Is this Australia’s most underappreciated athlete?

Will Power might be in the running as one of Australia’s most underappreciated athletes.

The 41-year-old from Toowoomba just keeps on delivering behind the IndyCar wheel and is doing it again in an ultra-consistent 2022 campaign.

Power is the series leader after five races, remarkably finishing either third or fourth in every event.

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He is well known and well loved among both Australian and American motorsport followers yet a string of near-misses mean he has not quite found the level of fame and adulation that his record probably deserves.

Power – who will start 11th in Monday’s (AEST) iconic Indianapolis 500 – has one IndyCar Series win (2014) and one 500 triumph (2018) to his name.

And with 40 career race wins Power ranks fifth on the all-time list behind AJ Foyt (67), Mario Andretti (52), Scott Dixon (51) and Michael Andretti (42).

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But four championship runner-up finishes (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016) have blocked him from truly joining the sport’s pantheon.

Even while leading this year’s championship, Power has not got the same headlines as Kiwi sophomore Scott McLaughlin, divisive Frenchman Romain Grosjean or young hot shot Formula 1 aspirants Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward.

Everyone is always looking for the shiny new toy.

Power discussed his legacy in a wide ranging and fascinating interview with NBC Sports.

“All you can do is look at the stats,” Power said.

“At the Indianapolis 500, I’m only a single-time winner. I’ve won once. When you look at IndyCar as an overall series and championships, then you look at race wins and poles. Everyone has their place in the sport . That’s all you can do is look at numbers to try to understand that. And, at times, that doesn’t tell the whole story.”

Power admitted that the lost championships “ate away at me a lot.”

“I could quite easily be a four-time champion if things had gone differently over the years. Being a one-time champion is very much disappointing…

“I’m an emotional person and things like that upset me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve calmed and accepted that’s life. I’m extremely lucky to be in the position I’m in. I’m lucky and blessed to have a career in motorsports, which I am.”

Before Power attempts to build on that legacy, let’s answer some of the key questions ahead of the great race.

WHAT TIME DOES THE INDY 500 START IN AUSTRALIA?

Exclusive coverage of the Indianapolis 500 starts at 1am Monday AEST with the green flag set for 2.45am.

HOW DO I WATCH THE INDY 500 IN AUSTRALIA?

Stan Sport is the only place to watch the 2022 IndyCar Series with every race streaming ad free, live and on demand.

WHAT IS THE STARTING GRID FOR THE INDY 500?

Row 1: Scott Dixon, Alex Palou, Rinus VeeKay

Row 2: Ed Carpenter, Marcus Ericsson, Tony Kanaan

Row 3: Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Romain Grosjean

Row 4: Takuma Sato, Will Power, Jimmie Johnson

Row 5: David Makulas, Josef Newgarden, Santino Ferrucci

Row 6: Simon Pagenaud, JR Hildebrand, Conor Daly

Row 7: Callum Ilott, Alexander Rossi, Graham Rahal

Row 8: Sage Karam, Marco Andretti, Devlin DeFrancesco

Row 9: Colton Herta, Scott McLaughlin, Helio Castroneves

Row 10: Kyle Kirkwood, Dalton Kellett, Juan Pablo Montoya

Row 11: Christian Lundgaard, Jack Harvey, Stefan Wilson

Kellet hits the wall during Indy 500 practice

WHO ARE THE LAST 10 INDY 500 WINNERS?

2021: Helio Castroneves

2020: Takuma Sato

2019: Simon Pagenaud

2018: Will Power

2017: Takuma Sato

2016: Alexander Rossi

2015: Juan Pablo Montoya

2014: Ryan Hunter Reay

2013: Tony Kanan

2012: Dario Franchitti

‘That guy’s a punk!’

WHO ARE THE FAVORITES FOR THE INDY 500?

$7: Scott Dixon

$7.25: Alex Palou

$9.50: Colton Herta

$10: Scott McLaughlin

$10.50: Joseph Newgarden

$11.50: Pato O’Ward

$13: Will Power

WHY DO THEY CELEBRATE WITH MILK AT THE INDY 500?

The tradition started in 1936 when driver Louis Meyer drank buttermilk in Victory Lane because his mother said it would refresh him on a hot day, according to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Indianapolis Star reports that a dairy industry executive saw a marketing opportunity and milk has been part of every race since 1956.

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