Team Penske Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report
Track: ISM Raceway
Race: Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix
Date: April 7, 2018
No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 30
- Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet began the Verizon IndyCar Series Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix in the seventh position.
- After Pietro Fittipaldi brought out the caution flag on lap 41, Newgarden pitted a few laps later on lap 43. Great pit work on the stop allowed him to restart second.
- For much of the race, the Tennessean maintained a top-10 position while battling his way toward the front.
- On lap 208, Newgarden was able to take over the lead until pitting on lap 233 for fuel and tires.
- Once the green flag waved, Newgarden fought Robert Wickens for the final laps of the race and ultimately was the victor.
- His win marks Team Penske’s 198 IndyCar win.
- Prior to Josef Newgarden’s win at ISM Raceway, Ryan Blaney won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway making it the second win for Team Penske on the same day.
- The win at ISM Raceway also marks Team Penske’s 105 oval win.
- This win also marked Bridgestone’s 500th win since the tire supplier reentered the sport in 1995.
Quote: “I think the thing is, Tim (Cindric) really knew what was going on. We kind of got undercut on the second pit stop sequence. A lot of guys got in front of us because we went long. I think our team, they knew what happened there, so we just flipped the script and basically jumped everyone on the last stop and that got us ahead. Then we had the fuel mileage from Chevy, which was awesome, able to finish it off. Good strategy calls tonight, and great in the pits. The pit stops are really what won this race as well, the execution there.”
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Laps Completed: 153/250
Laps Led: 80
- Will Power started his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet in the third position in Saturday night’s Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix for the Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) at ISM Raceway.
- Early in the event, Power lost the third position before settling into fourth.
- Team strategist Roger Penske called off a front-wing adjustment during the first pit stop of the day to pick up valuable track position, resulting in Power restarting from the lead on lap 50.
- In what was shaping up to be a good battle between Power and teammate Josef Newgarden for the win never got the chance to materialize as Power made contact with the outside wall on lap 153.
- The 2014 VICS champion was forced into the second groove that was covered with tire marbles and he was unable to control his No. 12 Chevrolet at that point. The incident forced Power to retire from the race.
Quote: “I was having a good race, actually. I felt like we had a pretty good Verizon Chevy. (Alexander) Rossi ran up on the inside of me pretty late and I got on the brakes once I saw him go to the inside because I knew the marbles were pretty bad. I was going pretty slow and still got up into the wall because it was like being on ice. Disappointed for the guys but we will just have to move on, have a couple of good races and get back in the hunt. I am determined for Long Beach, Barber, the Indy road course and the Indy 500. Happy to see Josef (Newgarden) in Victory Lane tonight though.”
No. 22 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 3
- Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet began the 250-lap oval event on the front row in the second position.
- On Pagenaud’s first pit stop on lap 43, he overshot the pit stop box and had to move back into place to pit for four tires, fuel and one turn down on the rear wing. Unfortunately, this place the French-born driver further in the pack which made it difficult to recover for the remainder of the race.
- Due to an understeer issue once he was caught in the pack, Pagenaud ultimately settled for a 10th-place finish.
Quote: “We practiced on pit road all weekend long and, I don’t know, for some reason it was super slippery tonight. I was honestly taking it easy on pit road because I knew that I had good track position and a good car. There was no need to push the limits. There was nothing I could have done differently in that situation. In fact, I’ve been replaying over in my head and I would have done the same thing every time. It is what it is and we got shuffled back and had to make the best of it, but the car had too much understeer. I couldn’t get rid of it. It was better at the end of the race, but it was too late at that point. Congrats to Josef (Newgarden) and Team Penske on getting a win early in the season. A little disappointed and frustrated though because we had a good Menards Chevrolet this weekend.”