Team Penske Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report
Track: Sonoma Raceway
Race: INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma
Date: September 16, 2018
No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Laps Completed: 85/85
Laps Led: 1
Points Position: 5th (-118 pts)
- Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet ended their 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season finishing eighth at Sonoma Raceway and fifth in the overall championship points.
- Newgarden had one of his strongest qualifying runs of the last couple of weeks and started third for the 85-lap event.
- As the race went green, Newgarden maintained his position until lap 18 when he pitted for alternate tires and fuel. Unfortunately following the stop, he stalled the car trying to exit the pit box, costing the team valuable seconds on pit road.
- Newgarden continued to try and overcome the pit road miscue and found himself running as far back as 11th at one point.
- Through pit strategy and having a fast No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet, the 2017 INDYCAR Series Champion was able to fight his way up to seventh place by lap 41.
- Unfortunately, the pace of the rest of the field hindered Newgarden from making up any other spots and he had to settle for an eighth-place finish.
- Newgarden finished the season with three wins and a career-best four poles, but slipped to fifth in the final point standings.
Quote: “It was not a great day. It really all started with the first pit stop. We just had a mistake in trying to get out and I stalled it. It kind of ruined the whole day from that point there on. It was tough to recover after that. I think we had a lot of potential today and we could have contended for the win, but it was too hard come back. It was a great season and a lot of great moments for the whole team and myself. We just have to work to be a little stronger next year and go for the championship and the Indy 500.”
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Laps Completed: 85/85
Laps Led: 4
Points Position: 3rd (-96 pts)
- Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet fought their way through the final laps at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday afternoon, but came up just short, finishing third in the race and third in 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series championship points.
- All weekend long, the Australian had one of the fastest cars. But in Saturday’s qualifying, a small mistake cost Power and the No. 12 Verizon team to miss the Firestone Fast Six. He started Sunday’s race from the seventh position.
- Power and the No. 12 Verizon team ran a relatively flawless race at Sonoma, with strong pit stops and a three-pit strategy.
- Despite several other drivers complaining of severe tire degradation, Power’s car was strong all afternoon long and he had battled his way to the third position by lap 38.
- Power raced neck-and-neck with eventual series champion Scott Dixon through the later half of the race, but was unable to surpass him, finishing the race in the third position.
- Coming into the event tied with teammate Josef Newgarden for third in points, Power held onto the points position outright.
- Despite not winning the championship, Power ended the season with three wins, including the 2018 Indianapolis 500 and the Indy Grand Prix, which marked Team Penske’s 200th INDYCAR Series win.
Quote: “It was a really good race for the No. 12 Verizon team. We had a really, really fast car. I think if we would have started farther up front, we would have had a chance to win. It was a good year thought. Roger got his 500th win today. We won the Indy 500. We won the 200thINDYCAR race for Team Penske. We won the Brickyard 400. Just couldn’t get the championship here. But overall, it was a good year for Team Penske.”
No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Laps Completed: 85/85
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 6th (-186 pts)
- Simon Pagenaud ended the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season on a high note, finishing fourth in the season finale event at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
- Pagenaud was fast all weekend long, but just missed out making it to the Firestone Fast Six during qualifying on Saturday and started Sunday’s event from the eighth position.
- Race strategist Kyle Moyer elected to bring in the No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet in early and opt for a three-stop strategy to keep his track position. This allowed Pagenaud to gain several positions on the track while pit stops cycled out.
- Pagenaud settled into the third position for much of the afternoon, but fought a lot of tire degradation, similar to what the rest of the field was experiencing.
- Following the last round of stops, Pagenaud and the No. 22 DXC Technology team slipped to fourth as teammate Will Power jumped him on the track.
- Pagenaud would hold strong and finish fourth, his fourth top-five finish of the season. Pagenaud ended the season sixth in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings.
Quote: “Yeah it was a good day. Definitely competitive. We definitely unlocked a lot of secrets. I think we cracked the code this weekend on the car and what I needed so we were much more competitive than we’ve been on the road course and it felt good. It felt fun. We had great battles on track. We played the tire strategy and fuel strategy really well. The team, Kyle Moyer and Ben Bretzman, did a fantastic job with that and my pit crew were phenomenal again, as they’ve been all year long. We couldn’t have done much better because we were saving fuel midway through to the end of the race. I’m satisfied with it. It was a good race.”