Power was turned down by Ganassi

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Power was turned down by Ganassi

Speaking on the Rusty’s Garage podcast, Power explained that he met with Chip Ganassi Racing’s IndyCar boss Mike Hull at the end of 2007 to discuss a drive.

However the Australian says Hull hinted that he lacked the “Chip Factor” and talks didn’t progress beyond the initial meeting.

“We met at Starbucks,” said Power. “I’d had a really good year in ChampCar [in 2007]. I called Mike Hull and he said ‘meet me at Starbucks’.

“He talked about ‘you’ve got to have the Chip Factor’, he called it the Chip Factor in drivers. Guys like Montoya, Jimmy Vasser, Zanardi, these guys that drove for him. I had a good conversation with him but never heard back.

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“Years later, when I was absolutely kicking arse, Mike Hull did say ‘our biggest regret is not signing you’. That was 2011, I reckon, when I’d done really well for Penske.”

After talks with CGR didn’t progress, Power wound up staying with KV Racing for what proved to be a difficult 2008 campaign.

That left him scrambling for a drive ahead of the 2009 season, Power admitting he genuinely considered returning to Australia to replace Dick Johnson Racing-bound James Courtney at Stone Brothers Racing in Supercars.

He then signed a deal to race in the ill-fated A1GP category, only to back out of the agreement on the advice of his wife.

That left him free to sign for Team Penske as a replacement for an under-fire Helio Castroneves who was battling tax evasion charges.

“[Stone Brothers Racing] were looking for someone,” explained Power. “[Team owner] Ross Stone sent me an email. If I remember correctly, I spoke to him. That was certainly an option. I think I ummed and ahhed for a long time. At that point, it was so hard for me to give up the open-wheel thing.

“I actually signed a contract with A1GP, and my wife had told me ‘do not sign that contract, what if Penske or Ganassi have a ride?’. I’d had a horrible year, I was done, I had no ride. Is said ‘that will never happen, you’re crazy’. And I signed a contract under great stress because of the fights me and my wife had over it.

“My wife convinced me so much, I called them and said ‘I want out of the contract’. I got Derrick Walker to get me out of it. Then Helio Castroneves [got] arrested, and that was the Penske seat that I would end up getting.”

Power has since won 36 IndyCar races for the Penske organisation, including the 2018 Indy 500, and was crowned series champion in 2014.

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