Power returns to track

2011-11-15 11:47

Birmingham - Will Power was back in a race car on Monday for the first time since breaking his back in the 15-car accident that killed two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon in the IndyCar season finale.

Power tested his new car at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama and said he felt fine and had no soreness in his back. The test is scheduled to run two days.

The Australian driver had been sidelined since sustaining two compression fractures in his thoracic vertebrae in the crash last month in Las Vegas.

“I was very much looking forward to getting back in the car, just getting back in the swing of things," he said. "It was quite nice, and there were no problems at all. We got lots of miles in and that's basically all we're doing, just putting a lot of miles in.”

It's the second time Power has broken his back in an IndyCar accident, and the Team Penske driver has grown increasingly vocal about safety improvements.

He wrote in a column for AutoWeek that pack racing is "just too dangerous" in IndyCar. He also called his accident at Las Vegas "frightening" because his car went airborne and toward the catch fence.

Power tested the new IndyCar for Chevrolet, while Simon Pagenaud tested for Honda. Four-time series champion Dario Franchitti will test for Honda on Tuesday - the third time Franchitti will drive the new IndyCar since the season ended.

Power tested his new car once before, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but has yet to drive it on an oval. Franchitti and Tony Kanaan tested at Indianapolis Motor Speedway two weeks ago.

Power said he believes the car is good on road courses.

“The car no question is faster and has more grip,” he said.

“But it still needs some work. It still needs to get working a little better.”