. Winning is certainly not. Consistently, whether it’s mistakes on pit lane or mistakes by me, you just – we have to have a solid beginning to the season – I mean, you’ve just got to have a solid season, and that obviously includes the beginning.
“I said it last year, it’s a huge focus, and that did not happen for us. This year, again, if we can just have a solid first few races, I think it gives the team confidence and myself confidence.”
While Power looks to rebound and contend for a championship, former teammate Helio Castroneves feels rejuvenated. He will compete in six races for Meyer Shank Racing this year after more than 20 years driving for Team Penske.
“It’s huge,” the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said. “Obviously, when you spend 20-plus years in one place (Team Penske), it’s a habit. They know what you like. I know what they like. So, you kind of like follow that format.
“Now there is more things to explore in all aspects. Again, Penske always been open mind, but we have obviously their process, but now with a different process and understanding this open mind with Shank Racing, it is really cool to understand. It going to take a little time. As I say, it’s a process. But I’m excited. I’m ready for this challenge.
“I believe hopefully all these years that I been with a great organization, we can make it also this together. I won’t be the guy doing it, but together we can also make this incredible organization to the top as well.”
But in today’s world, where the unusual gets most of the attention, the leader in that category was Daly, who gave mullet wearers all over the world reason to feel proud.
“I feel pretty good about it honestly,” Daly said of his new haircut. “After seeing it come out of the fryer this morning, whatever they do to hair, it was pretty cool. We’re just going to let it live a little bit. I’m not sure when, what the timeline looks like. I feel pretty strong about it now. Josef Newgarden even said to me this morning, ‘wow, you look good.’
“As a man who had to grow up going up against Josef Newgarden, not only in the driving category but also the looks category, because that guy is just a finely tuned specimen, he just looks like a Greek God, it’s impressive to hear that from him, so I feel pretty good about it.”
So, how did Newgarden feel about Daly’s Greek God comment?
“I thought he looked amazing,” Newgarden said of Daly. “It’s not for me, but it fits him. At this point he’s built a brand, okay? I think he should own it, which he clearly is. You show up with that type of a haircut, he is on brand for Conor Daly. I thought he looked good. That was professionally done. I don’t know if he told you his backstory. He went to a hairdresser this morning and got that done up. The commitment level, admirable. I admire the level of commitment he has for his brand. Good for him. Good for him. He is a very committed person.
“I think Conor probably gets a bad rap at times. From a personal note, I’ve known Conor since he was a young kid. We grew up together racing karts. He’s a super talented individual. He does work very hard and tries to get the most out of himself and out of situations that he’s in.
“Don’t be deceived by this brand that he’s got going on around him. I do think he’s a hard-working individual. Yeah, I support what he’s doing. I think it looks great.
“Pretty sure he went through like three cans of hairspray. He literally got up this morning to have someone do that before he showed up.”
More interviews will take place through Friday as part of the NTT IndyCar Series Content Day, which means another range of answers from the serious to the comical.