July 12, 2019
Chevrolet tops first day of practice on streets of Toronto
Simon Pagenaud paces field on the technical temporary circuit
TORONTO (July 12, 2019) – With a race car “that’s doing exactly what I want,” Simon Pagenaud is looking forward to continuing a strong weekend in the Honda Indy Toronto.
The reigning Indianapolis 500 champion paced the 22-car field on the first day of NTT IndyCar Series practice with a quick lap of 59.8708 seconds (107.391 mph) in the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit.
Pagenaud has a pair of top-five finishes the past two years and was the 2017 pole winner on the Exhibition Place course.
Spencer Pigot, driving the No. 21 Autogeek Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, was fourth quick at 1:00.0401 through two practice sessions. Josef Newgarden, a two-time winner on the streets of Toronto and the 2018 pole winner, was eighth on the time chart in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet (1:00.4509). Teammate Will Power was 10th overall in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet (1:00.4981).
Nine drivers powered by the 2.2-liter, twin turbocharged, direct-injected Chevrolet V6 engine will be on the racetrack July 13 for a 45-minute morning practice session preceding the three rounds of qualifications (NBCSN live at 2 p.m. ET).
Since returning to NTT IndyCar Series manufacturer competition in 2012, Chevrolet has won six of the nine races, secured six pole starts by six different drivers and accumulated 17 podium finishes on the streets of Toronto.
NBCSN and Sportsnet One in Canada will telecast the 85-lap/151.8-mile race live at 3 p.m. ET July 14.
An interview with SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 DXC TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, who was quickest among the 22 drivers:
“It’s solid. I told the guys I’ve having such fun driving it around here. It’s doing exactly what I want. It’s easy to predict. You just have to keep pushing and it’s definitely time to shine; it’s the second part of the season and I want to win this championship more than anything.”
“It’s been a really good day. I think it comes from a lot of preparation. I’m just happy with the DXC Technology Chevy. I love this track, it’s just a lot of fun. It reminds me of rallying in France. I like the rhythm. The car is really good; I just need to put a lap together. It seems good on every tire and every condition. I just have to get the job done.”
“Yes, because the risk versus reward is so big. You really have to decide if that’s a good choice to go in solid or give some up. That’s what’s so much fun in qualifying here. You have to put it on the line and try as hard as you can. It’s a risky lap, but it’s a lot of fun because you know if you mess it up it’s going to be in the wall. That’s the thing with all the tracks and safety these days. You see some tracks that are very same but also get boring for the drivers and fans because there are such escape areas that you could try thing you would never try otherwise. Toronto you have to think about the risk versus reward. As a driver, that is one of the things that is a lot of fun to balance.”
“After Indy it was a bit of a blur, honestly. Detroit was definitely not the best-prepared weekend for us just because of duties. It was time to recharge the batteries, rethink about what we needed going forward because there are three bog races coming up the next three weekends that you’re really going to know who’s in the championship for the end. We’ve got to score big here. But the biggest thing is to execute like we did at Indy. At the end of the day, you have to be in the top five to this point and now it’s time to shine.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 AUTOGEEK ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET (4th, 1:00.0401): “We made good improvements throughout both sessions and the Autogeek Chevy is in a pretty good spot right now. Thanks to all of the guys for their hard work since the last race! We’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET (8th, 1:00.4509): “It was kind of an up-and-down day. I think the Hitachi Chevy has a lot of potential. It seems like it’s fast, but we just haven’t extracted all of the speed out of it yet. We need to work on that tomorrow. That’s why you have practice. From the team standpoint I thought it was a flawless day. The guys always do a great job of executing, so we just need to get a little better overnight and refine everything and get ready for qualifying.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET (10th, 1:00.4981): “It’s definitely not good enough. It’s good to see my teammate Simon (Pagenaud) is up there so we’re going to take a good look at what he’s doing and try and replicate that. We’re just going to keep working away on our Verizon Chevrolet and see what we can figure out to find speed. We had a couple of issues with the engine too, so we have a few things we’re going to take a look at overnight.”
ED JONES, NO. 20 ED CARPENTER RACING SCUDERIA CORSA CHEVROLET (13th, 1:00.7419): “The results didn’t quite show as strong as we were. We weren’t quite able to optimize on the reds, but I’m still feeling confident about tomorrow. The field is pretty tight, so if we can find even a few tenths, it will make a huge difference.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CHEVROLET (15th, 1:00.8572): “It felt really good to be back in the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet after a few weeks away, especially here on the streets of Toronto. The first session was a bit all over the place with all the red flags and we had a harder time getting a good read on where we were, but everyone was in that same position. The second session was better for us even though I hit traffic on my fast lap, so we weren’t as high on the charts as we think we could’ve been without the traffic. Overall I’d say we had a fairly good day today – we just need to find some grip and get the car ready for qualifying tomorrow.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABCC AUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET (18th, 1:01.1068): “It was a positive day for us. I think we made some improvements over the past two weeks. We spent a lot of time trying to come here from scratch, so Eric and I have a lot of information from the past and we tried to put all of it together to try to make sense here. Lap timewise we’re much closer than we were anywhere else, and if we can improve a couple tenths it will put us in the top-12 which that’s the goal for here this weekend. We can’t pretend that we’re going to come here and try to win the race – we’ve got to take it one step at a time – so I’m pretty pleased with the day so hopefully we’ll be able to regroup tonight and move up tomorrow.”
MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET (20th, 1:01.4316): “Difficult day at the track today. I think we didn’t quite find the best setup for the car, but the important thing is that we’re going to work hard tonight and we’re going to figure something out for tomorrow. Anyway, it’s good to be back here. It’s a nice city and a nice track. Let’s see what we can do for tomorrow in qualifying.”
SAGE KARAM, NO. 31 SMARTSTOP STORAGE CHEVROLET (21st, 1:01.6066): “It was a pretty good day here in Toronto in the No. 31 SmartStop Self Storage Carlin Chevrolet. We were just constantly working on getting me more acclimated to the car and the track – that was really the biggest thing. The car didn’t really throw many surprises at me, it was more the track not having as much grip as I thought it would. I’m learning every lap of every session and we’re getting closer to the pointy end of the field. I really wanted to get in as many laps as I possibly could today and just keep learning. We’re doing well and we’ll just try to take another big chunk out tomorrow in practice three like we did in the two practices today and be ready for a good qualifying result.”