CHEVROLET RACING IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND
PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
TEAM CHEVY RACE RECAP
SEPTEMBER 1, 2019
Will Power won his second race of the year Sunday to lead Team Chevy at the NTT IndyCar Series’ Grand Prix of Portland. It was the second win in three races for the 2014 IndyCar Champion.
Power, in Team Penske’s No 12 Verizon Chevrolet, led 52 of 105 laps on the way to his 37th career open-wheel victory. He started the race second and led the final 12 laps – five of those under caution.
“It was a pretty tough race,” Power said. “(Runner-up Felix) Rosenqvist caused some pressure. At the end we could slowly pull away and I felt like, ‘Oh yeah, this is going to be good’; and then we got that yellow flag and I’m like oh come on! But I was determined to get a good restart and just so stoked to get into Victory Lane. It helps the teams and the other guys take some points away. Awesome. I’m exhausted. I’m mentally exhausted.”
The other big winner Sunday was Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden, who enters the final race of the season – a double-points event – holding a 41-point lead in the IndyCar Championship standings. Newgarden, in the No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet, rallied from 13th at the start to finish fifth. He avoided damage during an opening-lap melee that took out five cars.
Next up is the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with four drivers – including teammate Simon Pagenaud – still in title contention.
“It would be nice if it wasn’t double points, but it is and we knew that from the start of the season,” Newgarden said. “We will have to make the most of it. I don’t think it will be easy. We have to finish in the top six or seven even if our competitor wins. That is what we are going to do, be on it all weekend.”
Chevrolet drivers captured five of the top eight positions in Sunday’s race. Spencer Pigot in the No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet placed sixth followed by Pagenaud in the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet, who began 18th.
Matheus Leist was eighth in the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet with Charlie Kimball rounding out the top-10 in the No. 23 Autogeek Chevrolet.
The NTT IndyCar Series concludes its season Sunday, Sept. 22 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The race will air live at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE DRIVER QUOTES
SEPTEMBER 1, 2019
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – RACE WINNER
YOU’VE GOT YOUR 37TH CAREER WIN. AND YOU’VE NOW WON TWO OF THE LAST THREE RACES.
“Absolutely. It was a pretty tough race. (Felix) Rosenqvist caused some pressure. At the end we could slowly pull away and I felt like oh yeah, this is going to be good; and then we got that yellow flag and I’m like oh, come on, man! But, I was determined to get a good restart and just so stoked to get into Victory Lane. It helps the teams and the other guys take some points away. Awesome. I’m exhausted. I’m mentally exhausted.”
SCOTT DIXON HAD THE PROBLEM. WOULD YOU HAVE HAD SOMETHING FOR HIM IF HE HAD NOT HAVE BROKEN?
“Yeah, he was pretty quick on reds. It would have been interesting on blacks. That guy was really good on blacks as the stint went on. He was going to get a tenth or two on me in that stint but I don’t know. Who knows? But, I’ve had enough rough luck in races. I’ll take them any way I can get them.
“It was a tough day because it was so green. There was the yellow at the start, but then it was getting your fuel number and pushing as hard as you can to get as much out of it as you can. It was kind of mentally draining with a very long couple of stints.
“Blacks were definitely better for us; we weren’t as good as reds.
“We’ve had plenty of what-if years. We will just race right now how we will race next year. It is so good to go into next year with a couple of wins.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI CHEVROLET – FINISHED FIFTH: “Where we finished is about what we could hope for from a 13th-place start. We got kind of in the mess at the start. That is the risky part when you qualify 13th. You can end up in the mess like we did at the beginning. Fortunately we didn’t hit anything. We kept going and that was the most important part of the day. Then we just worked on making the most of the rest of the day. Climbing into the top-five was what we had from where started, as I said. It was a good day for the guys. The Hitachi car was quick at the end. We weren’t too quick at the start, but toward the end it got better and it helped us get positions we needed. Chevy did a great job as always. We can’t be disappointed with fifth. Overall it’s a solid day to head to the finale.”
ON LAGUNA FINALE.
“It would be nice if it wasn’t double points, but it is and we knew that from the start of the season. We will have to make the most of it. I don’t think it will be easy. We have to finish in the top six or seven even if our competitor wins. That is what we are going to do, be on it all weekend.”
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU SAW CARS GOING ALL OVER THE PLACE IN TURN ONE?
“I was in the wrong place, I can tell you that. It happened in front of me; I saw someone barreling on the inside. It looked like (Graham) Rahal. He was going straight into the cars in front of me, and I had nowhere to go. I just tried to stop and go around. It’s one of those deals when you start that far back. Fortunately we didn’t hit anything. We got going again and were able to resume to make the most of our day. The Hitachi car was awesome, and Chevrolet did a great job for us. I wish we could have started a lot farther up but starting 13th, we can’t be too disappointed with how it turned out.”
ON THE LAST LAP YOU LOOKED LIKE YOU HAD A SHOT AT COLTON HERTA…
“If he messed up, I was going to try and get him. But he didn’t mess up so we’ll take fifth today. It would have been nice to be higher up, but I’m happy for Will. I wanted Will to win this race; if we couldn’t win it then he was the guy to do it and take points off from everyone else. If we had done the job in qualifying I think we would have had a better chance at the win. But fifth is about what we could have hoped for and we made it happen.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 AUTOGEEK CHEVROLET – FINISHED SIXTH: “It turned out to be not too bad of a race! After getting hit in the first corner, I did not think we would have much of a chance after that. We definitely had damage to the car, but it handled alright. We were able to have some good pit stops, good strategy and ultimately good pace. We got through the field and worked out way up to 6th, which is not bad considering where we were after the first lap. It makes you think ‘What could have been?’ but hopefully we can have another strong race at Laguna Seca.”
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS CHEVROLET – FINISHED SEVENTH
YOU’RE STILL IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP.
“(Scott) Dixon has done it from 45 points back, so we’re in it. It’s awesome to go to Laguna with a chance at the championship. I’m determined. We had a really good race today despite all the problems at the start. It was eventful but a great day for Chevy and Team Penske.”
THINGS COULD HAVE BEEN A LOT WORSE BASED ON YOUR START.
“It’s the championship so you have to be there. So even when days are tough… rebounding from 18th to finish seventh was a really good performance. We made all right decisions in the race. The car felt really good, which is good for next year when we come back. But the biggest thing is that we are in it. We’re going to Laguna at a chance at the championship, which is really exciting. Anything can happen there with double points. Anything is possible.”
AFTER THE SPIN IN TURN ONE, DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT WAS DAMAGE CONTROL THE WHOLE WAY?
“Not at all. Race Control reorganized the field the way it should have been because I didn’t use the escape road. So they made it really fair for a lot of people who didn’t have anything to do with the incident. When that happened and we had good restarts into the top-10, we knew we could do something today.”
“I was confident with the change we made and I knew we were going to have a good car in the race. You don’t know what others had though; Dixon was my biggest concern. Being behind Josef (Newgarden) was the biggest thing because I could control that and see at what rate he was able to pass people. Overall it’s a good championship day. You don’t want to finish seventh; you want to win races. But sometimes it’s about managing your effort and getting the best out of the situation.”
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU MADE OVERNIGHT TO GET THE CAR MORE COMPETITIVE TODAY?
“We overstepped in qualifying. We made choices that were a bit too aggressive and went in the wrong direction for this track. We readjusted and I felt really good in the race. We had pace and could outrun pretty much anyone I wanted. We should have started up front; it would have been a lot easier. But overall I’m very happy with today.”
MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY CHEVROLET – FINISHED EIGHTH: “Tough but pretty good race for us here at Portland. Since the beginning we decided to do a different strategy (from the 14 car) and we went for a two-stop strategy and I think it worked pretty well for us. We had to save fuel for most of the race and we were consistently running in the top-10. On the last yellow, as we were the last car on the lead lap, we decided to come in and put new alternate tires on and went out 10th and finished eighth. So I think decent job, another top-10 for me and a good job for the team too. The guys did a pretty good strategy, and a pretty good job in the pits so I’m proud of everybody. Let’s go for the last one.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 23 CARLIN CHEVROLET – FINISHED 10TH: “First and foremost, I can’t say enough about this Carlin team. They worked so hard all weekend to give us the opportunity to go and race for a top-10 finish with the No. 23 Carlin Chevrolet. I just had to take care of business in the cockpit and hit the fuel numbers they were giving me over the radio. Obviously we were able to miss a lot of the chaos and carnage that happened at the start of the race, which was nice and we just had really great pit stops and a great car. Week in and week out this team just puts in such a big effort and I can’t thank them enough. I’m really looking forward to carrying this momentum into the season finale at Laguna Seca and hopefully ending the season on a high note.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET – FINISHED 11TH: “Not a bad day for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet and the Gallagher crew. Thankfully we stayed out of the mess at the beginning of the race and we were able to make up quite a bit of positions by avoiding any damage. After that we really just needed to stick to our strategy and keep as consistent as we could. The car was strong and the guys did a great job in pit lane getting me in and out quickly. Obviously I would’ve liked to have come away with a top-10 finish today and we were definitely knocking on the door of it, but I’d say we can be proud of the progress we made throughout the race weekend.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY CHEVROLET – FINISHED 12TH: “Good start, awesome start actually. It’s a shame on the strategy; we missed the boat on that and I have no control over that so after that I just hung in there. Good job for the team though, two cars in the top-12. That was always the goal so it looks like we’re getting stronger towards the end of the season which is good. I’m happy for Matt, he drove a great race. They got the strategy right and it put him in the top-eight. Let’s move to Laguna and see what we can do.”
ED JONES, NO. 20 AUTOGEEK CHEVROLET – FINISHED 14TH: “We did a good job avoiding the on-track incidents today to help us gain many positions over where we started. We made good progress throughout the weekend, though we didn’t get the car quite to an optimal place for the race. I’m hoping to have a better outing at the season finale!”