Power Breaks Track Record at Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS (May 8, 2015) – Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power earned the Verizon P1 Award for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 with a lap of 1 minute, 9.4886 seconds in the Firestone Fast Six qualifying segment on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Power broke Simon Pagenaud’s year-old track lap record of 1:09.6716 set in the first segment of qualifying. Pagenaud went on the win the 82-lap race from the fourth starting position.
It was the third track record eclipsed with the new aerodynamic road/street and short oval bodywork packages supplied by Chevrolet and Honda in four Verizon IndyCar Series races this season where qualifying has been completed. The other race — the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana — was an inaugural event and its starting grid was set by entrant points after rain and lightning curtailed qualifications.
“To have a pole here at Indianapolis – at this track – is just such a great feeling and I felt like I was strong all week (in three practice sessions),” said Power, driving the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. “I just missed out on pole at Barber (April 25), so I was pretty determined today and the guys did a great job with the car.”
Scott Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, was second quick in the Firestone Fast Six (1:09.7156) for his third consecutive qualifying in the first two rows. Helio Castroneves (1:09.7388), who will mark his 300th Indy car start Saturday and his 40th birthday Sunday, will join Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya (1:09.8072) on Row 2. Castroneves had earned the Verizon P1 Award at the past two races.
Pagenaud (1:09.8715), driving the No. 22 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet and the only driver besides Castroneves to start in the top in each race this season, and Tony Kanaan (1:10.2772) in the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet will be on Row 3.
It was Power’s 38th career pole, which is sixth on the all-time Indy car list, and the 227th for Team Penske. A Team Penske driver has started from pole in each of the five races this season.
Sebastian Saavedra claimed the Verizon P1 Award in 2014 with a lap of 1:23.8822 in wet/drying conditions.
DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:
Indianapolis Colts Punter to Pace Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Field
Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee has been named to drive the pace car for the start of Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. To prepare for his role as driver of the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 on the IMS road course, he was schedule to receive a tutorial this evening from two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, who drives the pace car at all Verizon IndyCar Series road/street events.
“I’ve done some cool things around Indianapolis over the years, but the opportunity to drive a pace car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has to be among the coolest,” McAfee said. “But it’s a serious job, too, and I’m lucky to have a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner as my coach. I can’t wait to hit the track and learn all those left and right turns.”
IMS President Doug Boles is excited that McAfee agreed to the honor.
“The Angie’s List Grand Prix is an event that’s all about getting up close and personal with racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Boles said. “Pat McAfee has long been an accessible fan favorite with the Colts, so I think we have a perfect match for Saturday afternoon’s race and look forward to seeing Pat lead the field to the green.”
Castroneves and Kanaan Share 300th Start Milestone at IMS
Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan have shared parallel successful racing careers. They competed against each other in karting as youngsters, reunited for two seasons as Indy Lights teammates in 1996-97 and have spent the last 18 years as competitors and friends in Indy car racing.
Now they approach a career milestone together. Each is slated to make his 300th Indy car start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, in Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Kanaan, driving the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, in the Indianapolis 500 on May 24.
“Being friends for so long and to be doing similar results, it just shows that we pursued a dream when we were kids and we still love what we do,” Castroneves said today. “No matter how old we are, no matter how big a family or how many kids we have, the passion and excitement are still there. We talk about it all the time. It’s a great statement of hard work for him, for myself.”
“Being friends with Tony, being teammates with him, a competitor, certainly I am a big believer that a good competitor makes you a better driver,” Castroneves added. “No question Tony is one of those drivers that makes me a better driver.”
Juan Pablo Montoya has known them both for years as well. He first met Castroneves when the two raced go-karts in 1990. Twenty-five years later, they are teammates at Team Penske. Montoya said Castroneves is pretty much the same person as a quarter century ago … well, almost.
“He’s the same as today,” Montoya said, before adding with a smile, “well, he puts a lot more stuff in his hair now.”
Defending Grand Prix of Indianapolis Champ Pagenaud Starts Fresh with Team Penske
Simon Pagenaud is defending champion of the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, but the Frenchman knows that provides no guarantees for the second running this weekend.
“I had the key to success last year, but that doesn’t mean you have the key to success this year, because it’s all about competition here,” Pagenaud said this morning. “Every day, you have to reset and try again. Obviously, I have a lot of confidence. It’s a track I like. We should be in good shape.”
Pagenaud won the inaugural grand prix here with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, but has joined Team Penske for 2015. He has been impressed with the team’s attention to detail.
“It’s all the preparation during the weekend,” Pagenaud said. “The team doesn’t stop; there’s no Christmas here. It’s amazing, they work non-stop. They do a lot of research and development to make the cars more free and understand what the new body kit provides and how to utilize it.”
Dreyer & Reinbold Unveils Stylish Robert Graham Special Chevrolet for Bell
Old and new came together at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing unveiled the livery for its No. 24 Robert Graham Special Chevrolet for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race alongside the bright yellow sprint car built by Floyd “Pop” Dreyer, grandfather of team principal Dennis Reinbold.
Duke Nalon drove the sprinter to the 1938 AAA Eastern Championship, one of many accomplishments for Dreyer, who constructed the car bodies of the three front-row starters for the 1931 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
“I’ve been coming to (IMS) since I was a little kid, so it’s just fabulous to be back,” said Reinbold. “It’s a special deal for me in celebration of my grandfather as we tie it in to the unveiling of our 2015 car.”
Townsend Bell will drive the No. 24 Robert Graham car in the Indy 500. The car’s livery fits with the luxury clothing brand based in New York, and the car’s interior pays tribute to NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon with a photo montage of Gordon’s five Brickyard 400 victories on the IMS oval. Gordon will be the pace car driver to start the Indy 500.
“Robert Graham styling fits right in with the essence of the Indy 500,” said Bell, who looks to make his ninth Indy 500 start and is an NBCSN analyst for Verizon IndyCar Series telecasts. “The Robert Graham Special will once again sport a very distinctive look at IMS this May.”
Jack Harvey (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian) blew away the track record by more than three seconds in winning the pole for the first Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race. Harvey clocked a best lap of 1 minute, 15.0639 seconds (116.972 mph) in the new Dallara IL-15 chassis. Ed Jones (Carlin) was second fastest at 1:15.2113 (116.743 mph). The previous track record was set in 2014 by Matthew Brabham (1:18.4256). Harvey won the race by 4.7377 seconds over Sean Rayhall of 8Star Motorsports. …Timothe Buret (Juncos Racing) led all 20 laps to win his first Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires race in the second of three weekend races by 0.7982 of a second over Florian Lattore (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing). …Nico Jamin (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) made a daring last-lap pass for the lead heading into Turn 1 and held on to win the first Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda race of the weekend by 0.8414 of a second over Jake Eidson (Pabst Racing). Aaron Telitz (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) placed third.
WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Verizon P1 Award winner): “It’s the best way possible to start the Month of May. To have a pole at Indianapolis is such great feeling. I feel like we’ve been strong all weekend. I just missed out on a pole at Barber because of the weather, so I was pretty determined today. The guys did a great job with the car and I’m happy to see the Verizon car in P1.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s OK, we were a little conservative with the aero setup of the car. I mean, it was OK; had too much understeer in that last run. We just went for one lap and I went at it and had too much understeer. But it’s what it is. I’m pretty happy we made the (Firestone) Fast Six here on the road course. That’s pretty encouraging for us. Every road course has been terrible, so to get it figured out is pretty cool.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The No. 3 Verizon Chevrolet has been very consistent since the weekend began yesterday. We would like to be starting on our third-consecutive pole position, but we are happy with where we are. Eighth-straight Verizon P1 Pole Awards for Team Penske. Wow! That is something to be proud of! We just need to finish the job tomorrow and I think we have a car that can do it. We were close last year, and with Roger Penske on the stand we always have a shot.”
STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “I am really happy with qualifying. Finally we advanced to the next round and will start 10th for tomorrow’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. After the first session we thought we could maybe be a little higher – P7 or P8 – but in the end that’s how it goes. We still need to find some more grip and get the car better for tomorrow, but I need to thank the No. 4 crew for all their hard work that they have done this weekend to get me this result today. We are happy that we can finally have a proper race, without having to pass everyone and push hard to get our way up front, so we are looking forward to the race tomorrow and to finally being in the top 10.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): “It’s getting harder and harder to judge what a successful qualifying is. It’s always a challenge when you go out on these reds (alternate tires), trying to figure out where the grip is. Here, for most people, at least in the first group, it was the first lap. We made quite a lot of changes after practice – we weren’t super happy in practice three – and got the car a lot better. Credit goes to the guys because I think the Arrow Electronics car was a lot stronger in qualifying. If the reds had held on for a second lap, I think we would’ve been able to find a little bit more and maybe squeak into the top 12. The good news is that we’re going to be one of the top guys with a second set of reds and if there’s a strength that we’ve shown this year, it’s being smart on strategy. So we’ll take our tire advantage and try to use that to race smarter, not harder, and move up the grid tomorrow.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It was disappointing not to make the cut there. We thought that we’d have a little bit more to make up, but it turns out that we were just like a tenth of a second off from making the cut. It’s unfortunate that it ended up being that close. There are definitely still some things that I’m getting a handle on. As it’s turned out, there are quite a few things between the track, the aero kit and the way that the cars are set up that are different than what I am used to. I was anticipating that there would be a little bit less of that coming in. So there are certainly some areas where I can make up some time. Of the three of us, Luca (Filippi) definitely found some speed, so we’ll all take a look at the changes they made and what he’s doing to try to figure out if we can all elevate to there and make another step for tomorrow. All in all, though, it’s good to be in a Chevy. With the weather being a little dodgy for tomorrow, who knows what we’ll get and hopefully that will play into our favor.”
JAMES JAKES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It’s just very frustrating. Under the circumstances, I think we’re doing a pretty good job. The No. 7 MediaTech crew is working very hard and I just wish the qualifying result reflected that effort. Either way, I’m looking forward to racing in my first Grand Prix of Indy tomorrow and hopefully we’ll get some rain during the race, too.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 8 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “I’m happy with where we’re starting and this is the second race where we’ve gotten the AFS car out of Q1. Of course we all want more though. I’ve been working very hard, and working with the team to make this car fast for us. I think we have good speed in the car for the Grand Prix tomorrow and will be looking to make our way forward from our starting position.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “I’m happy with the front-row start here for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis in the Target car. We’ve had a really fast car here this weekend and we just missed out on pole to the No. 1 car. I think the race will be fast and furious here on the road course tomorrow. I’m not sure about the weather holding up but at the end of the day we’re on the front row and hopefully any trouble will happen behind us back in the pack if it’s wet. We’ve had a good run of late on the road and street courses and I hope that continues here tomorrow for the team.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “I’m pleased with the No. 10 NTT DATA Chevrolet’s qualifying efforts today. I obviously wanted to finish higher than sixth in the Firestone Fast 6, but I made a small mistake on my fast lap that cost me some time. After yesterday’s practices there were a few things we weren’t thrilled about with the car, but the team came together and worked through to make my car even better than it was. I think the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis is a great addition to the month of May and I’m excited for the green flag tomorrow.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs – KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “I had no idea what was going on with Scott (Dixon), but he was always going to be quicker than us. He showed that in round one of qualifying. The Circle K Mistic machine was pretty good today, but I have to do a better job on the Firestone red (alternate) tires. The car is really good on blacks (primary tires), but every time we put the reds on it is a bit of a struggle. I didn’t put a whole lap together in round two, I locked up on what should have been my quickest lap. It’s a bit disappointing. We have been strong in every practice and if I can’t qualify better than I did, it’s going to be tough to take the challenge to the Penske boys. We will keep knocking at the door and hopefully at some point it is going to come to us.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “It didn’t work out like we wanted in qualifying. There was a slow car in front of me as I was on my qualifying lap, which was unfortunate, and then on the second lap, the tires weren’t as fresh and we didn’t get the speed we wanted. It’s disappointing but hopefully we can make the car faster for tomorrow’s run.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “It’s frustrating to not be able to qualify better. We’ve been pretty good in practice but the Chevys somehow crank it up in qualifying. We didn’t have any more. Maybe there was another couple of hundredths (of a second) in the car, but I didn’t have two tenths. It’s frustrating because we had a lot of momentum coming into this race. This Steak ‘n Shake team has just got to try to have a good, clean day tomorrow and hopefully we can move our way forward. I hope it rains, given where we qualified.”
CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “I don’t have a lot to say about that qualifying. There wasn’t a lot I could do to compete. We suspected there was something wrong with the engine, but had to go out and do our best. There was something wrong with it because it was leaking fluid when I got back to pit lane. I think the team will change the engine for tomorrow and I’ll do my best starting near the back.”
FRANCESCO DRACONE (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Unfortunately we ended up last at the end of the day. We were becoming more confident at the end of the last practice session, so that is a bit of a shame I couldn’t do better. I was told I was ahead of (Marco) Andretti for quite a long time, which is positive for us. I think the car is good for the time being after we tried several solutions today. The team has done a good job getting it set up well and getting everything done in time. I think we know where we are, but we don’t have a big step we can take in setup to get more pace right now. I am confident for the race that I’ll have decent pace.”
LUCA FILIPPI (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I think we made an improvement in terms of performance. We made gains so I’m pleased. I think we found something we can carry along this season to improve our qualifying performances. I could’ve done a little better, but I think we got much closer than previous races. If the race stays dry, I know we have a consistent car. I’m motivated and really convinced that we will have a very strong pace.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It was not a horrible day, we got ourselves up into the top half of the grid, which is great. There was a lot of good work from the guys. We tried using two (sets of alternate) reds because we just knew we didn’t quite have the top group pace and that really helped today. It got us into the front half of the field, but I wasn’t able to do much more after that. We’ll have to try and make a little more progress tomorrow and see what we need for the race. It’s all about scoring good points right now.”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): “We went out on black (primary) tires for the first run and I felt so loose, I thought we overshot this run, but we seem to be on one side of the balance and can’t seem to find that sweet spot right in the middle. When we put the Firestone red tires on the car, it brought the balance to life and we actually started to roll some speed into the corners and we started to get some grip. It was good, I just wish we could be a fraction quicker. We’re pushing, we’re trying hard and we have been behind all weekend, but we’re trying to catch up. I’ve been really happy with our tire life, so I’m hoping that is going to continue into race day and play in our favor so we’ll have a good consistent car.
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV/Cinsay Honda): “Another really hard day for us. I don’t have much to say – we just don’t have the speed. We’re struggling a lot, so tomorrow we will have to make another big risk in the race as we did in Barber. Let’s hope that it works.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): “This is the biggest struggle we’ve had in a while. Normally we can see our way out – I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel right now, it’s disappointing. I enjoy the track, but it’s hard to fully enjoy it with where we are sitting right now.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We’re just struggling as a team right now and have got to put our heads together tonight. We’ve really been struggling with the balance of the car since we rolled of the truck; no idea really how to fix it at the moment. We’re going to have to put our heads together tonight as a four car team and make the most of it. Andretti Autosport is pretty good at doing that so we can still have a great race tomorrow – we just have to keep our heads down. It’s been a frustrating start to the weekend though.”
JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “It was a solid qualifying run. We ran pretty clean. The car was pretty good, especially in the first round. It didn’t feel quite as good in the second round for whatever reason, but we’ll have a look through stuff tonight. We just have to keep on getting better and hopefully tomorrow we can have a good day.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “I’m obviously disappointed that the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet didn’t transfer into the second round and make it into the top 12 for tomorrow’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Despite that, I think we’re in good shape for tomorrow. We missed out a little bit today, but we just need to go back tonight and see where we missed those few tenths and figure out how to get them back. I have a lot of confidence in the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys and the Chevy aero kits, and if we just keep continuing doing what we’re doing and being consistent we’ll make our move to the front.”