CHEVY POWER: TEAM PENSKE’S WILL POWER ON BELLE ISLE POLE
All-Penske front row for Saturday’s Race 1 of Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend
- Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion sets track record
- Helio Castroneves to start Saturday from second position
- Five Chevy-powered IndyCars in first three rows
DETROIT (May 29, 2015) – Chevrolet scored its seventh straight pole position in the Verizon IndyCar Series on Friday in as many races as Team Penske’s Will Power set a track record in qualifying Friday for Race One of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans at the Raceway on Belle Isle.
Power turned a lap of 1:16.0941 (111.178 mph) in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to beat out 2014 pole-sitter Helio Castroneves by 0.0259 seconds. Chevrolet has swept the front row in qualifying for all seven IndyCar races this season, and today’s came in the shadows of the Chevrolet headquarters in Detroit.
“Congratulations to Will Power on his pole win for Race One of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Program Manager for the Verizon IndyCar Series. “Will, supported by his Team Penske contingent, has certainly hit his stride with no sign of letting up as we approach the midpoint of the season.Tomorrow’s race is likely to be run in wet conditions which always changes the dynamic and highlights different driver skill sets. It should be a great show for the fans either wet or dry.”
Five Chevrolet drivers were in Friday’s Firestone Fast Six.
Castroneves, a three-time winner on Belle Isle, set a lap of 1:16.1200 (111.140 mph) in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. He was just ahead of reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, who set a best lap of 1:16.4428 (110.671 mph) in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
The third row in Saturday’s race will also see a pair of Chevrolet V6 IndyCars. Simon Pagenaud qualified fifth in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet at 1:16.6656 (110.349 mph). He will start alongside the No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs KVSH Racing Chevrolet of Sebastien Bourdais, whose best time was a 1:17.0406 (109.812 mph).
Race One of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans is set to start at 3:30 p.m. ET onSaturday, May 30 with live television coverage on ABC. Race Two is slated to begin at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 31 with live television coverage on ABC. Each race will be 70 laps for 164.22 miles.
Live radio coverage will be on XM Radio Channel 209, and IMS Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 212. In addition, IndyCar live timing and scoring with the radio broadcast can be found at www.indy.car.com.
VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
CHEVROLET DETROIT BELLE ISLE GRAND PRIX
RACEWAY AT BELLE ISLE
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER POST QUALIFYING QUOTES
MAY 29, 2015
WILL POWER, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER and HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – SECOND PLACE QUALIFIER POST QUALIFYING QUOTES:
WILL POWER, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER: HOW DID THE TRACK FEEL TO YOU OUT THERE? “It’s actually quite fun. The cement is a bit more slippery and you get to move the car around a little bit more and I think they did a great job of this whole circuit. Man it is brutal when you’ve got to pump out laps here because it’s gotten real technical, but it’s a lot of fun.”
YOUR TEAMMATES WERE CHASING YOU ALL THE WAY TO THAT FIRESTONE FAST SIX, ITS GOT TO BE GOOD TO TAKE THAT DIG BACK AT THEM AND SAY, ‘HEY, I GOT THE POLE’ ISN’T IT? “Yeah, it’s the pole but it’s a long race around here. But yes, once again it’s about battling the teammates around here and we have all year. It’s been a great weekend and a really good start. We will try and keep ourselves out of trouble and see what magic we can do tomorrow. I had new tires so I was pushing hard. Then they said Helio and Juan were pretty close. I made a couple of mistakes and the car was pretty loose. But overall it’s a fantastic job and a good start to the weekend.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 2ND: “The Hitachi Penske car was really good actually. We used new tires in the second stint and (Will) didn’t, so they used new tires on the third round and we didn’t. So that’s how amazing our car was. That’s why I’m so happy. For being that close with tires that already had a run on them, it was absolutely amazing. The Hitachi boys did an awesome job. I wanted that pole position pretty badly, so let’s go for the race tomorrow.
“The most important thing is the race. It was a good battle today between me, Will and the rest of Team Penske. Let’s go for tomorrow and see what happens.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 3RD:
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 PPG AUTOMOTIVE REFINISHTEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 5TH:
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 11 TEAM MISTIC E-CIGS KVSH RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 6TH:“Obviously, I am very happy that the Mistic E-Cigs Circle K machine made it to the Firestone Fast Six. However, at the same time I’m a little baffled by being a second off the pace. It was a pretty big step-up from last year, on what was our most difficult weekend on a street or road circuit pace wise. We tried a lot of things here last year, but could never get it right. This year, we unloaded a car that seemed to be much more on par with the opposition. It was strong on a green track, but as the grip came up we struggle to get grip and balance. So, we will take a look at the data tonight and see what changes we want to make for tomorrow.”
SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 7TH: “There are a lot of touch challenges with the Detroit track. The surface is very bumpy and the Target car just wants to plow with understeer in Turn 3. On our last run we had the 3 car back us up on our fast laps in the last few corners. Overall it’s very close out there and I don’t think we had enough for pole today, but maybe the top six if we weren’t held up. We’ll work hard tonight to try and figure the car out and get it better for tomorrow.”
STEFANO COLETTI, NO. 4 KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 8TH: “I am really happy with my qualifying result today. We made a few mistakes in the first session, but in the second round after we put on the second set of tires we were pretty quick and I ended up securing my best start. I have never been on a track like this, its very bumpy and pretty difficult to drive when it gets hot like this but everyone is dealing with the same issues. The team has done a great job setting up my car for this weekend and I’m looking forward to trying to pick up a few more positions in the race tomorrow.”
SAGE KARAM, NO. 8 COMFORT REVOLUTION/BIG MACHINE RECORDS CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 12TH: “We had a great car this morning and the COMFORT REVOLUTION/Big Machine Records team was really on it. We took a big swing at some changes in the afternoon qualifying session that just ended up being in the wrong direction unfortunately. I locked up the tires in qualifying and that slowed us down. There is still a lot of speed in the car and we’ll continue to work on it tomorrow for qualifying 2 and the race.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 10 TAYLOR SWIFT AND BIG MACHINE RECORDS CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 15TH : “I’m really frustrated with our qualifying run. We were up front in the first practice session and the car felt really good, and then we turn around in qualifying and don’t even make it out of the first round. I think we’re all just kind of scratching our heads trying to figure out what happened between this morning’s session and this afternoon’s qualifying rounds. We definitely have some work to do tonight with the car and thinking about the best strategy for tomorrow, but I have complete confidence in the team to make sure we’re ready to gotomorrow afternoon.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 83 LEVEMIR® FLEXTOUCH® CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 17TH: “Obviously I’m disappointed that the No. 83 Levemir® FlexTouch® Chevrolet wasn’t able to transfer, but we were so close to moving into that next round. We really struggled this morning in practice and I just didn’t get the job done in qualifying. Belle Isle is just a tough track and it’s really challenging for me. At the same time the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Team guys gave me the car I needed, but we just weren’t able to get it done. I think we might’ve been a little better prepared for more grip, but after the rain washed away a lot of that grip we just couldn’t get the lap times we needed.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 67 HARTMAN OIL CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 18TH: “I just hit the wall. it’s one of those street course errors that you can make. Obviously the car was good, I hate to do that to the team when we had a quick car. It’s a shame for today, hopefully we can get it patched up real quick and get the CFH car back on track as good as it was. We will be alright for tomorrow, we had a strong car and the team’s solid. We just have to do a better job of keeping it off the walls.”
LUCA FILIPPI, NO 20. FUZZY’S VODKA CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 19TH: “We had much more potential than what our starting position reflects. We probably took the new tires at the wrong moment and I couldn’t find myself the right gap. It was a timing problem where I couldn’t put down as quick of a lap as we were capable of. Unfortunately we will have to start from the back and will have to work a lot to move forward to get a good result.”
An interview with:
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Juan Pablo Montoya.
You’re coming to Detroit, Roger’s home track. How great is it to represent your team not only as a member of Team Penske but the reigning Indy 500 winner?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think it’s good. We had a decent practice. Just really couldn’t put a good lap together because so many red flags and stuff. In qualifying we made a couple changes. We made it a little better but it wasn’t as good as we wanted it. Good thing we got a practice tomorrow.
I had a regular lap coming there. It was supposed to be a 10. It was just on par to be good enough. I said, You need more. To run a 10, you can’t get to a place and say, I do what I did before, because it becomes a 30.
Right before the fountain, I just rolled too fast, understeer, couldn’t get back to the gas fast enough. Turning, understeer, c’mon. You’re suffering.
To tell you the truth, you probably hear other people complain about the bumpiness of the track. But it reminds me of ’99, 2000, street course, a lot of personality. There’s a couple good bumps. Makes it a little tricky. Has a lot of character. Last corner, man, it’s fast. Way too fast.
THE MODERATOR: Helio Castroneves joins us.
We were just talking through the challenging aspects of this track. I see you cringing over there. How was qualifying for you? Can you talk about the track improvements you’ve noticed as someone that comes here a lot.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Qualifying was awesome. Too excited. The Hitachi car is awesome. Really, really good. Unfortunately off by 2 or 3/100ths of a second. We couldn’t make it.
The No. 1 car, they were a little bit better on the strategy, end up having the new tires for the last run. They end up beating us. But we show that the car is really good, the car is awesome. Great job from Roger and my engineer Jonathan. Great result for Team Penske.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll take questions.
Q. What was it like out there on sort of a new track, new concrete? You had rain, heat, all sorts of conditions. How did it feel?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I’m glad it was concrete. If it would be asphalt, it would probably take forever to dry. The first group, which I was in, it would be a little bit rough.
No, it’s great. Right now it’s wide. Let’s see what happens. At this point I’m really happy with the performance of the Hitachi car.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Same.
Q. You qualified in mostly dry conditions today. Tomorrow looks like mostly wet. Same for everyone, but how does that affect your team?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: We got to go one step at a time, see what happens.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think track position is important. If it’s going to be wet, being up front is going to help.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, we’re glad we’re up front.
THE MODERATOR: We welcome Sebastien Bourdais.
Sebastien, you haven’t qualified worse than ninth this season. What has been the turnaround? Why have you been so strong to start these race events?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, I don’t know. But the problem is I can’t seem to qualify better than sixth. We’ll keep working on it. But obviously we’re missing that last little bit. That last little bit today was a lot in Q3.
We didn’t quite understand what happened there, to be honest. It’s tough to be satisfied when you’re a second off. We’ll look at it, hope that the consistency is going to remain the same. Obviously the combination of the cars was good all through the seasons so far. We hope to keep that going. We seem to be racing a little better than we qualify.
The car is very consistent all the time. Seems to be taking care of the tires. So, you know, tomorrow will be a very different day and hopefully we can have a good race.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll continue with questions.
Q. Helio, your team does this very well. You don’t get to try out the red tires until you show up to qualify.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Correct.
Q. Your team seems to have good balance. Some teams can’t seem to find that. I understand you only get three sets for the entire weekend.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Correct.
Q. How do you manage that to have them for both races?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Well, for the race, we end up getting one set, brand-new set, which is normal. But for qualifying, we didn’t use any new set extra. We could. The rules allow us to do it, but we didn’t.
Tomorrow is only one qualifying. We saved one set for tomorrow. I think that’s the way it’s going to be.
At this point we feel that the balance we setting up with blacks seem to be very comfortable and acceptable in reds. Right now all four cars seem to be going, advance to the top six. Both setups, black and reds.
Sometimes the blacks, sometimes it becomes a little bit difficult. You put the reds, it fix all the problems.
Q. You talked about the changes in the track surface, bumps, bottoming out of the cars. Do you feel anything should be done to the track before the races tomorrow and Sunday or is that acceptable the way it is?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: What bumps (laughter)?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: You know what I mean, I think it’s hard, because us driving for Penske, everybody thinks it’s going to go always great.
In ’99, 2000, every street course was like that. I know there’s a couple bumps they need to fix probably for next year. But I think it makes it technical. You know what I mean? It’s a street course. I mean, go to New York and drive on the roads.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll continue with Simon Pagenaud.
Any special memories of this track from the win in 2013?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, I mean, first win in IndyCar is always an important thing. It’s always cool to come back here, now driving for Team Penske. It’s our home event.
Yeah, it’s a really cool event for us. Obviously it’s great to be showing so well with all four cars.
THE MODERATOR: Also joined by our polesitter, Will Power.
Will, you’ve been one of the drivers that have been in here promoting this race most, being a part of Team Penske. How rewarding is it to finally get a pole here at Belle Isle?
WILL POWER: It is actually satisfying. I struggled quite a bit last year in qualifying. Really happy to be on pole. We definitely took a risk in the second round to get through by using used tires, just made it by a 10th. In a good position to make pole in the Fast Six, which we got.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Will, I noticed on your last qualifying lap, you seemed really smooth coming out of turn three, and other people were sort of losing it there. Was your car set up differently? Was it the tires or just your driving?
WILL POWER: Out of turn three, yeah, actually I had a couple of big moments there, too. It’s weird. That corner last year had a lot more grip.
I had new tires. That kind of helped, too, for sure on my first lap. They degraded a bit. But, yeah, it was a very tight session all around for everyone.
Q. Will, you went out about two minutes left. Was that a planned deal? Did you want to go out that late?
WILL POWER: Well, we had new tires. I felt like you could only get a couple laps out of them. You may as well go out when the track is good at the end. That’s the only shot.
Yeah, that was the plan.
Q. Will, the last few years the biggest contenders for the championship have been you guys and the Chip Ganassi guys. It’s early, you’re taking it day by day. With the changing weather, with good qualifying, are you surprised you’re not seeing the Ganassi guys a little further up?
WILL POWER: I was actually surprised Kanaan didn’t make it because he’s been very quick this weekend. I don’t know where Dixon ended up. I think probably a couple of them got caught up by a red there at one point.
Rest assured, they’ll be there in the race. This is usually a pretty mixed-up race. I’m sure they’ll be there.
Q. Will, last year when you won this race, you went really, really fast, just left the field, did lap after lap like qualifying laps so you developed a gap time-wise so you could come in and make an extra pit stop. I’m curious of the tires. We heard from some of the drivers the track is like sandpaper. I’m wondering, do you remember if you did that on black tires or did you use more red sets than black sets?
WILL POWER: Actually I started 16th last year, so I was quite a ways back. I can’t actually remember how it played out. There’s a big difference between the red and black tires. It creates good racing and passing. If someone is on those tires, a different stint, it really mixes things up.
But, you know, good thing about this track is you can pass. That’s all we can ask, because there’s nothing worse than being stuck there.
Q. The first year they tried these doubleheaders, they were having you qualifying today and qualify tomorrow forSunday’s race. Now it’s Sunday qualifying for Sunday’s race. Do you like that setup?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I don’t mind it. I mean, it’s not really any different. If we were qualifying tomorrow, you’re still qualifying before a race anyway.
Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, I don’t think it makes a difference. I’m fine. I really like the doubleheaders. You’re here to race, so why not race both days? It’s good for the fans.
SIMON PAGENAUD: I like it. I like the dual. It’s fun. It’s good for the fans to race twice. It gives us a little bit of a rest, too, to qualify today, race tomorrow.
Q. Will, running the fastest lap here in Detroit now, did you have a feeling you were running that quickly in the car? Were you surprised at all?
WILL POWER: Actually you get updates on the dash how many 10ths you’re up. I knew the track was fast, had good tires. The cars are faster this year and the track is faster. Must look fast, I don’t know.
Q. We’ve talked about this a couple times. Could we go back to the turn 13, the last right hand kink, where Josef crashed. Is that almost flat for that corner there? Can you avoid the bump?
WILL POWER: It’s close. It’s close. I don’t know what’s going to happen when it really grips up. It’s a fun corner right now.
Q. Simon, you’re new knew Team Penske coming to the Detroit race, which is a very big race for the Penske Corporation. What is your whole weekend like and how tough is it with all the different commitments?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, it’s busy. It’s not like we haven’t been busy for months, too.
It’s definitely busy. But, you know, when you see Roger’s dedication to the city, promoting Detroit, it’s good to be part of it. We represent his name, represent Penske. It’s great. When everything goes well like it’s good, I’m happy with all four of us in the Fast Six. It’s the best way to thank him really.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you. Good luck this weekend.