Team Penske Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report
Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Race: Indianapolis 500
Date: May 27, 2018
No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 3
Points Position: 3rd (-10 pts)
- Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Josef Newgarden began Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 from the fourth starting position after a strong qualifying session last weekend.
- As was the case with most of the Team Penske quartet of drivers, Newgarden fought an understeer condition on the unusually hot Indianapolis Motor Speedway surface.
- Even while fighting the understeer, Newgarden made his way into the top three early in the race to show he had a car capable of challenging for his first Indy 500 win.
- After restarting 19th following a lap 70 pit stop, the Tennessean wasted little time in moving back inside the top five, which he did at lap 96.
- After briefly moving into the lead at lap 133, Newgarden surrendered it for a pit stop where he received four Firestone tires and fuel.
- A rash of cautions late in the race kept Newgarden from establishing a rhythm around the 2.5-mile oval and resulted in an eighth-place finish.
Quote: “It was more difficult this year, but I think still a great race. I think we fought back for points, which was good. We just got out of position there on pit stops and just struggled with the yellows; they didn’t fall our way. We were fighting from 20th, 15th place. I think we had a good car up front. I wasn’t so good in the back. Once I got 15th or 20th, I struggled a little bit. But we were making slow progress. We got back in the top 10 but can’t be too satisfied. It was a great day for Team Chevy and Team Penske, as well. I’m happy for Will (Power), I just wish it was our day. We had an amazing Indiana crowd, as always. This is the best race of the year, and hopefully we’ll have a better shot next time.”
No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves
Laps Completed: 145/200
Laps Led: 0
- Not only did Helio Castroneves begin Sunday’s 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 as the only driver in the field with multiple wins in the event, he was aiming to become just the fourth man to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on four occasions.
- In just his second Verizon IndyCar Series start of 2018, Castroneves qualified his No. 3 Pennzoil Dallara/Chevrolet solidly in the eighth position.
- Castroneves radioed to his strategist, Roger Penske that his car had a bit of understeer in Turns 3 and 4, but was happy with the overall handling. As a result he began to make his way to the front of the field.
- Just prior to the 50-lap mark of the 200-lap event, Castroneves moved into the top five.
- A fuel-flow issue on the second pit stop of the day at lap 50 resulted in an extended pit stop for the No. 3 team that dropped Castroneves back to night in the running order, but the three-time Indy 500 winner was able to work his way back inside the top five.
- Castroneves has always been a driver that picks up the pace during crunch time and he looked to be in a position to do just that as he approached the last 50 laps of the race.
- Unfortunately, while trying to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay on the outside of Turn 4 at lap 146, Castroneves spun his Chevrolet and made contact with the inside wall. The resulting damage forced him to retire from the race and his wait for immortality delayed for another year.
Quote: “The car was actually handling good, I couldn’t get that too close to other guys. I guess when I went to pass (Ryan) Hunter-Reay on the outside, maybe got a little debris on the tire – I don’t know, that was obviously the first time. My worry was actually Turn 1, not so much in Turn 4, so I felt a little bit movement but I was feeling that most of the time. But this time, unfortunately the rear just over-rotated. The Pennzoil Chevrolet was really good today and I’m so happy for Will Power. I know what he is feeling and there is nothing like it.”
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 59
Points Position: 1st (243 pts)
- Will Power was already a Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) Champion. Now he can call himself an Indianapolis 500 champion after taking the checkered flag in the 102nd running of the race on Sunday afternoon.
- Power began the race on the front row after qualifying his No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet in the third position.
- The Australian driver was a player at the front of the field throughout the first half of the race, but he began to flex his muscle after the halfway point.
- Power took his first lead of the day during a pit cycle on lap 108 and had to with some fuel strategy drama before securing the win.
- With under 10 laps to go, Power found himself in the third position but with more fuel than the two leaders. When those cars hit pit road after realizing they could not make it to the end, Power had clear sailing for his first Indy 500 victory.
- The victory extends Team Penske’s record of Indianapolis 500 victories to 17. This was the 21st VICS wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when combined with four wins in the INDYCAR Grand Prix.
- With the win, Power is now the winningest VICS driver in Team Penske history with 31 series victories. He passes teammate Helio Castroneves for the top spot.
Quote: “Overwhelming. Amazing. It’s funny, you forget where you are, you’re so immersed in the race. You don’t even realize. On the white flag lap I started screaming because I just knew I was going to win it. Unbelievable. Never been so excited. This was a race you wanted to lead. At last they had a formula, if you had a good car, the leader could benefit and pull away. I liked it. It definitely made it harder to drive. Put the driver back into it more, where before you could hang back, third, no one wanted to lead.”
No. 22 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 1
Points Position: 9th (-88 pts)
- Simon Pagenaud narrowly missed out on the Indianapolis 500 pole position, but started Sunday’s race from the second starting spot.
- Similar to his teammate Castroneves, Pagenaud also had to deal with an understeer condition in Turns 3 and 4. To help combat this, strategist Kyle Moyer called for front wing adjustments on the first two pit stops of the day.
- Despite the pestering condition, Pagenaud was able to keep his No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet inside the top-six cars throughout the race.
- A late-race caution allowed Pagenaud a shot to move into the lead, but the understeer condition kept him from doing so.
- The sixth-place finish for the Frenchman marked his career-best finish in the Indianapolis 500 as he continues to improve on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
Quote: “It was all about track position today. We had a fantastic No. 22 Menards Chevrolet. I just want to give a tip of the cap to Chevrolet and all of Team Penske. I am just so happy for Will. We have been rivals. We are friends and teammates. I can’t imagine how he feels right now but that is my next goal, the one he has just accomplished. I’m sure that is a big weight off his shoulders. Honestly, I am super happy for him. There is no better man than Will to win this race. He has been through a lot and today is all about him.”