Does Power really have the willpower to block all that out?

"Probably not," he said, without blinking. "I don't think it's possible not to worry. But it's only when you think about it that you worry. That's what worrying is, thinking about it. I think being in the situation a couple of times, though, actually helps."

Last Sunday, Power looked like he would win the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. But he finished second after a delay in his pit on a tire change combined with slow traffic on the course under caution allowed his teammate, Ryan Briscoe, to take the lead on the closing laps and go on to win.

"That's sports," Power said. "It's what happens in sports. Ups and downs. It's just the way it goes and it's to be expected. One of the great things about IndyCar is that you don't know who is going to win. It's really awesome.

"And honestly, this is the most competitive field I've ever been in."

But Power said Baltimore's curvy, bumpy and possibly sweltering course suits him.

"All the bumps, we loved it last year," he said. "Every stand was full of people. On the parade lap, it was thrilling to see all the stands full. It's inspiring. And the track being physical and almost unbearable, as well, when it's hot, I like it. The more physical it is, the more fit you are, the better you do — and we train like a triathlete."

The street course won't be quite the same. It will still run down Pratt Street for the start and circle round past the Inner Harbor before making that elbow-like turn the drivers call a hairpin at the Science Center on Light Street.

But getting down Pratt and through the first turn onto Light will actually be faster, now that the chicane, the series of small, tight, man-made turns designed to slow cars down before they reached the light rail tracks, has been removed. And the first turn has been widened, encouraging drivers to enter the corner side-by-side.

It is a situation Power thinks will add to the fun of the race for the fans, as well as for the drivers, but he does add a word of caution.

"I think taking the chicane out will make us a good 15 miles per hour quicker," he said. "It will also make the railroad tracks that much bumpier. It might be fine – I hope. If it is you'll be cruising by the time you reach that first turn and that will make it as challenging as it was, if not more so."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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