Power Wins From Pole at Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (May 9, 2015) – Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power backed up his Verizon P1 Award and track qualifying lap record with a dominant victory today in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Power, driving the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, led 65 of the 82 laps and won by 1.5023 seconds over Graham Rahal on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Power’s 25th career victory broke a tie with Bobby Rahal and Ralph DePalma for 16th on the all-time Indy car list and tied Gordon Johncock for 15th place.

Power is the fifth different winner in as many Verizon IndyCar Series races this season with the new aerodynamic bodywork platforms supplied by Chevrolet and Honda. He moved to second in the championship standings – five points (171-166) behind teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who earned his third podium finish of the season – entering the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 24.

“I’m halfway there. The Indy 500 is on my mind and I’m very determined to get it done,” said Power, who seeks to become the first driver to win on the road course and 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. “In this race, the first lap was as fast as the last lap. Honestly, I think it was staying ahead at the start and the restart and then it was managing that traffic and just the pit sequence.

“My crew did an awesome job and saved enough fuel there at the end with Graham coming hard. I’m really happy to win here at this awesome facility. I just want to get one two weeks from now.”

Rahal, carrying the Honda banner in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake entry for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, was runner-up for the second consecutive race.

“The pit stops were good, we were able to make some moves when we had to. I gave it everything I had, just as Barber (Motorsports Park on April 26), to catch Power. He was just a little too strong,” said Rahal, who qualified 17th.

Four-time Indy car champion Sebastien Bourdais finished a season-high fourth for his third consecutive top 10 in the No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs-KVSH Racing Chevrolet, and Charlie Kimball advanced nine spots from to his starting position to finish a season-high fifth in the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

For the second time in three races, there was only one caution flag. A full-course caution was called on Lap 1 as multiple cars were involved in an incident entering Turn 1.

The caution was costly for front-row starter Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves, who qualified third in his 300th Indy car start. Following two caution laps, it was a sprint to the finish for the 25 entries, but Castroneves rallied to finish sixth and Dixon 10th.

Teams return Monday to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Indianapolis 500 practice. Qualifications are May 16-17.

Of note:
Sean Rayhall (8Star Motorsports) drove to his first Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires win in the second race of the series’ weekend doubleheader. Rayhall crossed the finish line 4.9438 seconds ahead of RC Enerson (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian). Max Chilton (Carlin) finished third. After seven of 16 races, Ed Jones (Carlin) holds the provisional points lead (176), 14 ahead of Jack Harvey (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian). …Santiago Urrutia (Team Pelfrey) won the third Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires race of the weekend, finishing 1.0238 seconds ahead of Will Owen (Juncos Racing). Placing third was Timothe Buret (Juncos Racing). …Nico Jamin (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) completed a victory sweep of the two Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda races on the IMS road course, winning today’s 21-lap race by 4.8666 seconds over teammate Aaron Telitz. Anthony Martin (John Cummiskey Racing) finished third. Jamin has won three straight USF2000 races and four of the eight thus far this season. He also reclaimed the lead in the championship standings.

ANGIE’S LIST GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS POST-RACE QUOTES:

ROGER PENSKE (Owner, Team Penske): “It’s a credit to the whole team, the guys back at the shop, the drivers have just been outstanding all season. I guess we’ve got nine poles in a row. What we’ve got to do is get one coming up next weekend. It’s a credit to the reliability. The Chevy engines were strong obviously, you could see that all day. Will Power had one of his best days, never missed a beat and was out front all day long. This bodes well for us as we move into Memorial Day (weekend for the Indianapolis 500).”

BOBBY RAHAL (Co-owner, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing): (About son Graham’s second-place finish): “He didn’t make any mistakes and you could tell he was driving hard, the pit stops were fabulous and here we are. It shows Alabama (Barber Motorsports Park) wasn’t a fluke, doesn’t it? This is a kid that’s got tremendous talent. He and the engineers are really clicking and I think it’s going to get stronger and stronger as the year goes on. This should move us up on the championship. I think we have more points this year than we had all of last year. Everybody’s clicking and what this does for your confidence is tremendous and a confident driver is the most powerful weapon you’ve got in your bag.”

WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, race winner): “The first lap was as fast as the last lap. I was really happy with the tires all day – super consistent, super gripping. Honestly, I think it was staying ahead at the start and the restart and then it was managing that traffic and just the pit sequence, man. My crew did an awesome job and saved enough fuel there at the end with Graham (Rahal) coming hard and it was good to save fuel and go fast. Full credit goes to the Verizon guys. I’m really happy to win here at this awesome facility. I just want to get one two weeks from now. That is what I want. I was just waiting for a yellow or something today because that is how these races usually play out, but if you always put yourself in that position to win, eventually it is going to come. If you keep knocking on a door, it’s going to open. That is what happened today. I was very determined to start this month off really well and we got pole and we won. Now, we’ve got pole to aim for in the ‘500.’ That’s the aim. That’s what I want. Today was one of the most physical races that I’ve done. All of that preseason fitness, that’s really paid off today.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, third place): “It was hard because I was hanging in with (Graham) Rahal and I felt like I was as good as him, if not better. Also, the fuel number got really big and I thought, ‘we need that number,’ so I started backing down just to make sure we would make it, not like last year. We pretty much ran out of gas on the last lap and it really hurt us so for me it was more about backing off and as the stint went on, I started getting better fuel numbers and it was fun. Those last 10 laps with (Sebastien) Bourdais behind, it was really hard. He was pushing really hard, but it makes it exciting. Our Verizon Chevy was really good and we have another good result for Team Penske.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I was just trying to make sure I didn’t hit anyone – and that I didn’t get hit – in that first corner. Just wanted to put the No. 3 Verizon Chevy in a good position there. Unfortunately, I clipped (Scott) Dixon in the right rear when he turned into the corner. Obviously him spinning out put me into the grass and we lost many spots. From there it was a great comeback for the team. The Verizon Chevy was really fast, but that first lap hurt us quite a bit. We were able to recover by having a fast car and by getting great fuel mileage. We learned a lot about our fuel mileage at Barber two weeks ago. Today that paid off big time.”

STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “I am very happy with my first top-10 finish of the year. We had a difficult start to the race when there was an accident in Turn 1 and I had to go through the shortcut but luckily didn’t lose any positions. We had a good strategy and I was able to move up a few more places. I had a great battle with Tony Kanaan, passing and re-passing two or three times a lap and managed to hold him off until four laps to go when he unfortunately passed me. We are very happy with the top-10 finish today and I am sure we have more coming our way.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer CFH Racing Chevrolet): “We got a good start and I was on the inside. I just dove for the inside and missed all of it, so I passed a lot of cars. That worked to our strategy because we were actually running with the leaders. We got a good restart and just pulled away from a bunch of guys at the beginning of the race. We were just holding steady. We were basically running in the top five when we came in for the pit stop. It felt like I had a wheel loose, but as it turned out there was something mechanically wrong with the car. I came back (in), which ended up being an extra pit stop that took us out of contention. It was a really good job by all of the guys, we ran really strong for a long time today. We struggled a little bit earlier in the week so it’s nice to have such a good strong run and run with the boys up front.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 8 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “I was optimistic about the race this weekend and the work we’ve done on the AFS car. The start was tough and we had some damage and had no choice but to come in and change the front wing. It was a shame we didn’t get a chance to get after it more than we were able to. We just need to put this behind us and turn our focus to Monday and start preparing the No. 17 car for the ‘500.’ I guess that’s all you can do.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Well, we had a great Target car today and I was looking forward to gaining some ground in the points after starting on the front row. There’s not much you can say about the start. We got turned around from behind and then had damage to both front and rear wings, and had to change both. Tough day for the Target car.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing gave me a great car for today’s race and we worked really hard to get into the Firestone Fast Six (in Saturday qualifying), so it’s unfortunate that the incident on the first lap in the first turn put us so far back. We were just never able to get back to where we started after losing so many positions there. A top-10 finish is always good for the points race with how competitive the field is, but we’re just still not finishing where we need to. After five road and street races, I’m definitely ready to get back out there on an oval, especially here at IMS.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs – KVSH Chevrolet): “I’m happy that we finally finished in the top five, but for sure I am a little disappointed because we got up to third after the massacre on Lap 1 in Turn 1 and we finished fourth. The race was all about track position and we got unlucky with traffic. The Circle K Mistic E-Cigs car was really good today, but we just could not pass anyone. We needed clear air and we tried a lot of things to get it, but we could never make it work. The guys did a good job in the pits, but it was just not meant to be. The good thing is I think we found a little something with the red (alternate) tires.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “A very good day. I enjoyed the race. We were fortunate to avoid the first-lap incident. I was very calm to see everything happening in front of me and I was able to make a good jump because of it. After the restart I was gradually losing a little position because the car was sliding a little bit. As the track got better because there was more rubber on it, our car was reacting better so our lap times came back. The boys did a fantastic job to get me out with very quick pit stops and I had a couple of fun overtakes on track and we came back strong for our first top-10 finish – finally! We had a trouble-free, no-mistake race, so our ABC Supply team did a great job.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda, second place): “I thought we had a very consistent car. I felt like when we toned it back a little bit, I could drive it pretty consistently throughout the race and get as close as possible to Will (Power). I didn’t know we could beat the Chevys. To be where we are this year, it feels good. It was a tough day, a physical day. A couple of hiccups: Before the last stop I decided to stay out an extra lap, it was my call and it was a bad one because I caught (Scott) Dixon and Gabby Chaves coming out of the pits. That cost us a couple seconds. So we had to make up that time on track and it was tough. … This team has really turned a corner, but those Penske guys are no slouches. It’s pretty hard to beat them. I’m very confident in myself and very confident in my team. That’s the biggest thing. I have all of the confidence in the world that Honda’s going to keep working hard and we’re going to get better aero kits and power and we’ll be able to challenge these guys even more. The biggest thing after Barber was to carry the momentum into May and now we need to carry that momentum into the ‘500’ and we’ve got that, so hopefully we can keep it going.”

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Well, it didn’t quite play out for us the way we had hoped. We really stretched the fuel windows to see if we could get one more yellow and make it without that last stop, but it just didn’t come. If it had gone our way, we probably could have made it into the top 10, but there was just too much green after the first lap. The car was OK but I just didn’t have enough grip.”

FRANCESCO DRACONE (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “We had some decent pace in the middle of the race but couldn’t maintain it. The engine, at the beginning, was very quiet, maybe just a bit fresh. Then in clean air it seemed to wake up a bit and work better. The pace was fine when in clean air. I guess it would be been nice to be able to run the engine a bit since it was changed just before the race, but it is just unlucky. The end was a bit slower because I drove into the marbles a few times letting the leaders by and then it was really hard to clean off the tires. Overall, it was a small improvement on previous races, but we are still not where we need to be.”

LUCA FILIPPI (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. I had a great start, moving up from ninth up to fourth. I was hit from behind and it broke my rear bumper, costing us 2 percent of our downforce for the entire race. I had no pace and no downforce. When we had to come in and change the wing, I lost time there. In the meantime, we had an issue with the radio as well. We were very fast in traffic and able to pass people. It was a very unfair day for us. We easily had a top-five car so this is a shame. Now it’s Ed’s (Carpenter) turn. I really hope he will finish out the month of May strong in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka car.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It was just a tough day for the whole team. It doesn’t look like we had any luck anywhere in the field for any of our guys. For us, it was a day of attrition. I’m sure a lot of people weren’t happy with us trying to get our lap back, but we were still racing the best that we could. If a yellow fell, we could’ve gotten that so that’s the reason we were pushing so hard for two-thirds of the race. It’s a shame we couldn’t get the opportunity to race today. That’s racing, sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad ones.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet): “It seemed like it was an electronic problem. The lines were burnt. It’s disappointing, for sure, but it was a mechanical problem. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do about it. I just haven’t had much luck this year so far. We’re going to keep fighting. I’m going to keep pushing. I contrast the two (winning the 2014 race and having mechanical issues in 2015) as when you win it is fun. When you don’t win, it is not fun. We were second behind Will (Power) at the start. We had the pace to keep up with him. It just didn’t go our way today. With mechanical issues, you just can’t really control it. It is what it is. The car went very sudden. The car wouldn’t shift anymore. So, it is what it is.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): “It was a tough race today, unfortunately I got caught up in the stack-up down in Turn 1 and ended up breaking off the endplate. I thought we were still fighting away after that incident and we were trying to work out how our strategy would play out. The No. 25 crew was telling me to push and then save fuel, so I stayed pretty close to the pack, but about halfway through the race we had a slight hiccup during our pit stop and we ended up losing a couple of spots. At that point we struggled a little bit to get back in it and ultimately suffered a mechanical issue. It’s a frustrating way to end the race, but that’s racing so we’ll focus on the ‘500’ now and look ahead.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): “I think I had a great first lap – I moved from P21 to ninth position. Afterwards, it was just a saving fuel kind of race; I need to work on saving fuel, but I think it was a good recovery. We’ll put this difficult weekend behind us, work hard and concentrate on the Indy 500 – that’s the big goal for this year.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): “It’s just so on top of the road – the car is not in the racetrack, I think we are fundamentally missing something. Sort of the worst-case scenario because we lost like 10 seconds in the (pit) stop. We were ahead of Ryan (Hunter-Reay), then came out almost a straightaway behind him. If we would have finished ahead of Ryan, we’d probably be leading the team in points – as bad as that looks, but right now I just have to look at the Indy 500.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We had an unfortunate start to the day – got caught out on the start and dropped a few positions when we had the chance to gain about 10 (positions); had to go through the grass and avoid (the incident in Turn 1), so it was a hole to start in to begin with and then we just worked out way up to 10th. We saved fuel all day, which is unfortunate. It’s just part of the strategy starting at the back, so we were never really able to attack and go for it. It’s kind of a product of the situation, but we definitely need to figure this out. We’re struggling to understand where the rest of the speed is.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “I misjudged the front of the field, there was a tangle at the front and there was a concertina effect. I tried to go left and there was a car there and we obviously touched and then I spun the car to avoid (Scott) Dixon. We were praying for a caution all the way through to bunch the field back up, but then the right rear camber shims fell out so we were done anyway. It’s a disappointing day, really.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, fifth place): “The No. 83 NovoLog Flex Pen Chevrolet was just really fast today and I was consistently hitting the fuel numbers they were giving me. I have to give a lot of credit to the guys on pit lane – they’re just so consistently fast. They’ve been so good all season and we just ran into bad luck in those first four races. We took advantage of the fact that we had a clear pit in and we had some really fast in and out laps. The fact that the car was so quick, all I really had to do was hit the (fuel) number they were giving me. We’ll definitely take the momentum from this solid finish into the rest of the month of May.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Angie’s List Honda): “The Angie’s List car was really good the first half of the race and we were able to keep pace with the lead pack. We got stuck behind the No. 4 car for quite a while, and that cost us a lot of time before switching to the black tires. We struggled to find the pace on the primary tire before going back to our pace on the alternate tire. We keep improving every weekend. We ran strong and had a great time representing Angie’s List in their race!”