Will Power had a strange season in 2013.
The three-time IndyCar Series championship runner-up struggled at the start of the season, was stricken with bad luck and was off his usual pace in qualifying during the first half of the season.
As a result, he started off the front row more often than not and was forced to race unlike has in a long-time, in the middle of the pack and without any regard. He says returning to his all-out roots made him a better driver at the end of the season when he won three of the last five events to close out the season.
"I have to say I was a lot more relaxed in racing situations," Power said. "I had spent three years being very conservative, feeling the points. It actually taught me that you just need to race hard no matter what.
"And at the end of the year, it was fun. You can just race hard, it does not matter. In fact, the results came a lot better when I did that."
Early on in the season, Power's struggles led to mistakes and accidents. During the season opener at St. Pete, he was ran over from behind by JR Hildebrand while at Barber he was ran off course twice during a pair of late restarts.
Power added that those scenarios deeper in the field taught him a great deal about racing.
"When you spend a lot of time at the front, the restarts, you're not in the pack," Power said. "I feel that my race craft was really good by the end and I enjoyed it. That's how I'll be racing this year."
After spending three seasons battling Dario Franchitti and Ryan Hunter-Reay for the season championship, Power believes that he got too focused on points rather than racing hard and winning races, the foundation to winning championships.
Recognizing that, Power believes that he is best poised to win his first championship than ever before.
"It just taught me not to think about points, but just race hard and enjoy it," Power said. "A lot of teams now are really compressed. There's no one that sticks out. Obviously Ganassi was strong on the road and street courses last year.
"But every off-season, all these teams, including us, you close the gap. The gap gets smaller and smaller."