Freshly crowned Indianapolis 500 champion Will Power may be more familiar with Australian Rules Football or Australian Rugby, but he is well aware of “America’s Team” – the Dallas Cowboys.
Power, the first Australian to win the Indy 500 in its 102-year history, enjoyed a private tour of The Star and then had an opportunity to visit with a number of Dallas Cowboys players, coaches and even a few legends.
And when the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion with Team Penske needed any help identifying any of them, he leaned on his wife, Liz, and brother-in-law, Billy Cannon. Having grown up in Plano, Texas, the Cannon family members are all avid Dallas Cowboys fans and Liz even won a contest to be a junior Dallas Cowboys cheerleader on Thanksgiving Day as a kid.
For Liz and Billy, it may have felt like winning the Indianapolis 500 all over again.
“I’ve been to like four Super Bowls and didn’t really know the players or the teams,” said Power, who was a special guest of his sponsor Verizon at those games. “My brother-in-law is just an absolute football nut. Dallas Cowboys fan. So is my wife. So it’s pretty cool to bring them along to do this.”
The group enjoyed a special tour of the facilities, watched a portion of practice and then Power visited with Cowboys players as they came off the field.
He signed nearly three dozen commemorative milk bottles for the players while a few others such as running back Ezekiel Elliott, offensive tackle Tyron Smith and head coach Jason Garrett also received a signed Justin cowboy hat that is traditionally given to the winner of next week’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, where Power is the defending champ.
Power also got the opportunity to meet a few Cowboys legends that were on hand, including running backs Calvin Hill and Daryl “Moose” Johnston.
Regardless of what type of football one follows, Power came away impressed with the size and strength of the Cowboys players.
“These guys are huge,” Power said after watching practice. “I can’t believe they run at each other and they’re almost 300 pounds – and they run fast. We have to keep kind of small. It’s very physical in the car. I don’t think people realize that. You have to be fit. If you’re not fit, you’re going to make mistakes and you’re not going to be competitive. But these guys, I don’t think I’d ever put a helmet on and let them run at me.”
Will Power, along with his wife Liz and brother-in-law Billy Cannon, enjoyed a lengthy and candid conversation with Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett following practice.
Garrett appreciated the visit and skill set of a different type athlete as well as having his family members on hand that were die-hard Cowboy fans. He posed for photos with them and presented Power with a Dallas Cowboys NFL football signed by him with a congratulatory note. Liz already declared that the football has a place reserved on their mantle at their home in North Carolina.
“Congratulations. That’s an incredible thing to win that race,” Garrett told Power. “It’s a privilege to have you here today. I know the guys will be talking about this in the locker room.”
“I’ve been working toward that for about 20 years now,” Power told Garrett. “It’s like winning the Super Bowl. It’s everything you want to achieve as a race car driver.”
With a number of Cowboys fans as family members and relatives, Power is keenly aware of the prestige of being the head coach of one of the NFL’s most prestigious franchises.
“You have an amazing job you have,” Power told Garrett. “It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun.”
Responded Garrett: “You should talk.”