CHEVROLET RACING IN THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA
BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER POST QUALIFYING QUOTES
APRIL 21, 2018
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 1 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER:
DID YOU KNOW IT WAS THAT TIGHT BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR TEAMMATE AND HOW HARD WERE YOU PUSHING ON THAT FINAL LAP?
“Yeah, Tim (Cindric) was telling me when I came in what the lap time was. I didn’t know if that was going to be enough. It was a good lap. Actually, I like this set of tires a little bit better than the others. You almost have a favorite sometimes with the Firestones, but they held up well. I think he had a slight advantage because he didn’t have to do a hot lap on his, but I knew our car was quick. After I saw the time we did on this set of tires I knew we had a shot at it. Really proud of everybody, Hitachi being on the car with us, it’s good to get them a first pole and just everyone else. Team Chevy has done a really good job. They have really given us the good power this weekend, good drivability. We are going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow which I think we will have, but it’s going to get mixed up with the rain. So, I think the first part of this weekend is done. We just need to focus on tomorrow now and see how we are going to get through the weather.”
ON THE INCIDENT WITH JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:
“I mean, I apologize to Hinch. I wasn’t looking, so when I got going, I think I got going a little too slow and I didn’t realize he was actually there. So, it’s my fault, just not looking. I will apologize to him, but yeah, I’m glad it didn’t turn out worse and we got to at least do our lap and show what this car was capable of.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS A POLE HERE?
“Yeah, it’s important. I think whenever you get the pole it’s a good day. It shows the speed of the car, it shows the work that everyone at Team Penske has put in, but when you have weather it’s even better. You want to start up front with the spray. So hopefully, that brings us a little good luck tomorrow and we will try and finish this thing off right.”
ON HOW TIGHT THE RACE WAS WITH TEAMMATE WILL POWER FOR THE POLE:
“We all win together. He could have easily had the pole. All three of us work so well together at Team Penske trying to make these cars fast. It was hard. Everyone caught up, they caught up today I thought for sure on the time sheets. It wasn’t easy to beat everybody, but it seems like on used rubber I think our Penske cars have got some serious grip. I was really proud of everybody. Really proud to have Hitachi on the car. It is good to get them a first pole, this is my first year with them, so I’m excited to perform when we have them on the car. Really a shout out to Team Chevy, I think Chevy has really done a great job of giving us the power we need to compete against Honda. We have had good drivability this weekend. So, they have done an excellent job over the first couple of races of this year. We’ve just got to keep it up and now tomorrow the big trick is going to be the weather and seeing how we get through that.”
HOW ARE YOU IN THE RAIN?
“I hope good. We just we don’t drive in the rain a lot in IndyCar. When I raced in Europe, we did a lot more of that. We just haven’t had a lot of rain races. We normally have pretty good weather the last six years I’ve been in this series. I think we will be just fine. I think we have qualified well in the wet, we have had some decent races in the wet. We’ve just got to make sure to look after our equipment and try and finish this thing off right without getting caught up in something.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 2ND: NARROWLY MISSED GETTING THE POLE TODAY FROM YOUR TEAMMATE, WHAT WOULD HAVE MADE THE DIFFERENCE?
“I’m sure you could pick out a number of little things on a lap when it’s that close, but yeah, a little mistake out of (Turn) 9. A little lift here or there, yeah, it was close. We had good tires, we just kind of did one out lap on them when it went red in the first round. Yeah, just not good enough.”
HOW ARE YOU IN THE RAIN?
“We will see. I haven’t driven this car in the wet, but it’s the same for everyone. I think we will all be learning on the go and hopefully it is not too much rain, hopefully it just blows by and we have a nice dry race. But, we will see, just have to take it as it comes.”
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 9TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT:
“Well, I’ve got to tell you it’s frustrating qualifying. Sometimes I can throw a lap down and do a good lap, but sometimes I really struggle. The car is very much on the edge. I’ve got to take a look at what my teammates do because they are obviously really fast. The cars are good. The cars have been fast, it’s just I’m struggling with consistency, finding what I need from the car. It’s funny, last week in Long Beach the car was beautiful, really easy for me to drive, here is a different story. So, we just have to understand what I need from it better and go from there. Disappointing, but in the meantime happy to see the teammates up there.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 13TH: “We’re 100% making progress. The gap in that session to pole was half a second, which is the closest it’s been all weekend. We’re catching up, but it’s just a little frustrating that we went red and it didn’t pay off for us. It’s difficult around here, because it’s so close that you have to really perfect your lap and unfortunately I made a slight mistake at turn 13. Barber is one of those tracks where you really have to push to get a good lap and I think I just slightly overdid it. Regardless, today’s qualifying efforts from myself and Charlie are the best Carlin INDYCAR results so far this season, so that’s something we can build on.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 23 TRESIBA CARLIN CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED14TH: “It’s a little frustrating not to make the top 12, but honestly the progress we’ve made since St. Pete and even in Long Beach just on qualifying is nothing to scoff at. I’m really proud of this team – they keep making progress. I think we have a solid baseline to go off of moving forward. Now we just need to optimize for each race track and figure out to how to get into the top 12 and ultimately into the Firestone Fast 6.”
BETTER, BUT STILL WANT MORE?
“Well anytime you make progress you want to find more and this Carlin team it’s been working so hard since October when we got the cars and then St. Pete, went to Phoenix qualified a little bit better, went to Long Beach, Max (Chilton) had a really good qualifying in 15th. It’s our best qualifying of the year and yet we want to be inside that top 12. We want to transfer to that next group and see what we can do and what it’s going to take to get inside that Firestone Fast Six, but as a team we are learning every time we get to the race track. I feel good about this Novo Nordisk car over long runs, again, we are still learning a little bit with the tires, but we spent a lot of time yesterday doing long runs and then today focusing on qualifying.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 17TH: “Qualifying was pretty disappointing based on how everything went yesterday. The car just didn’t feel quite the same today. I’m not sure if it’s the rubber that’s been laid down or the heat, but both Jordan and I struggled this afternoon. This is something that we really need to work on and sort out for future sessions. It’s frustrating to be second one day and near the back the next, but we’ve got such a good group of guys here and the Fuzzy’s Vodka team working really hard. We’ll see what tomorrow brings, it might be a crazy race with the weather coming!”
JORDAN KING, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 19TH: “I feel like we had the potential to be in the Top 10 and challenge to get through to the Fast 6. It’s a bit annoying in that sense, but the circuit changed a lot so the car was quite a bit different. It was difficult to get the lap time out of the car this afternoon, when this morning we seemed to show good promise. I am quite disappointed for obvious reasons, but it’s just one of those things!
GABBY CHAVES, NO. 88 HARDING GROUP HARDING RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 20TH: “We made a great step overnight to prepare for today, but we just had some bad luck in qualifying. We were unable to get the lap in that we needed to because of the traffic and the I’ll-times red flag. I think we’ve made the right steps to improve, the silver lining is that we go racing tomorrow!”
MATTEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 21ST:“Tough qualifying for the team, for me, for Tony. We just didn’t have the speed today, this whole weekend. We’ve got a lot to talk about, debrief and see what we can do to improve the car for the road courses.
RENE BINDER, NO. 32 BINDERHOLZ JUNCOS RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 22ND: “Qualifying was short. Only one run. We basically had only one lap on the red tires, so that was difficult for me. I think there was still more in the car, I would say one second more. I took the first lap conservative because yesterday I crashed on the reds (tires). I think there was a lot more in it so I am looking forward to getting back in the Binderholz Chevrolet tomorrow.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 23RD: “Difficult weekend. We’ve been trying a bunch of different things but it’s not working. And obviously it didn’t help my mistake in qualifying. We’re struggling here but we have a whole night to think about it and hopefully we’ll come back stronger in the race and see what we can do.”