July 26, 2019
Two Chevrolet entries in the top three in Mid-Ohio practice
Simon Pagenaud, Will Power pace the Bowtie brigade on road course
LEXINGTON, Ohio (July 26, 2019) – Team Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, who have had past success on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, were among the top three on the time sheet after two practice sessions for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Pagenaud, driver of the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet who has registered five top-five finishes at the track since 2012 — including a victory from the pole in his 2016 NTT IndyCar Series championship season — was second with a quick lap of 1 minute, 5.9313 seconds (123.292 mph) in the 45-minute afternoon session.
Power, who has earned three front row starts and three podium finishes the past three years at the racecourse in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, was third quick at 1:05.9935 (123.176 mph).
Championship points leader Josef Newgarden brought out a red flag late in the afternoon session when the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet spun and backed into a tire barrier. He was uninjured.
Matheus Leist, No. 4 ABC AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet, and Spencer Pigot, No. 21 AutoGeek Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet both had solid practice sessions that landed them seventh and tenth respectively in the final order. NTT IndyCar Series rookie Colton Herta was quickest on the day at 1:05.7292 in the No. 88 Honda.
NBCSN will telecast the three rounds of qualifications at 2:30 p.m. ET July 27. NBC will telecast the 90-lap/203.2-mile race live at 4 p.m. ET July 28.
Team Chevy drivers have secured the NTT P1 Award in six of the seven races at the track – and 89 poles overall in 130 races — since the Bowtie brand’s return to NTT IndyCar Series manufacturer competition in 2012.
An interview with SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET (2nd, 1:05.9313):
“I’m really pleased with the No. 22 Menards Chevy. It’s really fast, comfortable and I love when we start the weekend like this so you can really work on the details and see how you can make it better, extract the most you can get out of the car. We were very good on black tires; the red tires were also a good surprise. Not much of an advantage here. I think I have a good snapshot of what we need to know, but tomorrow is the day that counts.”
“Absolutely. I’ve been saying it’s time to go, time to be aggressive. We have to have performance to be in top form winning races and going for the championship. We’re definitely in attack mode. In the past, Mid-Ohio has been really good for me. That’s when I really switched the championship in my favor in 2016 and it’s time to do the same here. Be aggressive.”
“Absolutely. We’re very happy with the road course car these days and have been improving it throughout the year. As you can see, we kicked it into the next gear the last few races. It’s pretty exciting. I love this time of year, it’s so much fun. Just making sure I turn every stone.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET (3rd, 1:05.9935): “The Verizon Chevy is definitely getting there. We made some improvements from the morning session to where we wound up in the afternoon. We are still doing better on the (Firestone) black tires than we are on the reds, so we’ll keep working on that. We are headed in the right direction for qualifying tomorrow and hopefully we can earn a good starting spot for Sunday’s race.”
MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET (7th, 1:06.1627): “Overall, I think it was a good day here in Mid-Ohio. The first practice was decent. We did a pretty good setup when we came here to test for the Chevy day. We didn’t quite change the car for the afternoon because we knew the car was decent, so we just worked on the basics. Finishing the day in P7 was overall a pretty good day. The car is feeling good. It’s a tough track, everybody is so close to each other. Two-tenths from seventh you can be either third or you can be 15th. It’s just so close. We just have to focus on tomorrow’s qualifying.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 AUTOGEEK ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET (9th, 1:06.3491): “We made good gains with the Autogeek Chevrolet and it’s in a good spot. It’s a shame not to have been able to get a run in on the red tires with that red flag coming out, but we have a good baseline for tomorrow. We’ll make a few more adjustments in the morning session, then be ready to go for qualifying.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 PPG TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET (11th, 1:06.5707): “I just lost the car and backed it in. I had been fighting it this whole session, I don’t know why. I feel disconnected. We’ll look at it tonight. These guys are great, so they’ll fix the PPG car and we’ll be good to go.”
RC ENERSON, NO. 31 LUCAS OIL SCHOOL CARLIN CHEVROLET (15th, 1:06.6699): “It’s my first time back with Carlin since spring training and my first INDYCAR race this season here at Mid-Ohio this weekend. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a car, so both practice sessions were really just about taking baby steps back to getting comfortable with the No. 31 Lucas Oil School Carlin Chevrolet. The second practice session was even better than the first and we were able to finally throw the reds on and see the grip level there. I haven’t been on red tires in a very, very long time, so it was a bit of a surprise. We’re still working forward and every lap I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable in the car, so I think we’re making big steps forward already.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CHEVROLET (18th, 1:06.7874): “It was a solid day in Mid-Ohio today and I believe that we have top-10 pace in the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. We showed it this morning with a 10th and again this afternoon, but unfortunately we didn’t get a time on the reds with that late red flag. We had a one-lap wonder at the end of that second practice where we were third-fastest overall and it was my fastest lap of the session with sort of stone cold tires. I think we definitely have the potential to get another good qualifying result for the team similar to last year’s.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABCC AUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET (19th, 1:06.9041): “We tried a different direction than the 4 (car) and obviously I think they found a better way. So that’s we planned to do this weekend to try to find something that works so now we’re going to what they have and be up there with them.”
ED JONES, NO. 20 ED CARPENTER RACING SCUDERIA CORSA CHEVROLET (21st, 1:06.9650): “We weren’t able to get a good lap in on the red tires, so the results don’t show the true speed of the car. We definitely need to make some improvements heading into tomorrow, but we have a good idea on what we need to do so I am feeling confident.”