Will Power knew the moment he crashed early in the final race of the 2012 IndyCar season in Fontana, Calif., that his 17-point lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay for the drivers' championship would not hold up. After all, Hunter-Reay just had to finish fifth to ace out Power and win the title. In the end, Hunter-Reay finished fourth and claimed his first ever IndyCar championship.

When the 2013 IndyCar season starts Sunday, Power will return driving his familiar No. 12 Chevrolet for Team Penske. Power spoke recently about the new season, his expectations and Sunday's IndyCar opener at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Are you ready for 2013?

Power » "We all feel at Team Penske to a man that we have unfinished business to take care of this year. There are no guarantees in either racing or life, but we know we have a great car, a world-class owner in Roger Penske and a dedicated sponsor in Verizon. They have given us the tools to win an IndyCar Championship. Now it is up to us to make it happen. It all starts with Sunday's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg."

Talk about the challenges of the St. Petersburg course.

Power » "I like to get to town a little early in the week, hit the beach and just enjoy the area. As for why I like the course, it is very much a driver's layout. Good, long straightaways as well as a number of quite tricky turns, but they are great areas for passing. There can be a breeze coming off the bay that can cause you some interesting problems, but overall it is a fun place to run."

What do you have to do to win the IndyCar championship?

Power » "There are five of our 18 races on oval tracks, and while we did very well on both the road and street courses, for some reason we just have not done well on those ovals. We know that we need to do better on those tracks and then beat out 20 or so talented drivers, all who have the same aspirations that I do, and we will be fine. Seriously, we feel we can challenge again for the title, and it all starts Sunday."

Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.