CHEVROLET RACING IN THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
KOHLER GRAND PRIX
ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN
TEAM CHEVY POST RACE RECAP, QUOTES AND TRANSCRIPT
JUNE 24, 2018
Newgarden Puts Chevy in Victory Lane in Wisconsin
ELKHART LAKE, WISC –Josef Newgarden put on a driving clinic for the competition today at Road America today as he captured his third victory of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) season and 10th of his career. The defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion started his No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet on the pole, and went on to lead 53 of the 55-lap race around the 4.014-mile Wisconsin natural terrain road course.
Touting both the power and fuel mileage of his 2.2 liter Chevrolet twin turbocharged direct injected V6 engine, the second-year Team Penske driver was relieved to take the top spot on the podium after coming so close in 2017.
“It’s been an amazing weekend,” said Newgarden. “Great fan turnout, incredible atmosphere. I took my time on the cool-down lap because of how packed the place was. I wanted to kind of enjoy it because it was just an amazing atmosphere. It was a difficult one. We had our work cut out for us today. We had to be perfect. We had to be perfect on our fuel mileage, on our pit stints as far as the pit stops themselves, they had to be perfect.
“The team did a great job. Team Penske had a great strategy. I think our Team Chevy engine made a big difference today. I had good power, good reliability, certainly had the fuel mileage that we needed. You had to have all those factors today I think to beat the competition.”
Newgarden now sits fourth in the standings with seven races remaining in the season.
Simon Pagenaud brought the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet to the checkered flag in seventh place after a disappointing qualifying effort that landed the 2016 VICS champion in the 14th starting position.
Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot capitalized on a strong qualifying effort to bring the No. 21 Direct Supply Chevrolet home with an eighth place finish and give Chevrolet three of the top-eight finishers. Teammate Jordan King finished 12th in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet to give the Carpenter duo their best finishes of the season.
Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, suffered a mechanical issue on lap one of the race and was relegated to the 23rd finishing position.
Other Chevrolet finishers are as follows:
No. 14 Tony Kanaan 14th
No. 4 Matheus Leist 15th
No. 59 Max Chilton 17th
No. 23 Charlie Kimball 18th
No. 88 Gabby Chaves 19th
No. 32 Alfonso Celis, Jr. 20th
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon (both Honda) completed the podium.
Next on the schedule for Team Chevy in the Verizon IndyCar Series will be July 7-8 at Iowa Speedway.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER:
HOW BAD DID YOU WANT THIS ONE JOSEF?
“Really bad. I have wanted to win here since last year. I felt like we had a car that could win then, and it just didn’t happen. This Chevrolet has been a rocket all weekend, but it was not easy. Ryan (Hunter-Reay) was quick and I knew (Scott) Dixon was right behind him, so we were working for it the entire race. These Team Penske guys were the best. They gave me incredible pit stops and I think we nailed the strategy. Tim (Cindric) was coaching me through the whole thing so I kind of knew what I had to do, but it was a lot of work I will be honest with you. Ryan was really pushing me. So just hats off to the whole Team Penske team, I wish we could have all those other guys up here with us, but it’s good to get a win. Doesn’t matter which car gets one, it’s just good to get a win for Team Penske.”
YOU TOLD ME YOU HAVE HAD THE SPEED, YOU JUST HAVEN’T HAD THE RACE EXECUTION. CAN YOU IMAGINE A BETTER EXECUTED RACE FOR YOU OR THE TEAM THAN THIS?
“It was pretty flawless. It was difficult at the beginning and I was struggling a bit to do what I needed to do and gap Ryan correctly. But I tell you what, Team Chevy did a great job this weekend and gave me the horsepower and had great fuel economy. So I am really proud of those guys. Good reliability and everything you would expect from a Team Chevy engine. I think that made the difference at the end of the day.”
HOW MUCH OF YOUR DAY WAS SPENT LOOKING IN THE MIRROR AT THAT 28 CAR TRYING TO KEEP THAT GAP EXACTLY WHERE IT NEEDED TO BE? AND YOU WERE RIGHT, TIM WAS ON YOU A FEW TIMES SAYING YOU HAD TO DO A BETTER JOB ON FUEL (MANAGEMENT)
“I was working my butt off and looking at him every lap. Then I started thinking that I was looking at him too much and I started looking forward because I knew if he was getting too close they would let me know. I focused forward and it was a lot better toward the end.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS TEAM IS BACK IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP HUNT NOW WITH ONLY 50 POINTS OUT OF THE LEAD?
“It’s really far till we get to the end of the season, so for me, I am not too worried about it. We just need to focus on it one weekend at a time. That is what Roger (Penske) told me. He said, ‘take it one race at a time, we have got a long way to go’. We are going to be just fine. We are focused on just being fast each and every race day, and we will be there at the end.”
ON RACE: “What a day. I don’t know what to say, I’m worn out. I was doing everything I could to keep (back) Ryan (Hunter-Reay), I knew (Scott) Dixon was close, too, so it was a day of executing. Team Penske did a great job. Tim (Cindric, race strategist) gave me the strategy I needed. The guys were perfect in their pit stops. I don’t know what to tell you. It was a hard-fought day, it was not as easy as it looked. I was looking at my mirrors half the day with Ryan closing in on me. I think that Team Chevy engine made the difference. I had the engine mileage that I needed, the power, good reliability – everything that you’d expect from Team Chevy. At the end of the day, to me, that’s what made the difference.”
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH: “It was a good weekend. Qualifying was a real shame. We definitely had a good car. We made a big improvements throughout the weekend, but we over-balanced and barely missed Q2 where we could have adjusted and probably contended for the pole. It would have changed the whole race because the Menards Chevy was really good in the race. We managed to have a really good fuel saving during the race, so strategy was really good. Tires – when to have to the reds; when to have the blacks. Made a lot of passes on track. We had a blast today. Coming from starting 14th to finish seventh on a track like this with no yellows is pretty outstanding. Very proud of my team. It was a really exciting race. I would like to have been up front more, but it was pretty good where we finished.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 DIRECT SUPPLY ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 8TH: “No, definitely not. The start was pretty eventful for us. Obviously Will (Power) had an issue and I got boxed in and the field was just kind of streaming past me on the inside. We fell back a bit on the first lap, but we were able to pass a lot of guys and move up. But the Direct Supply Chevy was really good for us, and the guys did really good on pit lane. It was a little frustrating to get passed by Simon (Pagenaud) there on the last lap, but we did the last stint there on used reds and we were just hanging on there and he just got me. Overall it was a great race and I had a lot of fun. There were a lot of really good battles, and a clean race, but a lot of hard driving.
“We had a frustrating start, getting boxed it and not having anywhere to go when Will (Power) had his issue. We fell back quite a lot, but made up those positions and more throughout the first stint. The car was working really well for me! After that, we just tried to hit our fuel number and have clean stops, which we did. The Direct Supply crew did a great job for me! I would have like to have stayed seventh, but Simon (Pagenaud) had a good pass on me there at the end. Overall, it was a pretty solid weekend.”
JORDAN KING, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 12TH : “I had a good start, I made up quite a good chunk of places on Lap 1. I went off line and then was just at the wrong place at the wrong time so annoyingly I lost everything that I made up. The changes we made overnight did improve the car, it just took a little while for me to get used to. It took me most of the first stint to get used to it, but after that our pace was actually pretty good. Other than the stall, if I didn’t mess that up, I think we would have been up in that group that Spencer (Pigot) was in. Not too bad in the end but a couple of small things cost us quite a lot of time on the track.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 14TH: “We missed on the setup. No excuses. We need to get better.”
MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15TH: “Today was a really tough race. We’ve just been struggling a lot finding the right car setup. We can’t quite figure out the best setup for tracks like these. All we can do is prepare the best we can for Iowa.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 17TH: “We made such an improvement in today’s race from where we started this weekend. I very much enjoyed that race – it’s such a pleasure to drive this Road America circuit. Obviously, it was a really clean race with no yellows and ended up being a fuel mileage race. We picked the right strategy and we had great stops, but we just didn’t start off in the right place to fully maximize everything we did right. I feel like I extracted everything out of the car that I could and it’s a shame that we can’t do qualifying again and see where we’d end up after seeing how we did in our race today. I’m looking forward now to Iowa – I’ve had some success there so hopefully it’ll translate into a good result for the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet in a few weeks.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 23 TRESIBA CARLIN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 18TH: “It’s been a character-building weekend for everyone here at Carlin. I’m proud of the guys for trying something different on strategy for the race today. We knew that it was a possibility that the race would go full green here, which meant that our strategy for the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet might not work as well, but we felt like that was a risk worth taking. We’ll go back and look at all of the data, keep learning, and keep taking steps forward. I’m looking forward to going to Iowa in a few weeks. We had good race pace on the last short oval we raced on in Phoenix, so we’re optimistic about our starting point there.”
GABBY CHAVES, NO. 88 HARDING GROUP HARDING RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 19TH: “It felt like we made some good changes overnight and we were able to pass some cars, be aggressive and have fun out there in the first few stints. Unfortunately, we had an issue with one of the air guns, I’m not quite sure what happened, but we ended up running over one of our air hoses. That cost us a drive thru, which obviously on a long pit lane basically ended our day. Anyways, it’s been a very positive change to challenge a bit more and race some cars! We were unlucky at the end, but we made a lot of progression which was the goal. Really looking forward to Iowa now.”
ALFONSO CELIS, JR., NO. 32 JUNCOS RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 20TH:
“I finally have my first race under my belt. It was a lot of learning and a lot to take in. It was important to finish no matter what, so that’s good. I made some mistakes during the race. I had contact in Turn-1 at the start of the race, so we had to replace the front wing during the first pit stop. I am happy to finish the race and look forward to moving on from here.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, RETIRED FROM RACE AFTER LAP ONE DUE TO MECHANICAL FAILURE, FINISHED 23RD: DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED? “Literally from as soon as I started warming it up, there was something amiss. I have no clue. They replaced the exhaust and it still didn’t take so the Chevy guys will take deep look at it.”
ON HIS UP AND DOWN SEASON: “It is unbelievable the amount of DNFs I have had this season. I have never had this many in my career in such a short period of time. Yep, that’s racing. goes one way and then the other. As quickly as it down, it can swing the other way quickly in a good way. When I think about it, we came into the month of May I think fifth in points and left as the leader, so it can change, Man.”