In an effort to help Team Penske newcomer Josef Newgarden win immediately, Team Penske President Tim Cindric will be in charge of race strategy for Newgarden’s No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet during the Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Cindric had been calling the shots for Will Power since July 2011. Penske team manager Jon “Myron” Bouslog, who has worked with Juan Pablo Montoya since 2014, moves to Power’s No. 12 entry.
Cindric’s voice was a familiar one for Power as the two formed an outstanding combination. In fact, 17 of Power’s 29 career victories and his 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship came with Cindric at the helm of Power’s pit crew.
“To me. Tim was the best guy on pit lane as far as strategy and having a good guy on your radio, but Myron (Bouslog) is well capable,” Power said. “He’s had a couple of years working with Juan. David Faustino (engineer) and Robby Atkinson (crew chief) do most of the strategy stuff any way, so I think it will be easier with Myron.
“But working with Myron will not be a problem at all.”
Power kicked it into high gear after Cindric took over his team in 2011.
“Clive Howell wanted to step away back in 2011 and didn’t want to be on the stand,” Power said. “At the time that was the reason for that. Tim is a very good guy to oversee how a certain crew does, so the reason for this change was to make the transition easier for Josef Newgarden.
“They want to make sure it’s a good transition because Josef is a super strong driver and is capable of winning right out of the box,” Power added. “They are all good people. It doesn’t matter on what car, who they put where, on this team you will always have good people on your car. I don’t think it matters so much who you get on this team. And I still have David Faustino as my engineer. I have such a good relationship with Dave and we know each other well and he knows what I like. It’s so easy having someone that you have worked with for that long. That’s a real key as far as engineers go.”
After working with Montoya in 2015 and ’16, Bouslog believes he will fit in well with Power.
“It’s a different opportunity to work with David Faustino (race engineer) and Robby Atkinson, the data guy and the rest of Power’s crew,” Bouslog said. “It’s probably the best overall crew of people. I think I will learn a lot, to be honest with you.
“There are so many people involved in strategy during the race you can’t watch everything,” Bouslog noted. “There are so many eyes on it. It’s going to be a collective team effort just like before. I think it’s the right thing to do with a new driver in Josef. Tim knows how to handle the new drivers, the expectation level of the team. The best move is to do that for Josef so he has the best of everything to win.”
Team owner Roger Penske will continue to call the races for three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. Team manager Kyle Moyer remains as the man in charge of Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud.
Power wants to get off to a fast start this year after missing last season’s opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., because of concussion-like symptoms that put him in a one-race deficit to the rest of the field.
“I want to start off the season feeling the right way, too, and fit,” Power said. “I think St. Pete will be good. The track looks awesome and I always enjoy that. Then we go to Long Beach and those are two good tracks for me. But they are all good for me; I’ve won just about everywhere except for the Indianapolis 500.”
Power is 36 years old and still one of the top drivers in the series. But physically he has suffered two broken backs and a few concussions.
“If I look after the back it’s good, but if I slack off on the exercises it becomes a problem,” Power admitted. “The back can slow you up a lot because when your back is hurting it is tough because you leverage everything off your back.”
Power admits he is watching with interest to see how NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. returns to action after missing the last half of last season because of a concussion.
“He has worked with some really good people to get back to the best place that he says he has ever been,” Power said. “It’s like everything in life — the effort you put in is what you get out of it.”