We’re delighted to publish our first major IndyCar interview (and also make our competitors green with envy). We don’t count last summer’s attempted interview with Tomas Scheckter (the ex-driver, not his head gear) who for some reason chose not to participate in the Orson Welles piece. He sent a few non-responsive Tweets, one half assed email reply and some irrelevant pictures of lap dogs. Unlike Scheckter, Power’s helmet was fully cooperative, stimulating and intellectually engaged. The main point we took away from our meeting is that Power’s helmet is no mere empty head covering, but rather a driving part of the championship effort.
Will Power’s Bell Helmet was made in Champaign, Illinois and like all helmets used in the IndyCar series consists primarily of carbon fiber, Nomex and Rayon. It’s been with him the entire season, enduring all the highs and lows of Power’s prodigious five month campaign across the Americas. From his fourteenth place finishes in Houston and Iowa to his winning the title in the Fontana finale, Power’s helmet was there, perched atop Will’s balaclava covered skull through it all.
Photo from usatoday.com
Now facing retirement and a significant life change, Power’s helmet sat down with us last weekend for a revealing and insightful discussion of racing and life atop Power’s noggin.
IRR: First off, a sincere thank you for taking some time for our little blog. We really appreciate it. You’d be surprised how few major stars of the racing world are willing to speak to us. So, how does it feel to be the 2014 IndyCar Champion’s helmet?
Will Power’s Helmet: “I’ve got to say it feels terrific, Indy. It was a challenging season with the usual dangers, lots of flying debris and marbles. So many marbles in fact that they gave me nightmares. I’d have dreams of these little black blobs of rubber engulfing me, suffocating me. But to come away from it intact and needing only a few touch-ups during the season was extremely gratifying. It’s a testament to Will’s ability to drive up front. That saves me a lot of headaches.”
IRR: When were you born and how long have you been with Power?
Will Power’s Helmet: “I was born January 10, 2014 at the Bell Helmets facility in Champaign, Illinois and have spent almost my entire life riding atop Will’s head. I take my roles as both head protector and integrated aerodynamic part of the chassis very seriously. With Team Penske, you’d better be at your best or you risk being relegated to the NASCAR team.”
Photo from motorsportsunplugged.com
IRR: Power’s Australian and as everyone knows Aussies have a bit of a reputation for rowdiness, craziness and sometimes downright lewd behavior. You’re a mild mannered Midwesterner from a university town. How difficult was it bridging that substantial cultural divide with Will?
Photo from dailytelegraph.com.au
Will Power’s Helmet: “It’s been great working with Will. I take particular pride in protecting his head, as Australians require an extra level of special brain care due to all the binge drinking, rugby playing and didgeridoo listening. One more big bump on the head could well push Will over the edge of insanity. It was my job not to allow that to happen. I’m happy to say Will’s just as sane as he was when I met him in February.”
IRR: So Will’s head didn’t grow after winning the title in Fontana. Did it shrink any?
Will Power’s Helmet: “Actually, his head size remained consistent throughout the year.”
Photo from racing.ap.org
IRR: What’s your relationship with Will Power’s driver suit?
Will Power’s Helmet: “Uh, frankly we’re not close. In my profession, I’ve got sweat, heat and of course the bumps and knocks to deal with, but I’m glad I’m not down there in the seat like the suit. Things get pretty messy down there, especially during the 500 milers. They don’t pay those suits enough.”
IRR: What about Will’s infamous temper? Does he ever throw you around or otherwise abuse you?
Photo from indysportscrew.com
Will Power’s Helmet: “Uh, no. He usually wins or does well, so I often get champagne. That said though, I’m glad I’m not Marco’s helmet.”
IRR: Does it hurt when the tear off visors are ripped away? Like a little piece of you is being torn off and simply discarded?
Will Power’s Helmet: “No. Well, it does sting a little bit. But the flying carbon fiber pieces at 220 mph are what really hurt.”
IRR: Now that you’re retired, what’s next? What’re your plans for 2015?
Will Power’s Helmet: “I’ll be spending some time with family back home in Illinois for the holidays. Beyond that and a new, toned down paint job I’m still deciding on what to do next. I really feel that I’m too young to sit around in some showcase down in North Carolina for the rest of my life. Who knows? Maybe some time in Europe.”
Photo from IndyRaceReviewer
IRR: A visit to Australia, perhaps?
Will Power’s Helmet: “Oh, God no.”
IRR: Is Will Power as crazy as they say and what’s it like protecting such a mad, mad, mad, mad cranium?
Will Power’s Helmet: “Is that a serious question?”
IRR: And Will’s cross-dressing proclivities? Did they ever affect your job, knowing your driver’s rather unusual habits?
Photo from foxsports.com.au
Will Power’s Helmet: “I’m not answering that question.”
IRR: Do you ever wish Power would eat less Marmite? I mean, the smell?
Will Power’s Helmet: “This interview is over.”