CHEVROLET RACING IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
STREETS OF ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING RECAP
MARCH 9, 2019
Will Power Puts Chevrolet on Pole at Streets of St. Petersburg
Josef Newgarden Make All-Chevy Front Row
St. Petersburg, Fla (March 9, 2019) – Will Power just loves the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. For the eighth time at the very technical street course, and the 55th time in his career, the Team Penske driver of the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet, will lead the field of the NTT IndyCar Series (NICS) to the green flag.
With a lap of one minute, 0.4594 seconds/107.170 mph, the 2014 Series’ champion captured his first NTT P1 Award of the season. The top-qualifying effort was number six for a Chevy-powered driver since 2012 when the Bowtie Brand returned to NICS competition.
Today’s qualifying result was the 84th pole for Chevrolet and 264th for Team Penske in Series’ history.
Teammate Josef Newgarden will start along side Power on the front row in the No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet.
Chevrolet drivers occupied two of the Firestone Fast Six field that battled for six minutes in the third and final qualifying session to claim the pole.
Felix Rosenquist; Scott Dixon; Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi (all Honda) complete the first Firestone Fast Six group of the season.
NBCSN will telecast the 110-lap/198-mile race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn road course live at 12:30 p.m. ET March 10.
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER: YOUR REACTION WHEN ROGER PENSKE SAID YOU ARE FASTEST WAS LITERALLY, WHAT? WERE YOU SURPRISED BECAUSE THE LAP WASN’T MAYBE AS GOOD AS YOU THOUGHT OR YOU KNEW YOUR TEAMMATES AND OTHERS HAD THAT ADVANTAGE WITH THOSE FRESHER TIRES?
“I was really surprised when he said, P-1, and I was like what? We had the used tires and it was just being there all session. But, it was a really neat lap. Obviously, the tires had a lap on them; but yeah, I was surprised. I thought someone still had another run to do or something, but yeah. Awesome job, awesome job. The car slowly climbed up all weekend. We were P-10 in the first few practices and moved to P-5. To get the pole for the first race of the season is awesome. It’s a really, really great start.”
WE TALKED ABOUT THE OFF-SEASON AND ALL THE EFFORT FOR TEAM PENSKE TO GET BETTER AT THE STREET COURSES. WHAT DOES THIS SAY, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU GUYS STRUGGLED SO BAD ON FRIDAY?
“Chevrolet has done a fantastic job with the engine. We worked really hard on the off-season. And we’ve kind of gone back and had a really good look at our street course performance because it was not good enough last year. We’ve definitely come back with a nicer car to drive and much more in the window. It’s great work from the whole team; all three guys, we’ve all worked hard together to get this result.”
WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE ABOUT STARTING UP FRONT HERE. TURN 1 IS TIGHT, THAT’S WHERE EVERYBODY SEEMS TO WRECK. AND THEN YOU GET DOWN INTO TURNS 4 AND 5, AND IT’S TIGHT THERE AS WELL
“Yeah, you’ve got to remember it’s a long race. It’s like 110 laps. So, you’ve got to be smart. I wasn’t smart last year and spun in the first corner and just put us on the back foot from the beginning. So, I want to have a great start. Obviously being on pole really helps. And getting through that first lap and do what we can to try and win another race.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET QUALIFIED 2ND: “It was kind of a medium start. We weren’t bad. We were in the Top 10, but we weren’t crazy-stellar. And we definitely found our footing this morning. I think we made the cars really good. Everyone really executed today, for sure. I’m only disappointed in myself. I didn’t put together the best lap there when it really counted, you know? We did a great job getting in the Fast Six as a team. And a 1-2, you can’t be dissatisfied. It’s very positive for the whole group.
“Team Chevy did a great job. They worked really hard over the night for us to make sure we had what we needed. So, thank you Chevy, for giving us everything we need. But yeah, it’s hard to not be disappointed when you’re quick and we had a little bit better tires. So, when you have the preferred tire to run on, you want to capitalize and I messed up the first lap and over-cooked it on the second. So, it was close, but it just wasn’t good enough.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 23 TRESIBA CARLIN CHEVROLET, QUAILFIED 8TH: The Firestone alternates really have one good lap in them around here and on my best lap I was coming into turn 10 up on my previous good lap time and came across the No. 88 in about second gear at the apex. I was able to slide by him but had to threw that lap out completely. My next lap, which was my best, just wasn’t quite good enough to move into the top six. Honestly, I’m really proud of the Carlin team and the progress we’ve made in 12 months. You know to come back in the No. 23 car this weekend with Novo Nordisk and to qualify in the top 10 is pretty great. I’m just looking forward to the green flag tomorrow to see what we can do with our solid qualifying effort.”
BEN HANLEY, BEN, NO. 81 10 STAR DRAGONSPEED CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 12TH:
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 13TH: “I didn’t get to play. It was quite unfortunate. I wasn’t even able to go full speed. We had a two red flags in the wrong spot for us. It’s really unfortunate because I felt that the No. 22 Menards Chevy was awesome. We made a huge improvement today and the car was awesome this morning. I’m just a little disappointed I didn’t get to showcase what the team has been working on. Obviously my teammates are starting one and two and had not what gone down, I would have been right there with them. That’s the only frustrating part but you can’t dwell on that. That’s outside factors you can’t control. We’re going to regroup and go hard tomorrow.”
ED JONES, NO. 20 ED CARPENTER RACING SCUDERIA CORSA CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 15TH:“Qualifying was super frustrating. We weren’t the only ones caught out by the red flags, but what hurts the most is that the team did a fantastic job over last night to improve the car. We were 6th this morning and the car felt great. Unfortunately, no one did a the last two years, you can start at the back and still win the race!”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIED 16TH: “We just kind of missed the balance there on the red tires today. Unfortunately, the car wasn’t behaving like it did yesterday in second practice. We’ll go back to see where we can improve and get the car back to how it was. Hopefully, we’ll have a good race tomorrow for Autogeek and have a strong start of the season for Ed Carpenter Racing.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 21ST : “I can’t call this qualifying, we got two red flags so nobody ever put a fast lap in our group. The fastest lap was an out lap at a 1:03 and we were running .59s. It’s a shame but it was out of our control. We didn’t cause the red flags, but we just didn’t get the lap.”
MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 22ND: “It’s not the result we wanted in qualifying, we will be starting from the back tomorrow so we have a lot of work to do. Even so I’m looking forward to the race because it is a place that I like and I usually drive pretty good. So we’ll try to move to the front and have a good result tomorrow.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN, QUALIFIED 24TH : It was a disappointing day for the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet. We had an issue with the clutch in the first session that cost us quite a bit of track time, which you never want to happen in the last practice before qualifying. We aren’t starting where we want tomorrow, but now we have an opportunity to come from back with an alternate strategy and get the result we know we can get.”