Long Beach Quotes, Notes and Post-Qualifying Transcript

APRIL 17, 2015

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, POLE SITTER: “First off, I want to thank AAA. It was awesome. It was on rails. We really worked very hard. The team from yesterday, especially last night, we changed everything in the car and it was awesome. I want to thank Roger (Penske, team owner), Jonathan (Diuguid, engineer), Travis (Law, chief mechanic) and really the whole team. It was not pretty last night, but it proved that we were able to keep pushing. The strategy was great. To get the pole with the teammates I have, it’s really cool. Now we have to keep pushing. Chevy did a great job as well because (the series) took away some things from us but we were able to overcome those issues and now we’re in the No. 1 spot.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 2ND: “In the first practice we were really good. We went one direction for the second practice and went slower, tried something this morning and went even slower, so I was like, ‘Oh, let’s put it back. We spent two days trying to figure it out and then just put it back the way we started and things were good. Welcome to motor racing. I really thought I had it (pole) there, but I made a mistake in the last corner, but it is what it is.”

SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET. QUALIFIED 3RD: “The Target car actually rolled off really well here – better than we normally do. We came into this weekend with a different mindset and I’m really proud of everyone on the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team for getting it going. We seemed to do really good on the black tires. We were hoping for bigger improvements and more of a time difference with the reds from the blacks, but we just didn’t find it. We were still quick enough, but hopefully we can find that time tomorrow during the race. Long Beach is always a tough one and strategy is definitely going to be top-of-mind

SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 PENSKE TRUCK RENTAL CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 5TH: “It’s been good. We’ve been fast in every practice. Congrats, Helio, good job. Team Penske is doing a great job. Personally we picked up a sudden understeer, don’t understand why, in the last qualifying session. Overall it’s been a good weekend so far. Hope it stays that way tomorrow.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 67 HARTMAN OIL CFH RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 6TH: “This was a good recovery from practice one as we didn’t roll of the truck stellar. The CFH Racing team is so good at figuring things out and recovering, and that’s exactly what we did. I am happy and proud of my team, they’re strong. Sixth is not as high up as we wanted to be, but we’re right in the thick of it. We’ve got a strong chance to challenge tomorrow, we’ve just got keep our nose clean for once around this place and we should definitely be primed for a good result.”

TONY KANAAN, NO. 10 NTT DATA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 7TH: “It’s frustrating that we didn’t make it into the Firestone Fast 6, especially after the lap times we were running in that first round. We made a change between Q1 and Q2 and that unfortunately cost us a few tenths in the NTT DATA Chevrolet. We were less than one-tenth from sixth, so it was definitely tight. That’s what I love about INDYCAR though, the competition is so strong and I think tomorrow’s race will definitely be exciting.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO.11 TEAM HYDROXYCUT KVSH RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 9TH: “Disappointed definitely. The Hydroxycut machine is not where we want it to be, but it could have been a lot worse. We could have gotten taken out straightaway in the first round of qualifying. We just don’t have the speed. It has been a trying weekend so far. I think we got a little bit lost, so we need to hit the reset button. We will do that and see what happens in the warm up tomorrow morning.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 8 AFS CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 11TH: “I’m just still really excited to be back in the car and racing in such a competitive field. Everyone is just running so close and it’s really fun to be out there driving. The car was really good and it handled amazingly in that first round. The red came out perfectly for us and allowed us to finish in P2 and move onto the next round. We came out in the second round really fast, but ended up picking up some understeer that killed the momentum we’d been building. I’m happy with the car for tomorrow, and I think we’ll be able to come out fast and make our move to the front.

LUCA FILIPPI, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA CFH RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 14TH: “We had much more potential and the ability to get into Round 2. Unfortunately, we were caught in traffic and when we were just starting to push on the red Firestone Firehawks, the red flag came out. It’s a bit of a shame, but it’s important that Josef (Newgarden) proved our cards are fast and the team has done a good job. I’m very positive for tomorrow. Our potential is much better than where we started. We can really aim for a strong finish here at Long Beach.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 83 NOVOLOG FLEXPEN CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 15TH: We were so close to transferring through to the next round – I think it was something like half of a tenth of a second of my fast lap. There was a local yellow out there that I slowed down for and ultimately lost that tenth off my lap time that would’ve allowed us to transfer. We were actually penalized for not slowing down enough in the local yellow zone, so I lost my fastest lap and moved down a few starting positions. I’m excited about taking the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen into the race here in Long Beach tomorrow. I think we have a good car and great people on the stand to call strategy. We have 80 laps to sort it out and come from 15th up to the front.”

WILL POWER, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET , QUALIFIED 18TH: ON QUALIFYING EFFORT: “I’m just kicking myself for not finishing the lap that I had a bobble on. I turned the engine down, coasted for a bit and took off again. It’s going to be tough. You know how these IndyCar races go. Anything can happen. We have to be positive and hope a yellow falls our way. That’s kind of our only chance to make something of it.”

DO YOU START PLANNING HOW YOU’RE GOING TO ATTACK THE RACE TODAY? “You have to do it on the fly a bit. We just have to have a talk about it and see what we can do from there. It’s hard to pass… probably a little harder to pass with these cars, too. The good thing is that we have plenty of red tires. We’ll do our best and see what we can come up with.”


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Helio Castroneves Puts Chevrolet on Pole with Track Record at Long Beach
Juan Pablo Montoya Qualified Second for All-Chevrolet Front Row

· Five of Firestone Fast Six were Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers
· 2015 Corvette Stringray Pace Car will lead Castroneves, Montoya and remainder of Verizon IndyCar Series field to green flag for Grand Prix of Long Beach
· Seven of Team Chevy drivers score top-10 starting positions for Sunday’s race

LONG BEACH (Calif.) – April 18, 2015 – For the 42nd time in his career, Helio Castroneves will lead the Verizon IndyCar Series field to the green flag. Castroneves powered his No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet to the pole with a track record of one minute 06.6294 seconds/106.331 mph in today’s Firestone Fast Six qualifying. It is the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner’s second Verizon Pole Award for the Grand Prix of Long Beach, his first coming in 2001, and his first of the 2015 season.

Castroneves’ Team Penske teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet, gave the Chevrolet Aero Kit with integrated 2.2 liter V6 twin turbo-charged direct injected engine the front row for race number three of the 2015 season. Montoya, the current Series’ point leader, was the winner of the season opening event on the Streets of St. Petersburg.

“Congratulations to Helio Castroneves and Team Penske for winning the pole today and setting a new track record (1:06.6294) at the iconic Grand Prix of Long Beach,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program, Manager for the Verizon IndyCar Series. “With drivers from all four Chevy teams qualifying in the top 9, Team Chevy is well represented at the front of the field for the start of the race on Sunday. Kudos to our teams’ and technical partners’ preparations to demonstrate such pace and have numerous Chevy drivers eclipse the old track record during the rounds of qualifying. The race tomorrow is sure to be an exciting one for the fans as Team Chevy drivers wield the new Chevrolet Aero Kits and integrated 2.2L Twin Turbo V6 engines around this spectacular street circuit.”

Completing the Firestone Fast Six drivers were: third place qualifier Scott Dixon in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet; Ryan Hunter-Reay (Honda) fourth; Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet, fifth and Josef Newgarden, No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet qualified sixth.

Tony Kanaan, No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, and Sebastien Bourdais, No. 11 Team Hydroycut KVSH Racing Chevrolet qualified seventh and ninth to give Team Chevy seven of the top-10 qualifiers for Sunday’s race.

The Grand Prix of Long Beach Indy is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. PT/4p.m. ET on Sunday, April 19 with live television coverage on NBC Sports Network and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, plus Sirius channel 213 and XM channel 209 and www.indycar.com. Live timing and scoring can also be found on www.indycar.com.

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: We’re pleased to be joined by one of our front row starters, Juan Pablo Montoya. Juan is a former race winner, won here in 1999.

Juan, you were 15th fastest overall in practice, so some things came together before qualifying that put you on the front row. What would you say those things were.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think yesterday we were pretty good. In the first practice we were really good. I mean, I had a couple of laps, had tons of traffic. Went one direction for the second practice, went slower. Tried something this morning, went even slower. I’m like, Put it back. We put it back.

We spend two days trying to figure out. We just put it back the way we started and it was good. Welcome to motor racing (laughter).

But it’s good. I mean, I made a mistake in the last corner. Just too greedy.

THE MODERATOR: Your team obviously is very strong.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Will had a problem in the first one.

THE MODERATOR: Will is obviously a staple kind of in the Fast Six. Will it be strange for you not seeing him up front?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It’s a long race. Tim Cindric is really good at calling strategies and those weird things. I’m sure he’s going to be there at the end somehow.

It’s funny, sometimes you when you start at the back, you can figure out a race strategy. When you’re in the front, you’re kind of tight to protect that lead. When you’re in the back, you gamble. A lot of times it pays off. Look at last week. We did everything right, but we threw it away.


Q. You won here before. Obviously you’re disappointed with not getting pole. What do you take from your previous experience here? Do you feel like you’re back 100% now?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah, I feel pretty good. I mean, speed-wise it’s pretty good. Actually bounced off the wall today in qualifying, but I was pretty good. I was very proud of that. Always that close, but today actually I did bounce it twice. It was good. Not hard, just bump. You know what I mean? I mean, when you can do that and produce lap times, you’re doing a good job.

It’s coming. I mean, it’s not that I forgot to drive, it’s that I haven’t been in open-wheel for so long. You adapt to the cars. Last year was a big transition year, understanding setups and things.

If you look at my setups, I told this before, if you look at my setups compared to the other three cars, it’s completely different, but it works for me.

Q. What do you think of the aero package here?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think it’s great. I mean, honestly the cars drive so much better than last year.

Q. What about turbulence and things like that?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It’s the same thing. I don’t think it’s that bad. NOLA was fine, St. Pete was fine. I could follow Will pretty close.

I mean, I think it’s okay. Chevy keeps doing a really good job. Everybody at Team Penske and my Verizon car is pretty amazing.

THE MODERATOR: We’re also joined by Josef Newgarden who will be starting sixth.

Josef, you have two top-five starts here and a best finish of 13th. What is it that’s so challenging about this race?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, geez, I don’t know. Trying to get through turn one in the first lap. That’s normally the hardest thing here. I’ve not had much success around this place in the race. I always have something come up. Just didn’t fall our way.

But we always seem to be pretty quick. We had a pretty disastrous practice one here. We tried something different and it didn’t work. I thought we recovered really well as a group, got ourselves some speed again, luckily got in the Fast Six.

I think we’ve got a fast car, just not quite quick enough on older tires. I think we need to work on that for the morning. That’s what’s going to be difficult for our team going into tomorrow. We can be quick, when we go to old tires, it’s been a little difficult for us. Q2, we were faster. Couldn’t hold that pace with old rubber.

That’s going to be our challenge tomorrow. I think if we can stay out of that, I think we have a chance of fighting for a podium or a win tomorrow.

Q. Did your teams find any difficulty in adjusting to the regulations based on the tethering of the wing parts, any of the adjustments they mandated?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I don’t think you notice it that much on a street course. A road course would be a much bigger impact. We’re trim here. It makes a little difference. But it’s what it is, you know. I’m sure Chevy will figure out a way so that we can win again.

Q. Juan, Coletti was running a pretty good clip, then clipped the wall. Can you relate to when you get greedy for a lap on a street circuit?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: You just got to know. If you think you’re going to hit it not hard enough, keep your foot on it. Most of the time when you think you’re going to get it wrong, pretty sure you’re going to get it wrong. At this level, you get into a corner, the thing gets sideways. There’s a little time in the braking zones, you go, Oh. You already know there’s no way. Don’t even try. We’ve done that already.

Q. Juan, track record fell today. Can you compare and contrast the different cars here? Different package entirely.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think this car just drives so much better. The technology in the cars, it’s amazing. What Chevy and Honda have both done with the smaller engines. I mean, we got a ton of power. We make a lot of power.

The acceleration of these cars is amazing. Big difference with the old engines. Was pretty similar acceleration, but it kept going a little further in the straights. But the cars didn’t brake nowhere as good as this. They had no stability like we have nowadays. It’s a big difference.

Q. Josef, only non-Penske, non-Andretti car in the Fast Six. Is this earlier than you thought you were going to get into the Fast Six or was this when you were hoping to get in here for the first time?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think Penske looks really good. Honestly, I know Juan is here. Let me tell you, Juan, you did some amazing work over the off-season. I’m sure your contributions were amazing, too.

Seriously, though, I think Penske looks the strongest. They’ve really got a strong car looks like underneath, they have good power down. We’ve been inching towards that. We started off a little slow. We found some setups that get us closer. So I think we can challenge.

For instance, today in Q2, we were really strong. We were right behind Simon there, just a nick off of him. I needed new tires to be able to do that. There’s a little bit of a gap there when I start to wear the tires out. Can’t quite keep the grip underneath me. There’s something there that we need to tweak a little bit more, then I think we’ll be closer to Penske.

Right now we’re close, but there’s still a little bit there that we’re searching for. Obviously Ryan has done a good job. Andretti is getting a little bit better, too.

You’re going to see that. Penske came out of the gate strong, but everybody is going to close the gap throughout the season. No one is going to stay ahead. Each weekend you have to be fighting to find more and more out of the car. It’s crazy. You think you find a setup, it works well, you keep running it, it’s successful. That’s not how it works. You need to keep pushing forward, not big chunks, but you have to keep developing. Everyone is doing that, too.

I think you’re going to see more competition for the Penske guys as the season goes on. You’re not going to see anybody run away with it.

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Scott Dixon, starting third in tomorrow’s race.

Scott, you have a best start of fifth here, best finish of fourth. Tell us how conditions were in qualifying today and what you think we can expect from tomorrow’s race.

SCOTT DIXON: That’s a good start. 12 years, maybe my best starting position. That’s pretty good. I’m finally learning how to get around this place.

Yeah, as you said, statistically and race-wise it’s not been a strong track for us. Start of the season, whatever, it’s been a tough one.

Car rolled off. We were quickest in practice one. Practice two we had some issues with the engine and some wiring things which we didn’t get to run. For today the car seemed good on black tires. I was really surprised the times we could do on the blacks. I guess our downfall was maybe not gaining the full amount on the reds, which was a little bit frustrating.

All in all, third place, good starting position. Obviously in the starting position to have a good crack at winning this race, which is obviously our main aim here.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Scott.

Q. Scott, a bit of a slow start this season. This is nothing new. 2013 same situation, then you saw what happened. Put in context where you are at the moment, what you expect to see developing over the next while.

SCOTT DIXON: A little frustrating. I think St. Pete, that was just a situation that we couldn’t get around, trying to compete with no rear jacks, it’s like running with three wheels. It wasn’t a possibility.

NOLA was frustrating for everybody involved. It was frustrating. Tried to be a little overcautious. It was not a race towards the end. Real frustrated there because we tested there a lot. The car was super fast. It’s just one of those things.

It’s a rough start. I think we’re 50 points back already. A big margin that we need to regain. But it’s the early part of the season. Hopefully we can turn it around.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll introduce Simon Pagenaud. Simon, you were fastest in overall practice. Been a strong start to the weekend for you. What’s been going right so far in Long Beach?

SIMON PAGENAUD: It’s been good. We’ve been fast in every practice. Congrats, Helio, good job. Team Penske is doing a great job. Personally we picked up a sudden understeer, don’t understand why, in the last qualifying session. Overall it’s been a good weekend so far. Hope it stays that way tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: And last but not least, our polesitter, Helio Castroneves.

Helio, you set a new track record in qualifying today. Did you think you had the speed to break that record today?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: Well, we were going for it. Every time I go to the racetrack, I think we have not only a great speed but a great team. That’s what it’s all about.

Ryan, just to let you know, you guys keep me young. You guys keep me pushing. That’s why it’s fun, because I not only have you as a competitor, but I have inside my team Simon, Will, and Gordito Pablo, which is okay. But we still kicking ass, both of us. We’re first and second in the championship. We’re starting first and second. Guess it doesn’t matter, age or size (laughter).

The thing is, that’s what keeps is fun in our team. We feed from each other. In my team, to be honest, the group, the caliber of drivers in my team is awesome. Will, Simon and Juan Pablo. I mean, the talent that they have there.

For us, it’s great because we keep pushing. Yesterday wasn’t the best. AAA guys did a great job changing a lot. This morning we started the weekend. That’s why for me it was great because my engineer, and Roger with the strategy, it was spot on. So now we got to finish the job.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll continue with questions.

Q. Helio, based on your opening comments, do you think that Juan would have an advantage with the extra downforce?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: No. I tell you, sometimes it’s good. In the rain, yes (laughter).

No, but all jokes aside, we knew this year Juan Pablo would be really strong. It was impressive winning a race. And for us, we speak from all the entire guys, we’re pushing. I believe the result that the team is doing well, it’s because of the pre-season that we were pushing.

Nobody has an advantage at the moment. You see it. Everybody’s pretty consistent. Now we just got to keep going. We’re really focused on giving Roger again the championship. Obviously I want to do myself after finishing second so many times. But at the end of the day I want to put Team Penske in the number one spot.

Q. How would you say the difficulty of the track has changed from last year till now?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: The track is pretty much the same in terms of layout. The cars have changed. We’re talking about the aero kit, that we are one second quicker than last year. That’s the things that have changed. All of a sudden the brake marks become very short. Not much time for me to thinking.

Those are the difficulty challenges that I think every one of us having right now. But the track, it’s pretty much the same.

Q. For the Chevy drivers, do you really miss the rabbit ears on the car? I don’t know if that is extra drag down the long front straightaway. How is it affecting the way you run? Is it a qualifying or race issue?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: All I can, yes, it did affect us. It’s part of the aero kit. But in the end of the day we understand that the series decided to make a decision and take those off. We got to dance according to the music, let’s put it that way.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations and good luck in the race tomorrow.

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