TEAM CHEVY IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES: Friday Portland Recap and Quotes

AUGUST 30, 2019
PORTLAND – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden paced Team Chevy on Friday during the opening day of practice for the Grand Prix of Portland – the 16th round of the 17-race season for the NTT IndyCar Series.
Newgarden, in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, set a lap of 57.8504 (122.219 mph) in the day’s opening practice around the 1.964-mile, 12-turn Portland International Raceway. The 2017 IndyCar Series Champion was 0.4713 seconds off the day’s fastest time set by Colton Herta.
Team Penske teammate Will Power was the next-quickest Team Chevy driver in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet at 57.9502 (122.008 mph), set in the second session. He was the second-fastest driver in the afternoon.
Final practice at Portland is set for 2 p.m. ET on Saturday with qualifying at 6 p.m. ET.
Sunday’s live NBC broadcast of Grand Prix of Portland is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI CHEVROLET: “It was a good day and I think we learned a lot. I think our race car feels really good in the warm up which I was really happy about. We’ve got to survive the race most importantly here so I’m happy that feels good. I’ve got a feeling it’ll be tough tomorrow to put everything together for a qualifying run. That’s going to be the key for us – try and hit the lap and not have any reds. But I feel confident and I think this Hitachi Chevy has been fast. The guys have done a great job, as normal, so we’ve just got to be perfect tomorrow.
“I think this track, more than at any other, has such a fine line between lap times. On the right line you can go about two-tenths quicker; you make a mistake and you lose four- or five-tenths. You have to be so perfect. This track shows that it’s tight more than anywhere else we go. It’s going to be a very tough qualifying and will put an emphasis on managing traffic. If you miss it by a touch you’re in trouble.”
(Tire management) “The nerve-wracking thing is you don’t want to go on (the alternate tires) early. These red tires are so sensitive that they need to be on the first or second lap. If you miss that then you lose four- or five-tenths after that and you can’t put it back together. You want to go early to safeguard but if you go too soon, you’re going to be kicking yourself because the track wasn’t there. But honestly this is game we play everywhere. You worry about these red-tire situations.”
(Inside or outside starting position)“Probably inside. You can protect yourself a little bit better. You can actually go over the curbs and be OK. We need to be on it here and at Laguna. We’re in a favorable position but that can change so quickly. I think what people forget is that it wasn’t that long ago that we introduced double points at the finale. This was a different ballgame the last 15 years before that when you started looking at how tight it was in the championship. You have to still finish in the top-10 if someone else wins.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON CHEVROLET: “It was a good day for our Verizon Chevy team. I think we’ve got a pretty good balance, but we’ve just still got to work on a few things that aren’t exactly right yet. It’s certainly going to be a tough, tight qualifying with it being such a short track and it’s hard to really find time. We’ll work on it tonight to come back tomorrow and hopefully be better.”
MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY CHEVROLET: “It was a difficult day here at Portland which is a track I like very much. I feel like today was a productive day but still difficult. We got a lot of laps done—I think we were one of the cars that did the most laps today. It is always good when you get to do a lot of laps and understand what you have and where you need to change. I feel like we made some changes that weren’t very good for Practice 2 so we will get it right for qualifying tomorrow. In the warm-up we were just working on the race pace.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY CHEVROLET: “We made progress in the last session so I think it looks promising. Made a couple changes for the warmup which was the last session and it was better, so hopefully we’ll keep those and make it better for tomorrow. The first two sessions were a little bit of struggle but I think we found our way in the end.”
ED JONES, NO. 20 AUTOGEEK CHEVROLET: “We had issued in Practice 1 which compromised our morning. We tried to make up ground in Practice 2, but unfortunately it did not go as well as we’d hoped. I was fast here last year so I have confidence we will be able to get higher on the charts. We will have to work hard overnight and come back with fresh ideas for tomorrow.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 AUTOGEEK CHEVROLET: “We struggled a bit in the second session, but in the final warm-up we seemed to make solid progress and get headed in a good direction. We’re kind of behind the eight-ball after essentially missing the first session with an issue. We’ll see where we can improve and make sure we are better for qualifying.”
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS CHEVROLET: “It was a good day. We made good progress throughout the day. I think our Menards Chevy has been improving and we’re ready to win the fight. We still have some work to do tonight and get all of the details that we can work on. I think we’ll be competitive tomorrow. It’s an exciting day. It’s definitely very tight with strong competition but I love it so I’m excited to see what we can do.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 23 CARLIN CHEVROLET: “It feels good to be back in the car on a road course – it’s definitely been awhile since St. Pete. It took me a little while this morning to get reacclimated to a road course after being on all of the short ovals and high-speed superspeedways this season, but once I got a few laps in it didn’t take long to get back into the swing of things. The team has been great helping me get back up to speed and they’ve worked a lot on the No. 23 Carlin Chevrolet to find some things today in practice. I don’t think we optimized lap time with the track conditions and tires. We unfortunately got caught out a little bit on the alternates when the red flag came out, but overall I think we were able to come away with some solid data heading into qualifying tomorrow. I have a lot of confidence in the 23 team for Carlin and I know the Chevy guys will bring the heat tomorrow.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET: “It’s good to be back in the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet after a long break. We started off this morning with an imbalance that we’ve been really trying to chase all day to improve. This track is always a bit of a bizarre one considering it’s a road course that doesn’t evolve much. Basically no one really goes any quicker from one session to the next, which is the same as last year. That’s good for testing, but makes it more difficult for a race weekend especially when we’re making big sweeping changes on the car from stiff to soft and we can’t seem to cure the issue that we’re struggling with. The guys did some really good pit stops during the pit stop practice, but we’ll need to work on a new game plan for tomorrow because we were not where we needed to be today.”