Team Penske Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report

Track:                  Road America

Race:                   Kohler Grand Prix

Date:                   June 24, 2018

No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 1st

Finish: 1st

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 55/55

Laps Led: 53

Points Position: 4th (-50 pts)

Notes:

  • It was a near-perfect weekend for Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet team after dominating two practice sessions, qualifying and the Verizon IndyCar Series Kohler Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
  • The race was a rare caution-less event which allowed pole sitter Newgarden and his team to have a stronghold on the first position leading all but two laps.
  • By the second lap, Newgarden radioed to strategist Tim Cindric that the car was feeling really good and they only gained momentum from there.
  • The No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet first headed to pit road on lap 14 for primary sticker tires which help propelled the team quickly back to the lead after pitting and did not lose any positions.
  • As the car continued to run strong, Newgarden brought his Chevrolet to the pits on lap 29 for worn alternate tires – to help increase the gap between him and his competition – along with a front wing adjustment.
  • He continued to dominate as he came in for his final pit stop for fresh alternate tires to once again try and increase the gap. This time the gap was between him and Ryan Hunter-Reay who was quickly closing the space between him and Newgarden.
  • As the last laps wound down, the Tennessean maintained the gap and led the field to the checkered flag to claim his third win of the season.
  • Josef Newgarden is now fourth in 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship standings and looking to continue to gain more points at the series’ next race at Iowa. 

Quote:  “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.”

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 2nd

Finish: 23rd

Status: Out

Laps Completed: 55/55

Laps Led: 0

Points Position: 5th (-65 pts)

Notes:

  • Unfortunately, engine issues plagued Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet team from the beginning of this afternoon’s Verizon IndyCar Series Kohler Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. leading ultimately to retiring the car after just two laps.
  • Prior to the first lap of the race, Roger Penske, strategist for the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet radioed that there was a possible engine issue.
  • On lap 1 the team diagnosed the issue as a boost issue and Roger Penske asked Power to power cycle his Chevrolet in hopes of solving the issue.
  • After the second lap of the race, Penske called Power to the pit so the team could evaluate the vehicle. After determining that it was possibly a blown header on the right side, the team took the car to the paddock to repair.
  • After briefly returning to the racing surface on lap 14, the car misfired and Power had to bring his car back to the paddock for further evaluation.
  • After determining the engine issue was too complex to fix during the race, the team was forced to retire from the event.
  • The 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner now is fifth in Verizon IndyCar Series Championship points and looks to Iowa to regain valuable points to make another run at a second series title.

Quote: “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. 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 goes 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.”

No. 22 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 14th

Finish: 7th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 55/55

Laps Led: 0

Points Position: 8th (-138 pts)

Notes:

  • After starting the Verizon IndyCar Series Kohler Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. towards the middle of the pack in the 14th position, Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet battled to bring home a strong seventh-place finish.
  • Pagenaud made quick moves at the beginning of the race moving up two positions in the first two laps of the Sunday afternoon event.
  • After a few more laps, the French driver found himself in the 10th position when his strategist Kyle Moyer called him to the pits on lap 14 for new alternate tires and a wing adjustment after Pagenaud asked for changes due to understeer.
  • The French-born driver moved in the ninth position prior to his lap 27 stop for worn alternate tires to help him find more speed to move up further through the field.
  • Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet found their way into the seventh position prior to their final pit stop on lap 41 where the crew provided him worn alternate tires.
  • He fell to the ninth position after his final stop but battled his way through the field to eventually finish seventh – providing him his sixth top-10 finish this season.
  • Simon Pagenaud is now eight in Verizon IndyCar Series Championship point standings, 138 points behind the leader.

Quote:  “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.”