'Sheer Force of Will Power' tells it like it is


He has one of the most inspiring names and history in racing – and a life story that should (and may one day) become a Hollywood movie.

His name is all you need to know about the man he is, the spirit he possesses and the competitive edge that fellow racers both respect and fear.

Willpower is his calling card and Will Power is his name. And after nearly 20 years of racing both in his native Australia and the United States, Power’s story is now told from start to the checkered flag in a new book titled “The Sheer Force of Will Power.”

Published by HarperCollins and co-written by veteran motorsports journalist David Malsher, the captivating hardcover book went on sale in the United States on March 29.

“Will Power. Could there be a better name for a racing driver?” fellow Australian and world-class racer Mark Webber said in his foreword to the book. “But it isn’t just an awesome name, it’s one that describes the nature of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion in two easy words.”

Power tells his life tale in the same way he attacks a racetrack every time he steps on the gas: straight ahead and through the turns with aplomb, determination and – when warranted – fieriness and feistiness.

As Power once told Malsher, who recounts the tale in his own introduction to the book, “I’ve never raced against anyone who I felt I couldn’t beat if I worked hard enough. So I go to every race feeling that my close rivals can beat me if they work hard enough. So I have to work harder.”

The most underlying element of the tome is straight from deep inside Power and what has marked his competitive, personal and professional life for all 35 of his years: his honesty and integrity. The tales he tells are, as they say in most courtrooms, the truth and nothing but the truth.

Consider one excerpt from the introduction: “I don’t want to hear anything except the truth. That way, I can improve myself and gauge my progress, and that’s important to me because I always have new goals.”

The book traces Power’s racing career, beginning when he first got behind the wheel of a go-kart when he was 6 in his native Toowoomba, Queensland – not far from Surfers Paradise where Indy cars raced for nearly two decades.

It further outlines how he followed in his father’s footsteps, sort of. Power chose not to work in the canvas industry like his father, rather taking a keen interest in his dad’s hobby of auto racing and turning it into a profession.

There’s also intrigue. After winning the 2002 Formula Holden Championship in the land down under, Power surprised many by turning his racing attention – and future – toward Indy car racing rather than Formula One or the prestigious V8 Supercar series in his native land.

One of the most important aspects of the book focuses on Power’s determination and the speed bumps he endured along the way, including:

* The disappointment of finishing second in three consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series seasons (2010-2012) before finally putting it together to win the 2014 championship.

* The physical, mental and emotional pain of not only breaking his back twice in race-related crashes, but the tragic loss of one of his close friends and toughest competitors, Dan Wheldon.

* The frustration and self-doubt even while racing for one of INDYCAR’s premier organizations, Team Penske, where he has been since 2009. Even though he’s won 25 races to date in his career, Power also laments how he thought he’d never win a championship.

That is, until he finally captures that elusive title in 2014 – becoming the first Australian-born Indy car champion. For Power, in a way, it’s where the next chapter of his life begins.

“During 2014, I kept thinking, ‘Just one championship would be fine,’ something you’ve got for all time,” he writes in the final quote of the book. “But it’s not enough. I want to win the Indy 500 and I want to win the championship again … and I want to keep doing that, keep going for it.”

Power fans will definitely enjoy this 329-page retrospect. Even if you cheer for other drivers, you’re still likely to enjoy how the book delves so deeply into not only Power, but also his friends and foes on the racetrack, how he became a “sheer force” in the Verizon IndyCar Series and the inspiring story that pulls no punches.

From the fans