IndyCar champ’s award speech goes awry as he struggles to read teleprompter

(From left) Tim Cindric, Wil Power and Roger Penske pose for a photo during the 2014 IndyCar Championship Celebration.

LOS ANGELES – It was three hours before 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power was to go on stage Sunday night at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles and he had just completed an interview for the Honda IndyCar Report on RACEDAY on FOX Sports Radio. Three hours to go and a driver who fearlessly races against risks in every race was already getting nervous about delivering his championship speech.

Team Penske public relations director Merrill Cain told Power it was easy – just speak from the heart and jot down a few notes for the teleprompter.

“Good idea,” Power said. “If I could just read it off the teleprompter, I’ll be fine.”

Fast forward to the crowning moment of Power’s racing career as he finally stood in front of the packed theater of INDYCAR executives, fellow drivers, the media and fans to accept the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship and face the television cameras that were taping the ceremony for later airing.

Power lost track of the teleprompter and his epic fail led to high comedy.

The IndyCar Series driver from Toowoomba, Australia couldn’t have messed up his speech any more than if he had intentionally tried. It left the audience doubling over in laughter and Power trying to make the best of the comical situation.

“There’s something I forgot to mention here – oh yeah, crew members,” Power said, as he continued to name off the key members of his crew at Team Penske. “The sponsors – go through the sponsors – go up (on the teleprompter) OK, go back down.

“Now, I’m all over the place. Sponsors, now, sorry. I shouldn’t even read the teleprompter. Where is it? Sponsors, well, definitely Verizon is a sponsor of mine.”

Power scrambled for some hand-written notes that he had as a backup, and then began ad-libbing his acceptance speech.

“What else?” Power said. “This is definitely one of the worst speeches ever.

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“Honestly, I have had not much sleep. I didn’t even write this speech; they jotted it down for me and then put it up (on the teleprompter). This is crazy. It’s a bit like my head right now. I think I should just finish up now.”

And then it was pointed out he forgot someone very important.

“Oh yeah, my wife Lizzie,” Power said. “She’s put up with a lot over the last few weeks. I don’t want to embarrass you but she definitely deals with a lot of insanity. Thank you Babe. I love you.

“That’s it. Thank you. I think we should let everyone go and drink now. This speech is all over the place.”

Power did have his moments of lucidity, however. Such as when he recognized three-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon of New Zealand.

“Something that is very confusing to me is Scott Dixon – he’s three-time champ, has won the Indy 500 and he’s from New Zealand,” Power said. “It’s something that didn’t make sense to me. Then I found out he was actually born in Australia. He’s from Brisbane.

“He’s an Aussie so it all makes sense.”

Even if Power’s teleprompter fail and acceptance speech made so sense at all.


Be sure to catch Bruce Martin’s Honda IndyCar Report on RACEDAY on FOX Sports Radio every Sunday from 6-8 a.m. ET.