Mikhail Aleshin drove a strong race to second at Pocono Raceway on Monday, and admitted he did everything he could to clinch his maiden victory only to be denied by Will Power.
The Schmidt Peterson Motorsport driver was a contender for much of the afternoon, leading laps early after starting from pole position, and making the changes necessary to his car in order to bring it back to the front later in the race.
Aleshin admitted that Power was just too fast for him in the closing laps, but was delighted to bring home a strong result for himself and the team, and feels a first win is not far away.
“The team did an amazing job with all the pit stops and the car was good,” said Aleshin. “We needed some changes on some of the stops. One of which wasn’t very good and that’s when I dropped (back) but on the next pit stop we gained everything (position) we had lost.
“Unfortunately, in the end, I just couldn’t get Will (Power). He was just too fast. Seriously, I was on the edge. I almost crashed a couple times when I was right behind him. I had wiggles and I just couldn’t get him.
“You never know what is going to happen and plus today, you had so much wind coming in. So, I’m just happy to bring the SMP Racing No. 7 up to second place.
“We didn’t get the victory, but we were very close. Will was just so fast. He deserves it. In the end I just couldn’t do anything with him. I’m just happy for the team They just took an amazing step forward to bring my car home in second position and they had some amazing pit stops.”
Aleshin revealed that he now loves racing on oval circuits, and has performed well in both 500-mile races at Indianapolis and Pocono, which is an amazing turn around after being injured in a horror crash at Fontana back in 2014.
“I didn’t know for sure at the end of my first year, obviously after Fontana especially,” said Aleshin. “But now I understand it and now I like ovals. I like them even more than most of the road courses.
“Here, it was just awesome, such intense racing. You’re always at the edge. You’re always at the edge and at speeds of 220 mph.”