Team Penske Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report
Track: Barber Motorsports Park
Race: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Date: April 23, 2018
No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Start: 1st (3rd-career INDYCAR pole)
Finish: 1st (9th-career INDYCAR win)
Laps Completed: 82/82
Laps Led: 73
Points Standings (ahead of second): 1st (+13)
- Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet began the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park on the pole, his third-career INDYCAR pole.
- The race ran over the course of two days due to rain postponing the Sunday afternoon race event to be completed Monday afternoon.
- Even though there were numerous red and yellow flags and a mixture of weather, Newgarden proved to be consistent and strong, at one point leading by over 25 seconds.
- Newgarden led an impressive 73 out of 82 laps. Only one other driver paced the field over the course of two days.
- With just 14 minutes remaining in the race, Tim Cindric called the No. 1 Hitachi Chevrolet to the pits for fuel and rain tires after the light rain again began to fall.
- This marked Josef Newgarden’s third-career win at Barber Motorsports Park. It was his second win of the season.
- The Tennessee-born driver takes the Verizon IndyCar Series points lead back from Alexander Rossi. He leads by 13 points.
- His win at the Alabama road course marks Team Penske’s 199 INDYCAR win heading into the Month of May at Indianapolis.
Quote: “That was more eventful than I would have liked. But everybody did a great job. How about Team Chevy today – they gave us a great engine, good fuel mileage and good reliability, and that’s what we needed to win this race. It’s great having Hitachi – we got Verizon a victory, now we got Hitachi a victory, so thank you guys. Everyone at Team Penske did a great job, but like I said, that was more eventful than I wanted it. It would seem like smooth sailing for the most part, we didn’t have any yellows, which we were hoping no yellows today, but then the rain crept in. I couldn’t believe how long everyone stayed out. It was really risky what they were doing, but I understand why there were doing it. I’m glad we made the call to come in so soon.”
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Laps Completed: 53/82
Laps Led: 0
Points Standings (behind first): 10th (-77)
- Will Power started his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet in the second position for this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park.
- Power had a strong start to the road course event, running second to teammate Josef Newgarden early on.
- Unfortunately, Power fell victim to wet weather conditions and spun into the wall on lap 12 under torrential rains Sunday.
- By lap 26, INDYCAR had decided to display the red flag for weather conditions. By this time, the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet had already made its way to the garage for repairs.
- Due to INDYCAR rules, the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet could not work on the car following the red flag on Sunday. This halted efforts to prepare the car to return to race-ready conditions until the green flag waved once again on Monday.
- While the team did return to competition, it did not complete the event as the team decided to retire from the race early due to weather conditions once it began to rain heavily again on Monday.
Quote: “It’s just a real shame for everyone on the Verizon Chevy team. The car was good and we were doing our best out there but it was really hard to see anything in front of me. The conditions were just so bad. As soon as I got to the front straight the car just came around and I tried to keep it off the wall but it was hydroplaning and there was nothing I could do. I feel bad for the team and for the fans in this weather. Just too bad. Hopefully our luck can turn around when we get to Indianapolis.”
No. 22 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Laps Completed: 82/82
Laps Led: 0
Points Standings (behind first): 15th (-92)
- Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet began the road course race at Barber Motorsports Park in the ninth position.
- After rain ended the day early on Sunday at lap 26, Pagenaud found himself in the 14th position following an early pit stop.
- Beginning the resumed race on Monday on primary tires, Pagenaud was able to make up a lot of ground quickly and advance to the 10th spot as just over an hour remained in the race.
- With less than 40 minutes remaining, the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet was serviced on pit road to obtain alternate tires, fuel and a front wing adjustment. This pit stop helped Pagenaud move to a race high of seventh with 17 minutes remaining in the event.
- As weather conditions changed once again to heavy rain, the French driver returned to pit road for fuel and rain tires.
- He eventually finished ninth in the event. He is now 15th in Verizon IndyCar Series point standings, 92 points behind leader and teammate Josef Newgarden.
Quote: “We had a pretty good race going and I think we potentially could have been a top five. I was very frustrated with Gabby (Chavez). He was two laps down. And I just got stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying everything I could to make it happen. But, it’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s just not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you won’t have everybody on your side when you have a good day. And at the moment he doesn’t have you on his side, let me tell you. But, it’s a real shame. I think the Menards 22 was really from where we started. The strategy to go on rain (tires) when we went on rain was a good choice and yeah, I thought it was a really good pace. We just started from too far back.”