CHEVROLET RACING IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND
PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING RECAP WITH DRIVER QUOTES
AUGUST 31, 2019
WILL POWER PUTS CHEVROLET, TEAM PENSKE ON PORTLAND FRONT ROW
PORTLAND – Will Power led Team Chevy in qualifying Saturday for the Grand Prix of Portland with a front-row starting spot in Team Penske’s No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet. Power’s best lap in the Firestone Fast Six was 57.8303 (112.261 mph) and put him less than 0.02 seconds off pole-winner Colton Herta’s best lap.
Power, who won in the series two races ago at Pocono, was quickest in Saturday’s second qualifying session ahead of the Fast Six.
It wasn’t as stellar of a day for NTT IndyCar Series Championship contenders as points leader Josef Newgarden in the Team Penske No. 2 Hitachi qualified 13th for Sunday’s race. Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud, second in points, will start 18th in the No. 22 Menard’s Chevrolet.
Sunday’s live NBC broadcast of Grand Prix of Portland is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SECOND: “The lock-up screwed me; I flat-spotted the tire and any left-hander you paid for it. Still I was happy to be P2 with a big lock-up; it was my fault for not warming the brakes a bit more. It’s tough when you go out and have to pump it up straightaway. You don’t get any temp in the brakes here because there are no big braking zones. You can definitely win from P2. We really need a win. We’ll go for it tomorrow.”
THAT WAS AN EXTREMELY CLOSE SESSION. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? “It’s disappointing. We had a pretty good buffer on everyone. It should have been better.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS ARE A LITTLE DEEP IN THE FIELD. “Yeah, that definitely spices things up. You never know. You saw how nuts this race was last year. Who knows what can happen. We’ll just be going for a race win.”
IT SEEMS LIKE A LOT OF GUYS HAVE STRUGGLED ON THE RED TIRES THIS WEEKEND. HOW’S THE BALANCE TO YOU? “Our car was good on both (red and black tires). Good balance… I can’t fault them. They were good. I just have to put it together better and needed to warm the brakes a bit more. Other than that, the car is good.”
YOU ARE DISAPPOINTED TO BE ON POLE. BUT GENERALLY SECOND IS A GOOD STARTING POSITION, YES? “It’s better than third, let’s put it that way. Pole was there to be had. I was more disappointed in myself.”
FROM WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED FROM THIS TRACK AND HOW WARM IT’S BEEN, DOES IT GET SLIPPERY? HOW DO YOU FORECAST HOW THE TRACK WILL BE? “It’s good. It actually takes rubber pretty well. The conditions tomorrow will be similar to today. There will be some tire degradation. It didn’t seem like that much last year so it will be interesting just because who knows if there are enough yellows and it goes into a two-stopper and fuel-saving. We’ll see how it plays out.”
WILL IT BE STRATEGIC? “Last year there was passing, for sure. I think Firestone made the tires too close this year. Last year there was a bigger difference between blacks and reds. Now to me they are a little too close. Maybe they are degrading in a different way. That always creates passing if there is a big difference between the two.”
THERE ARE SOME GUYS BEHIND YOU THAT MAY BE FIGHTING FOR THEIR RACING CAREERS NEXT YEAR. DOES THEIR POTENTIAL AGGRESSION CONCERN YOU AT THE START? “No, those guys are going for a good finish. For them it’s not about winning. For them it’s about finishing in the top-three or top-six. It ruins their reputation going out on the first lap. If you hang out all day and get a top-six, then you say the guys are pretty solid.”
YOU’VE BEEN PRETTY CONSISTENT ON YOUR LAPS. THAT SHOULD LEND ITSELF DURING THE RACE, BUT PIR IS DECEPTIVELY NARROW. DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE PASSING OPPORTUNITIES TOMORROW?“Yes, I do. It will happen when the tires degrade a bit. We’ll see. It depends on strategy and all that. It can be hard. There are a lot of good drivers and teams here. It can be difficult but not impossible. We’ll see how it all plays out.”
THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF INTERESTING STARTS GOING INTO TURN ONE HERE. CAN YOU GET THE LEAD GOING IN THERE? “I don’t know. It’s a long race obviously. But who knows if it will be a clean start. It would be good for me to get him but you can’t predict what will happen. You take it as it comes.”
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR TEAMMATES? “I don’t know. I was very surprised to see that, particularly Josef. He’s been strong this weekend and Simon has struggled a bit. It was a surprise.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 AUTOGEEK CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 10TH: “We definitely made some improvements today and had our best session of the weekend during qualifying. All of the practice sessions were tough, but it’s encouraging we moved in the right direction when it counted. We still have a few things we want to improve on and get better at, but overall we are pleased with where we will be starting.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 13TH:“I said it was going to be tough. You just can’t afford to make a mistake, and I made a couple there. I got wide of the curb coming off Turn Seven and dropped a tenth on one lap and then dropped another tenth at the final corner on the next. It was going to be close, and you can’t afford a tenth. That’s Portland. That’s how it was last year and I figured it would be the same this year. Our car is good. It’s been fast all weekend. For race running, you can’t be too concerned. The Hitachi car will be good. Chevy has done a great job. We’ll just go racing now.”
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 18TH: “We just don’t have the speed. We lacked a little bit of speed during qualifying. It’s about putting the lap together, and I think it was difficult to do so. You don’t want to be in this position but that’s the way it is. You have to find your way, and we should be strong in the race. We have a really good car on long runs. It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t be quicker.”
JOSEF COULDN’T ADVANCE AND WILL DID. HOW DIFFERENT ARE THE THREE PENSKE CARS? “At the end of the day, it’s about what’s good for you and how you can extract the most out of the car. We are pretty close. Obviously I didn’t do as good a job as Will, but you have to find that sweet spot for yourself.”
ARE THERE OPTIONS FROM STARTING A LITTLE FURTHER BACK THAT CAN TURN AROUND YOUR PROSPECTS? “You always have to believe. You have to fight. I have a fantastic crew in the pits and an amazing strategist. Anything can happen. We saw it last year. We just have to fight.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 19TH: “It’s kind of bittersweet because if you look at the lap times we’re only a tenth and a half from the top 12. That’s the closest we’ve been all year. We improved the car a lot but it’s that little bit. I’m happy because the boys did everything right, we timed qualifying right to have the right tire choice. We went quicker than we went in the morning so it was a step in the right direction. I’m excited. I think we’re coming from a great momentum, everybody’s uplifted (from Gateway) and I’m excited for tomorrow.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 20TH: “We obviously aren’t happy with our qualifying result today for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. It’s difficult because I felt like my fast lap was one of the best laps I’d done in a long time. The car felt really strong and I was honestly surprised when they told me where we’d ended up. We just need to have a look tonight at all of the data and try to find what’s missing and what we need to do work our way to the front tomorrow.”
MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 21ST: “Practice 3 was actually decent and gave us some direction and some things to think about. In qualifying I think my black tire pace was pretty good but we didn’t have a good run on the reds and that was it. We’re going to work on the reds (setup) for tomorrow and see if we can have a good race.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 23 CARLIN CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 22ND: “I’m disappointed with our qualifying result for sure. I don’t think Max or I like being 20th or 22nd, but I’d say we’ve gotten more competitive over the course of the weekend. I really appreciate all of the work the 23 Carlin crew has put in especially getting me back up to speed with turning right and making the No. 23 Carlin Chevrolet better and better every session. We definitely have more to show for tomorrow. We were able to come from 25th to seventh last year, so I’m confident we can go from 22nd to the top 10 again this year. It’s just going to come down to smart strategy calls and good speed when we need it.”
ED JONES, NO. 20 AUTOGEEK CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 23RD: “It is a disappointing qualifying result, for sure. We had expected to be much higher up and it’s surprising how it ended up. We will definitely have our work out for us tomorrow, but hopefully we can have a good strategy and get back towards the other end of the field.”