In 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson published a novella called the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. While quite obviously an allegory on the inherent good and evil in people, it can rightly be seen as a symbolic representation of whatever it is that Team Penske’s Will Power is now doing in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Before and after races he is just like Dr. Henry Jekyll: mild-mannered and prone to bouts of wonderment. In a TV interview at Toronto in 2011, Power responded to Dario Franchitti spinning him by saying, “I always race him clean, and he always races me dirty.” That sounds like the mystified Jekyll trying to come to terms with his own inner demons. Could Will Power actually be struggling to control, in his own Australian sobriquet, his inner “wanker?”
Wanker is a term that Power applies liberally to those with whom he disagrees. In a recent interview, he hoped that the aero package at Texas allows some separation of good drivers like him from the “wankers…at the back.” Good on ya, mate. It seems Power is beginning to relish the Mr. Hyde black hat.
Need more? How about at St. Pete when he slowed the field coming to the green flag and helped cause an accordion accident behind him. His Dr. Jekyll self denied any culpability. He blamed his teammate Helio Castroneves for trying to jump the start. He blamed the early green flag. If you watch him in post-race interviews, you often see a certain shifty-eyed schoolboy behavior. And just like a schoolboy, Power often seems to follow the mantra of caught-in-the-act kids everywhere. Deny, deny, deny.
After bumping Simon Pagenaud into the tires at Long Beach, Power accepted blame with a caveat: he thought Pagenaud slowed because of a flat tire. C’mon, Will, isn’t it time you embraced your darker side? Stop offering excuses for your Mr. Hyde and embrace him. In the novella, Dr. Jekyll secretly revels in the freedom from conscience that Hyde offers. It is the same here.
To make matters worse, in the first race at Detroit, Power had a run-in at with Pagenaud again. According to Pagenaud, Power ran into him. According to Power, he didn’t see him. Once again, embrace the wanker, Will. Winning dirty is still winning.
In the second race at Detroit, Power ruined the races of Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal by trying to force a pass where the opportunity did not exist. Was it optimistic? Nope. It was the black-hearted Mr. Hyde pushing lesser mortals out of the way. No apology necessary, Will. Drive on!
Sadly, the tale of Dr. Jekyll and his alter ego Mr. Hyde does not end well. By the end of the story, Dr. Jekyll can no longer control his transformation into Mr. Hyde and it leads to his untimely end. My advice to Will Power is not to fight the transformation. Do not go back to the wide-eyed and apologetic Will Power/Dr. Henry Jekyll. That way lies madness. The next time the change occurs, gleefully rub your hands together, cackle softly, and allow your inner Will Power/wanker/Mr Hyde to become your permanent personality. You already wear a black firesuit. You might as well wear a black hat, too.