CHEVROLET RACING IN THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
102ND RUNNING OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFICATIONS DAY 1 RECAP
MAY 19, 2018
INDIANAPOLIS (May 19, 2018) – Seven Chevrolet drivers will aim to claim the pole position for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil during the Fast Nine Shootout May 20 on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
All four Team Penske entries, including Helio Castroneves seeking a record-tying fourth Indy 500 victory, and all three Ed Carpenter Racing cars, including Danica Patrick seeking her first ‘500’ victory in the finale of her motorsports career, recorded four-lap average lap speeds on the first day of qualifications that secured spots in the nine-car segment.
All 16 Team Chevy entries, including rookies Matheus Leist and Kyle Kaiser, qualified for the 33-car field that will take the green flag May 27.
Castroneves, whose four pole starts in the 500-Mile Race are the most among active drivers, registered the best four-lap average speed of 228.919 mph in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet.
Team owner/driver Ed Carpenter, who earned the pole in 2013 and ’14, posted the top lap speed of the 35 drivers who made qualifying attempts at 229.266 mph in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet and was the second-fastest qualifier. He sat atop the speed chart in 2017 after the first day of qualifications.
Simon Pagenaud, driving the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, and teammate Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet also cracked the top five. Spencer Pigot, whose qualified 29th in his previous two Indy 500 starts, was the sixth-fastest qualifier in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet. Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) champion Josef Newgarden was seventh in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
Patrick, who will make her eighth Indianapolis 500 start and first since 2011, was the ninth-fastest qualifier in the No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet.
On May 20, entries 10-33 will receive one four-lap attempt that will set Rows 4-11. The fastest nine cars from first-day qualifying will run in reverse order based on first-day times. Each car will receive one guaranteed attempt, with the first three rows set on the cars’ four-lap average speed during the segment.
ABC will telecast qualifications live at 4 p.m. ET.
Since its return to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2012, Chevrolet has registered four poles in the Indianapolis 500 (Ryan Briscoe in ’12, Carpenter in ’13 and ’14, Scott Dixon in ’15) and 76 overall in 106 races. Chevrolet has swept the front row three times since 2012.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “The guys that ran in the morning got a huge advantage. There’s nothing you can do about it; it’s the luck of the draw. You draw a late number, it cost us. It’s been a remarkable job by the team, putting two cars in the top 10 (before end of day 1) when people believed we couldn’t even start this race it’s pretty good so far.
WERE YOU HAPPY WITH IT?
Yeah, it was a good run. The last lap wasn’t good. So, you hate to finish on that, but it wasn’t terrible. It’s still a decent run for us. I just wished we could have maximized that last lap a little bit better. But the Verizon car has been quick. I think track conditions slowed-up a little bit with the humidity. After all that rain it’s gotten really humid and it kind of slows our cars down. Hopefully it’s enough to hold. If it’s not, then, it’s not meant to be. But I think we’ve got a little more speed in our car.”
WAS IT SOMETHING YOU DID ON THAT LAST LAP, OR JUST THE CONDITIONS?
“My line was a little bit off in (Turn) 2 and I pushed up, so I had to correct and I lifted just a touch to correct it because I didn’t want it to be a bigger moment. Those fractions deals can hurt you at Indy.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 PENNZOIL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “I didn’t make many adjustments. The Shell Pennzoil Chevy looks really strong. Right now, we’re working very well and trying to make sure Chevy power keeps pushing up to the front. When I saw the 229, I thought it was 228. I had to compose myself. It’s amazing how the car became so sensitive by the last lap. You don’t want to do anything too aggressive.”
MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET: “Qualifying was pretty good I think, I was pretty comfortable in the car and I’m happy with the performance and happy with the effort of all the ABC crew, I think they did a great job today. We’ll see how it goestomorrow. It was a tough run because the conditions changed so much from yesterday. Yesterday I had one car and today I had a different car but the good thing is that we were still fast. We had a little bit of understeer in turn 1 and 2 and we were a little bit edgy in 3 and 4 but I had my tools so I could control the car. I think I and the team did a great job together.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “I think the balance just came in as the run went on. Obviously fuel gets a little bit lighter, too. So, I think I think we have a good solid-balanced car so that’s why it was going faster. This is obviously a very different condition to the early runners, so hopefully we have a shot at the pole tomorrow. But, I think we’re solidly in the nine’s, and I’m happy with that.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 13 GODADDY ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET: “Every year is a little different. I remember 13 years ago my first time, similar conditions (to today) early it was overcast and cooler and having to save it in (Turn) 1. I remember that and thenI remember years where the car was very neutral the whole way around the track and looking at the steering trace afterward and my heart rate is still not down to times you go out there and it just won’t go fast enough. That gets your heart rate going in a a different way. That’s the thing about Indy. It’s unpredictable. It ebbs and flows here. You can go out one day and you’re good and you go out the next day, try some things and wonder how you lost your way. You have to respect that process about Indy that it comes and goes. I am very happy with this car. I am comfortable, (Ed Carpenter Racing) has made me comfortable. We got off on a path that didn’t go very well for a while. The good thing is you come back to it and the car is there. I wish I would have been able to qualify before the rains came. The conditions were probably a little more ideal.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY AJ FFOYT RACING CHEVROLET: “It was a good day. The luck of the draw definitely hurt us a bit. It is what it is. As a team, it’s nice to see A.J. so happy. I wish I could’ve locked in the Fast 9 for him. But it doesn’t matter. Today, the most important thing was to be in the show. We have two cars that are very strong in the show. Tomorrow we will fight the pole which is for tenth [smiles] then we’ll go win the race. The year that we won here, I started 12th. I believe that we can do it.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET: “It was tough. The conditions are a lot harder than anything we’ve done (qualifying) sims in. I was smiling because my car is crazy fast. I probably could have been a little more brave and stuck it in there on that fourth lap but I was looking at the three times, trying to do math in my head among other things, and figured I could be a little conservative that last lap and make sure we had a chance for the shootout tomorrow. I was hoping it would still be good enough for P1 but I’m happy with that. The conditions are tough for the time of day to put in a time like that. It’s a testament to the team I have behind me. Obviously have to thank Chevrolet for the power this year.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 PREFERRED FREEZER SERVICES ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET: “It’s definitely a very nice position to be in, being in the top nine. It’s no surprise to anyone to see the ECR cars up front. Such a great job by everyone to get all three cars in the top nine. Qualifying is only half over; we have another run tomorrow. Now we’ll look at everything and see how aggressive we want to be, trim out and go for it. It’s great to be quick here at the biggest race in the world, the one we all want to win. To be fast and up front is definitely a nice feeling. Qualifying is one thing and the race is another. We’re all pleased at the moment and see how it goes.”
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “I hate waiting. I just wanted to go, get it out of the way. At least see the performance. Conditions are going to be key for speed. A gust of wind that goes your way, you’re going to pick up a lot of speed. Or a temperature drop could be a big advantage. Conditions today are what is going to get you up top the front. (How do you move to P1?) That’s one of the secrets of Indianapolis. Sometimes you have some super fast stuff going on and sometimes another teammate goes faster. We’re trying everything we can. It depends on the conditions on track. So far, the 22 Menards Chevy is really strong. I think it was a pretty strong performance.
“I’m very glad we got our run in and see the performance of the car. I think we’ve got something good. I think the four Team Penske cars are going to be very fast and obviously Helio (Castroneves) was really, really fast. I feel like the 22 Menards Chevrolet car is very competitive. We have a shot at (pole). I take my hat off to Chevrolet for the hard work that they’ve done all winter to get this engine at a different level of performance. They stepped up their game, and Team Penske the preparation with the car is rolling better than the others. It’s an honor to drive for two big friends like this.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 23 FIASP CARLIN CHEVROLET: “I’m just so proud of the whole team for how much work they’ve put into this INDYCAR program and especially into making sure that both Carlin cars qualified for next Sunday. You know, we stopped a little early during practice yesterday and the conditions today were significantly different, so we were a bit worried about making sure we adjusted to those factors. I think we were hoping to get a bit more speed out of the No. 23 Fiasp Chevrolet, but we’re all just over the moon that we made it into the show. We definitely have some work to do tonight after we comb through some data from this afternoon and hopefully we’ll have a shot at moving up even further tomorrow.”
SAGE KARAM, NO. 24 WIX FILTERS DRR CHEVROLET: “It’s about where I expected. I said I’d be between 15 and 20. I just wanted to get into the field today. That was the main goal, then tomorrow we can attack more. We missed the gear ratio today. I had to downshift going into Turn 1 on my first lap; that really killed the speed. But we’ll go back to the drawing board tonight, fix it and should be good. It’s a good starting point. We missed the setup a little bit. We’ll probably go more toward where JR (Hildebrand) was and should be good.” (How challenging was it with the variable weather conditions today?): “Yeah, that was the most challenging part. That’s why we missed the gears and the downforce level a little bit. If we have gotten out right before that last little rain, we would’ve been perfect. Unfortunately that’s how Indy is. It makes its own luck around here, and today I didn’t have the luck of the weather on my side.”
KYLE KAISER, NO. 32 NFP/JUNCOS RACING CHEVROLET: ” Overall, I am ecstatic right now. We had such a great day. Rolling in, the guys made a few changes to the car from yesterday and we only had to qualify one time and the NFP Chevy car had the pace. I am just so happy with the team and the all the hard work they’ve done and put in. I am very excited to say that I will be in the Indianapolis 500 this year. I cannot wait for tomorrow to determine where we will actually be starting in the race, but to know we are in the show is an unbelievable feeling. I am so grateful to Dan Andersen and the Mazda Road To Indy for the opportunity to get me this chance to qualify. Now that I know I am in the race I couldn’t be happier. I look forward to an exciting week ahead preparing for the race and getting out there for the biggest stage in racing.”
JAMES DAVISON, NO. 33 JONATHAN BYRD’S 502 EAST FOYT WITH BYRD/HOLLINGER/BELARDI CHEVROLET: “I’m amazed we were able to get back out and perform that well. It is because I have the most phenominal, fantastic team with chemistry. All the crew guys up and down pit lane are the real stars here. They build these cars and make them safe for us. Yesterday was not good for us. We weren’t fast and we had to try some things to get quicker. I’m so proud of that run. If you have told me we would have been faster than the No. 5 car (James Hinchcliffe) I would have never believed you. But it is early in the day, but at least we know we aren’t totally out to lunch.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET: “I was really comfortable coming out of practice yesterday with the balance, but when I went out today it was literally within one corner I knew that it had changed a lot out there. The wind had gone up, the wind direction had changed, and I felt like the balance had changed. It’s just difficult if you’re struggling even a little bit because you just don’t know which way to go. I felt like the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet was a little loose and then the wind was getting stronger as we built up on speed so it was quite difficult. We weren’t thrilled with our overall pace, but honestly I’m just so proud of this team for getting both cars qualified for the Indianapolis 500.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 66 SALESFORCE DRR CHEVROLET: “The consistency was pretty good. It’s hard with conditions, they’re changing a lot even from this morning to this afternoon. It’s hard to know exactly what to expect. Hats off to these boys at Dreyer & Reinbold for being a one-off team here to be able to get it dialed in as much as we have. We’ve had a bit of a hectic week with everything that went down on Thursday, so props to the boys. Happy to be comfortably in the mix with the Salesforce Chevy this year.”
GABBY CHAVES, NO. 88 HARDING GROUP CHEVROLET: “Glad to finish the day safely inside the show. Our Harding Racing #88 had some really good speed, but we weren’t really able to maximize the speed that we thought we had. It was good enough to land us safely inside and now we’re going to look overnight and find a way to make the car really fast so we can start as close as we can to the front.”