News from INDYCAR: ‘What They’re Saying’ from Indianapolis 500 Practice Day 2

What They’re Saying’ from Indianapolis 500 Practice Day 2

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Menards Chevy felt really good today. We continue to get a lot of good data from not only ourselves but also my teammates. It’s such a help to have the teammates I have. Everyone brings something a little different to the table and from that we all learn a lot. Today was a little different from yesterday in terms of what we were looking to accomplish. Obviously, speed is important, but there are so many other things to factor in. I really think we’re in a good place.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “We just continued to learn today. We’ve tested here a couple of times and now we’ve had two days of practice. Every day has a different focus, but the primary goal is speed. The hum by Verizon Chevy found some of that today. We want to be smart how we attack these days and really keep to our plan. We don’t worry about what other teams and manufacturers are doing at this point. They have their programs to run and we have ours. If we’re able to maximize what we do, then we’ll be in good shape when it’s time to put it all out there.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet):
“I was trying to get a little bit ahead (of my teammate Will Power) in the Grand Prix, but he did a phenomenal job there. But again, it’s all about – now it’s the 500. You’re not thinking about the numbers of how many victories you have in your career, it’s more about the big one. This is the big one, and we are working as a team trying to get the best out of it. We understand that yesterday the top 10 there was only two Chevys, and today in the top 10 only three were Hondas, so you can see those boys are playing some games here, so interesting. But it’s OK. It’s all good. We keep focusing on our work. We’re working together with Chevy and everybody else so that we can keep up the good pace and move forward.”

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Today we just we never really got a good run, never got a tow to do a proper lap like everyone else. We just tried a lot of things today that didn’t work, and that’s just plain and simple, so we just have to do more tomorrow.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): “I think we’re all struggling a bit with the package today for some reason. We didn’t change anything from yesterday. Now we are starting to change everything to find something that works. We’re making changes, going out, coming back in, and so on. It just goes to show you that every day is different, and what challenges the speedway presents each time around. Sometimes the car just doesn’t feel right around here, but you have to just keep going to figure it out and find out what the problem is with the car. No one seemed to be really fast today and maybe that is because of the heat, but we’ll keep moving forward toward tomorrow with the Gallagher car.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda):
“I think all in all, we weren’t really happy with the car in these conditions today, to be honest. We were mainly focusing in on racing running, but we still have some work to do with the rear of the car. It’s just not where we want it to be so we’re going to focus in on that and try and make it better for the No. 9 team tomorrow.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda): “The conditions were pretty windy today, so we spent a lot of time watching how the No. 10 NTT Data Honda reacted to less than ideal conditions. For the most part, we worked on race setup during the session and obviously didn’t get the speeds we were hoping for today. Even though we weren’t where we wanted to be at the end of the session, I think we got a lot out of today’s practice in terms of data and direction for tomorrow.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 11 Juncos Racing Chevrolet): “Overall it was a good day. We definitely improved on yesterday. Our goal was to run a lot more in traffic, which we were able to do. We definitely got a lot more data today. We tried a few different downforce levels to see what we think might work best for the race and what to really focus on as far as dialing everything in later in the week. A good day and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet):
“It was pretty good all day, actually. I have to say that it’s made some improvements overnight. The no-tow speed is better for sure, and I feel comfortable in traffic. You know, it’s a long week. Got to keep working at it. Things change. The car goes in and out of being good and bad and this and that. You’ve got to try not to get lost and just keep it simple.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Today our main focus was to try the car within the pack and traffic. In the end, we had two big traffic groups. We’re just (going to) keep working on the car. For sure, the ABC Supply Chevy felt a little bit better than yesterday, a little bit more racy. We still have a long way to go. I think we still need to improve. This is what we did today, and we’ll keep moving forward. But it was a good day overall.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “I think the car, naturally, has a lot of pace and a lot of speed. That isn’t something casual fans necessarily understand that statement but sometimes you get what’s called ‘slow car syndrome’ and sometimes there are cars that are just fast and I think our car has some pace to it. The flip side is that, mechanically, we need to get the car a little more comfortable. (Will) Power looks strong but I don’t see anybody that looks dominant to me, but still, we need to get the car more comfortable to be able to run in traffic. The competition is pretty strong, contrary to what they want to believe. You never know what they have in store until it gets closer to Pole Day. It’s been a benefit to have Oriol (Servia) here. He has had several reads that are very similar to mine. His sense of the car – the good things and bad things – is identical to mine so it is a benefit. Not that we’re bad, but we need to be better. We need to work through a checklist of things tomorrow because we really only have another day and a half of race running before we have to get into qualifying work.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 16 Manitowoc Honda): “You wouldn’t think it by looking at the time sheets but I am actually happier today than yesterday. I think we ended up with a car more racer-friendly than yesterday which is what we need in a 500-mile race with 32 cars around you. We just focused on that today honestly and I think we made a good step.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS Chevrolet): “A very positive second day. We maintained the momentum and built from yesterday. The track conditions were definitely different, which made it a bit more challenging. We focused on continuing to work on a more traffic friendly car and we definitely succeeded at that. Now we need to continue the momentum we have built so far and not lose our focus in the next couple days.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ Honda): “It was really good. It was a really good day for us. I’ve never had a car like that, that I can do whatever I want with it. It’s pretty nice. I have to say that the Dale Coyne Racing crew did a heck of a job. The setup is really, really close. It’s all condition related after that. It’s kind of windy, it’s pretty hot, so if you can make the car work in those conditions, you’re in pretty good shape.”

ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “The day started off quite difficult. There were a few changes to the car that we had to make to adjust to certain things. It took a bit longer than we expected, but once we got up to speed we did a lot of traffic running. I learned a massive amount today and felt really comfortable towards the end and we were able to start passing a few cars. I think the first two days have been solid, as well as they could have gone, and I’m happy with the progress we’re making.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “It’s been mostly good, yesterday went exactly like we scripted it. Today, we had a few issues we had to deal with. Even with that being said, I’m still happy with the car. Everyone probably got a little over-excited about the speed charts yesterday, but I think we’re better than what they showed today. We’re just working through our program. We had a really good long run at the end today on a full tank, which is what we were missing yesterday. We’ve got a few gremlins to work on, but we’re doing OK. You have to look ahead at the weather. You’d look pretty silly if you didn’t get enough work done early in the week and had a bunch of tires left over while sitting in the rain. We’re trying to manage our tires to a point where we’ll be OK if we need to run those days where it looks like there might be heavy rain, but at the same time, we’re making sure we get as much work done now in anticipation of the forecasted weather.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet): “Today, I felt really good. We did a lot of running and made a lot of progress. The conditions got tricky and it will continue to be windy and stay hot the next couple days. I think our goal as a team is to feel really good about our car in poor conditions and if we can do that then we will be feeling good when conditions get better, if they do, and if they don’t at least we are prepared for it on race day. We work together well and continue to get through our intended program so for Day 2, I’m pretty happy.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s still very much a learning process for the Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevrolet team. We have a lot of experienced people, but this collection is new in a lot of ways. But we’re getting a good feel for one other and how we communicate when we’re on the track. The car felt good today. We’ve got some things to work on, but everything is on schedule. Tomorrowshould be a day like today and we’ll be able to keep working on it.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 24 DRR Mecum Auctions Chevrolet): “Ended up P5. Very strong day at the speedway with it only being our second day back. We made good strides in the race setup. We haven’t done much with the car for qualifying setup. The car does run pretty well on its own. I’ve been focused on the race setup. The DRR Kingdom guys have done a great job and we’re continuing to do well.”

FERNANDO ALONSO (No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda): “It was good, it was good, very positive and productive day. We did a lot of laps – 117 laps today I think – a lot of learning, some group running, finally with some traffic. So, it is information I will sleep on and be a better oval driver tomorrow.” (About running in traffic) “It felt OK, it felt as I expected. Obviously, here it’s very important to keep close to the car in front of you, to take the benefit from the next straight. It was useful. I’m on the best team for that; we are six cars and we were running together. My teammates were amazing (in) helping me. I knew they were taking care of me in some moments of the run, so that was good and yeah, first time for me. (I was) learning every lap here and there, you know, when I follow them, learning what they do, how they attack the next corner or the next lap, how they prepare the overtaking, so, it was very useful and a very productive day.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 40 Indy Women in Tech Championship Chevrolet): “Just really happy with the progress we made today. We got a lot of laps in, which has been nice. Towards the end, we even got to run in traffic. Just really proud of my guys here at Foyt. My engineer, Andy Brown, has been doing a great job getting me up to speed. As a rookie, we just need laps in the IWiT Champ Chevy right now. Every lap we do is making us faster for race day.”

PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Today was a really tough day for the No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This track is like this, and you will have days like this, but we have a great crew on the No. 63 car and they will figure this out overnight and we will come back strong tomorrow.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Honda): “Overall another decent day of work for the 83 crew. We ran a couple of sets of new tires and we ran a little bit in traffic. I’m definitely happier with the car working toward qualifying trim on our own as we trim downforce out of it. The car feels pretty good there. I think we found some things that definitely stabilized and worked on some of the problems I was having last night. I feel good about those improvements. We still have a little ways to go in traffic – we just can’t run as close to the other cars as we need to be to be able to run up front and pass when we need to.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 88 Harding Racing Chevrolet): “We’re very happy with the comeback we’ve made from yesterday when we got only six laps of running. To come out today, put in the amount of work that we did and get a little pick me up at the end of the day is definitely a good accomplishment. The Harding Racing crew did a hell of a job. This run doesn’t mean as much as race day, that’s what will count, but it’s a good sign of our potential going forward.”