WILL POWER OPENS MONTH OF MAY AT INDY WITH WIN IN ANGIE’S LIST GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS
Strong showing for Team Chevy with four V6-powered road course aero kit entries finishing in top-five
- Power’s victory is the fourth for a Chevrolet IndyCar driver in the first five races of the season; the first of the season for the defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion and the 25th of his career
- Power and third place finisher Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya rank one-two in the Series’ standings heading into 99th running of the Indianapolis 500
INDIANAPOLIS (May 9, 2015) – Team Chevy opened the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in strong style, led by Will Power’s victory Saturday in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Power, in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, won for the first time this year and the 25th time of his career as he seeks a second straight Verizon IndyCar Series championship.
Power dominated the day leading four times for 65 of 82-laps, and won by 1.5023 over Graham Rahal. Power started on pole position and drove away from a first-turn, first-lap melee that damaged the cars of a number of race contenders. The victory vaulted him to second in the Series’ standings.
“It was exactly the race we asked for,” said a jubilant Power. “No yellows. Very straightforward. Knew we would be in good shape. Had a very good Verizon Chevy; good stops. Just super determined to make it happen.”
The Chevrolet Aero kit powered by fully integrated V6 2.2 liter twin turbo charged Chevy engine ran strong in the final race before the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 in two weeks. Four of the top-five finishers were Team Chevy entries. Juan Pablo Montoya was third in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to grab another podium finish and maintain the lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings.
Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs Chevrolet from KVSH Racing finished fourth. Charlie Kimball rebounded from a 14th-place starting position to post his first top-five finish (P5) in the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
“Congratulations to Will Power and the No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet team on winning the Grand Prix of Indianapolis from the pole,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Will took the lead at Turn one and demonstrated patience as the laps of the race ticked down. The crew executed each pit stop flawlessly and Will drove a great race to capture his 25th career victory. It was also great to see Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet team on the podium today. Now, our focus turns to the Indianapolis 500.”
Four other Chevrolet IndyCar drivers placed in the top-10. Helio Castroneves, making his 300th career IndyCar start, was sixth in Team Penske’s No. 3 Verizon Chevrolet, followed by Tony Kanaan in the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and the No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet of IndyCar rookie Stefano Coletti in seventh and eighth respectively. Scott Dixon, who started the race second but was involved in the opening lap melee, recovered to finish 10th in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
The next race for the Verizon IndyCar Series is the 99th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 24. The race will air live on ABC starting at 11 a.m. ET. Audio coverage also will be available on the IMS Radio Network, plus Sirius channel 212 and XM channel 209, as well as www.indycar.com. Race timing and scoring can also be found onwww.indycar.com.
POST RACE QUOTES AND PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
CHRIS BERUBE, CHEVROLET RACING PROGRAM MANAGER FOR VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES: “Congratulations to Will Power for winning today’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis from the pole position and leading the most laps in the race. The Team Penske crew executed perfectly which kept Will in position during the pit stop sequences. There were great battles all day throughout the field for the fans to root for on this first class road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is really great to win here and really great to have the Indy 500 to look forward to next.”
An interview with:
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA
THE MODERATOR: Another podium finish for Juan Pablo. Good solid finish.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah, it was good. I mean, we ran good all day. We pushed really hard. I got behind a little bit at the start. Behind but not behind. I was on the outside. There was really nowhere to go. Dixon spun in front of me. I avoided that. I thought that was really good. It was really good I didn’t get tangled with anybody. But we lost three places.
Made it tough because you’re behind. Our first pit stop, we had a problem with the right front, so we lost a little bit of ground. I stayed behind Simon and Bourdais, made it a little tough. But after that, you know, the next one I passed them. Rahal was the one I didn’t manage to get. I thought we had the same pace.
We saw somebody slowing down on the backstretch, so we decided to pit just for safety. That way we thought we would be ahead of the curve. Thought a caution would come out, but it didn’t.
- Juan, you have the points lead by winning the first race of the year, and you still seem to have a lot of momentum going into the biggest race of the year. How important is the Indy 500?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It’s exciting, to be honest. My goal this year was not to lose that many points coming to Indy. I know our strong part of the season should be the ovals, you know what I mean, some of the road courses. I was looking forward to not be that far behind because I know once the ovals start I can make up some points.
Having the points coming into Indy, it’s encouraging. We were fastest in the open test. The car felt really good, too. I’m pretty happy.
- Juan, yesterday I asked you how you felt you progressed from last year to this year on a track like this. Now that you finally made the Fast Six and the podium on a road course, do you finally feel like you’re turning the corner?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah. I’ll be honest with you, we struggled a lot. We were miles off on setup. If you look at NOLA, look at Barber, we were off the pace. Finally learned what we need to run in the car. We figured out the street courses, we’re really strong there. We found it here with the road courses. It’s pretty good.
I’m really happy with where we stand right now. Something that we have that really helps, being with Penske, you have four strong drivers, four ideas, four directions. Somebody’s going to get it right. It makes life really cool. It means 90% of the time you’re going to have a fast car.
It’s good. We’re really encouraged. I don’t know what happened to Simon there. He was running right there with us. It was good. It was fun.
- Juan, if you can take the people who were in the first lap contact out of it, when the third place car hits a second place car, should that be a contact penalty?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It’s the start of the race. Get over it. You know what I mean?
You put us on the longest straight you can think of, you put a first-gear corner at the end of it, what do you think is going to happen? We’re not that smart (laughter).
- You said you have tomorrow to feel what you did today, but then the 500 faces you right away. Ho w quickly do you make the adjustment?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Start turning left, I guess.
I tell you the truth, I don’t think about it. Just get in the car, drive it, see what it does. Make it better, go through the program. We plan really well what we’re going to do every day. We try to achieve that program. That’s it. That’s all you can do.
You can’t go, Oh, this is Indy. It’s the same guys we run today that you’re going to run with the 500, plus seven or eight more. That’s it.
For me personally, I try to downplay it completely. Just drive the thing and see what it does.
- Yesterday, Faustino and Will Power called the road course here the crown jewel of road courses. Do you believe it’s achieved that type of status?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: When you’re on pole, you can call it whatever you want. It’s a cool road course, you know what I mean?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I’m with him. The problem is we don’t go there.
GRAHAM RAHAL: As far as how nice it is.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Tell you the truth, it’s a really good road course. I’ve run here in Formula One. It was awful, awful, awful. They changed it, made it into a really good one.
We’re really happy with it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, for coming in. Congratulations.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Good to have you, the winner of today’s race, Will Power.
Got the pole, got out front, stayed there. Can’t get much better than that.
WILL POWER: No, it was exactly the race we asked for. No yellows. Very straightforward. Knew we would be in good shape. Had a very good car, good stops. Just super determined to make it happen. I know Rahal was closing pretty fast at the end when I had to save fuel. I had to pick up the pace and get that fuel number.
Yeah, feel like that’s the most physical race I’ve done all year. It was hard work, it really was. But just great start to the month. I’m halfway through what I want to accomplish this month.
THE MODERATOR: What makes it more physical than the other places?
WILL POWER: I think it’s the long loading corners and it’s got massive braking zones. It’s just a lot of g-forces. A lot of heavy steering, a lot of grip.
I was pretty mentally drained because you keep pumping out laps non-stop. A lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll take questions.
- Faustino called it flawless. Would you go that far?
WILL POWER: Yeah, that was as good as you get as far as no mistakes, good start, good restart, good stops, good out-laps, good in-laps. Just did everything we needed to do to win.
I think back, I can’t think of anything that I felt was wrong with that race. You don’t often get that in IndyCar. So, yeah, it was a very good day.
- With the championship last year and the resources you have at Penske, the win today, do you feel that makes you the favorite for the 500?
WILL POWER: I don’t think that makes me the favorite for the 500. But what I will say is that I’ve got more focus on the 500 than I’ve ever had. I’ve won a championship now. It’s kind of pushed that aside, and now the main focus to me is the 500.
The first thing for me to accomplish was winning a championship just because it’s the best driver over a whole season. I mean, that was a big deal to me to have won that. Now it’s just absolutely the 500. I really, really want to win that race. We’ll see how it all shakes out in the next week with the body kits. I think Honda will be much closer to the Chevys with what they’ve got.
Take it as it comes, each day, each session, just do everything you can.
- With that in mind, yesterday we talked about how the Chevys were up here and the Hondas were down here. Where do you think Graham Rahal got his pace today?
WILL POWER: He’s been really strong in all the races. This guy has done a real good job. Definitely the class of the Honda teams.
Yeah, I mean, you’d be worried if he was in a Chevy. He would be absolutely a championship contender. He is now in a Honda.
He’s obviously got a handle on it. That team has done a really good job. He seems to be there in each race knocking on the door.
- After your pit stop you went back quickly to the leading position. What was the traffic situation with overlapping drivers?
WILL POWER: Lapped cars, definitely difficult there. Trying to keep Hildebrand behind me and also pass two of the Schmidt cars. These cars can fight to stay on the lead lap now. It’s a rule we talked about in driver meetings earlier in the year.
It can be really frustrating at times when you have a fast car and you just can’t get by a guy who is about a second off the pace. In a driver meeting they said you can fight for position. They go ahead and do that, you know.
It’s fair enough. Truly, if it does go yellow, those guys get to come back to the back of the line and make a pretty good day out of it if everything fell right. It’s just a game that we play right now.
- Talk about your thoughts after Dixon had his issue at the start. Did you have relief knowing he wasn’t there on your rear-end anymore?
WILL POWER: No. I got a good start. I just protected the inside, and I went out, looked in the mirror to make sure he wasn’t on the outside. I just saw him spinning. Kind of felt bad because he’d been talking about that when we went around the parade lap prerace. He said he was really worried about the first corner.
Sure enough, exactly what he said would happen happened. I’m sure he’s pretty angry. I don’t know what happened. Obviously he got turned around.
- Were you surprised either by the lack of yellows or by the fuel mileage that Honda was able to make with Graham running longer on the stints?
WILL POWER: We pitted early not because of fuel mileage. We pitted early because we heard a car was slowing on the track, not to get caught out by a yellow. I don’t know how much longer we could have gone. He took a big risk. If it did go yellow, he’s at the back.
Yeah, maybe. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t think I took a full stint. I don’t think I took it to the absolute limit. The last stint was probably it.
- Roger Penske has 15 Indy 500 victories, one NASCAR Nationwide victory here, and now this, he calls it win number 17. How does it feel to give Roger Penske a win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway even though it’s not the Indy 500?
WILL POWER: It feels very good. It’s funny, I came in this month determined to have a good month. I haven’t had that for so long. It’s working out. It’s just awesome to win at this place. It just is. I mean, you know, you look at the event, you look at the facility itself, it’s first class. The road course is phenomenal. It’s smooth, technical. Then you have the Cathedral of Speed, you could call it. It’s just an unbelievable month for motorsport.
Yeah, I mean, it would be very cool to get the double.
- Your previous Indy 500 experiences, how would you assess them? Were there times you felt like you were a contender?
WILL POWER: Absolutely. 2009 and ’10 were years I felt I had a car to win it. Especially 2010, it was an unbelievable car. Just something would happen every time. The last couple years, last year was my mistake getting a drive-through penalty. I have to put myself in that position to challenge at the end of the race. I’m really determined to do that this month. I really want to get it right and win that race.
- You mentioned in yesterday’s press conference you wanted to win four sections in the month of May. How difficult do you think it’s going to be? Do you think it’s possible?
WILL POWER: It’s absolutely possible. You have to think that, because it is. It’s possible. I’m going to try to do everything to make that happen, yeah.
- When it comes to qualifying, that’s the next big one. Do you look at the biggest threat being on your own team?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I do, for sure. Seems to be every year, this year in particular with four very good drivers, that’s going to be the case.
With qualifying here, it’s just got to fall your way. The wind has to be right for your run, the temperature. It’s really funny, this place. It’s so particular. If the sun goes behind a cloud, suddenly you pick up half a mile an hour or something. That’s the type of thing that’s got to happen for you.
- A technical question. When the aero kits were launched by Chevrolet, does Team Penske have a technical facility to make simulation work?
WILL POWER: Like doing wind tunnel work?
- Simulation work.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I think all teams do simulation stuff. They all do it. You know before you come the gears, downforce levels, drag. Chevy does their own development on that, gives you the numbers. Everyone has their own tools for that on the computer. I’m sure they all do simulation work.
- You’ve had a chance to test the aero kit one day at the Speedway for the oval. Do you have any idea what we might see as a pole speed for the Indy 500?
WILL POWER: What was it last year? 31.5 or something. I think it will be in the 33s, 34s. It will be interesting. It’s going to depend on the weather, as well. That can help a lot, too. If you get 35, that will be pretty good. That would be a pretty big gain.
I think we would have, had they not had that hole to stop them flying, took a bit of efficiency away. Definitely knocking on the door of the 35s, I think.
- I’m looking at the selfie you took in Victory Lane. As much as you want the 500, do you think you’d have the presence of mind to get the phone out in Victory Lane?
WILL POWER: Yes. My wife gives it to me. It’s actually her phone I took it with. Imagine that. Now that’s a selfie right there (laughter). You’re there with the milk. Ain’t got anyone else on the podium, just you and the milk.
- The pace car driver, can you give me any assessment whatsoever about the job he did driving the pace car today?
WILL POWER: Absolutely terrible (laughter). Did he do the whole race or just the warmup lap? He said, It’s not going to be me on the parade laps. Don’t judge me, dude.
- The first lap, he did all right?
WILL POWER: He did a good job. Someone must be telling him the lines here. Usually people are way out here. Gee, that’s not the racing line. He wasn’t bad.
THE MODERATOR: Will, congratulations.
WILL POWER: You got it. Thank you.