Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
Race: GMR Grand Prix
Date: July 4, 2020
No. 1 XPEL Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Laps Completed: 80/80
Laps Led: 4
Points Position: 3rd (-40 pts)
Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 XPEL Dallara/Chevrolet had a hard-fought day, leading laps and looking to capitalize on some solid race strategy, but ultimately settled for seventh in the 80-lap event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The Tennessean started sixth and ran fifth early, then pitted for the first time on lap 15 for alternate tires and fuel in hopes of moving up through the field.
The strategy worked, and Newgarden eventually found himself second behind teammate Will Power as the leaders cycled through pit stops.
Shortly before pitting for fuel and alternate tires after complaining of tire fall off for most of the race, Newgarden was caught as the caution flag waved causing him to drop further on the leaderboard. As several others had already pitted before the caution, Newgarden was forced to come to pit road during the yellow, allowing those who pitted to jump him on the track.
He continued to run his race and his pace, and by lap 58, Newgarden took hold of the lead during more green-flag stops as the final laps wound down.
However, as he tried to battle his way back to the front, he was caught in traffic, leading to a seventh-place finish.
Quote: “It was a tough day – really disappointing. We got hosed today by the caution, both Will [Power] and myself. I felt like we had a pretty strong chance of being able to finish 1-2 and it’s a shame to miss it by just a little bit. We almost pitted right before it came out but went one lap longer. I guess it was a good day in reality. We got up to the front there with Will running 1-2 and then wound up in the back with the yellow. From there we just tried to claw back our way as much as we could from 15th or 16th. It was just a tough pill to swallow in the middle there. Our XPEL Team Chevy car was good. I felt really proud of us this weekend and thought we made nice little baby steps every session and we seemed to be getting better. I thought we were relatively decent compared to Will who seemed to be the best this weekend. It was awesome to have XPEL on the car this weekend and at the end of the day it was just a shame we weren’t able to convert and finish the race 1-2.”
No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Start: 1st – (58th career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole)
Laps Completed: 80/80
Laps Led: 28
Points Position: 15th (-73 pts)
It was a frustrating day for Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet, finishing 20th after starting the day on the pole and leading more laps than any other driver in the 80-lap road course GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Power, who has won three races from the pole on the Indianapolis road course, seemed to have the stars align for a fourth victory starting from the pole – his 58th career pole.
Finding speed early on, it seemed that Power was unstoppable as great pit stops early on kept Power and teammate Josef Newgarden running 1-2 at the front of the field.
However, an untimely caution just prior to his second stop put him back in the field and forced him to race back to the front from the 15th position.
Then, on the team’s final stop, Power stalled the car in an effort to avoid a pit gun in front of him.
Power was unable to recover and was stuck in the back of the field finishing the race in the 20th position.
Quote: “We had a great Verizon Chevy and definitely had the speed that we showed in qualifying. Just got caught out by a unfortunate caution that really didn’t help. After that, we had a problem in the pits that cost us a lot of time and then there was no chance to recover. Chevrolet did a really great job with the power and we had awesome car, but we just had a tough day. This Verizon team is fast, we just need to put a full race together.”
No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Laps Completed: 80/80
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 2nd (-29 pts)
What began as a tough day for Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet turned into a day showcasing the team’s tenacity, as they began the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in the 20th position, but ended the day on the podium with a third-place result.
Starting so far back in the field, Pagenaud and strategist Kyle Moyer elected to run a different race strategy then a majority of the leaders to get the three-time race winner with clean track ahead of him.
The team pitted for alternate tires, a front wing adjustment and fuel on lap 9 which proved fruitful as the team made major moves on-track finding themselves in 13th position.
Pitting for new alternate tires on fuel on lap 54, the well-timed pit stopped and a subsequent caution before others had pitted helped Pagenaud climb into the top-seven.
The Menards Chevrolet continued to prove strong during the race’s final segment, and Pagenaud drop all the way to third place and remained there as the checkered flag waved.
Pagenaud maintains the second position in 2020 INDYCAR Series point standings after two races.
Quote: “Yesterday was not what we wanted with qualifying. We unloaded well but went the wrong direction with this basically new car. But it was a negative that became a positive. I think it sets us up for the season really early on knowing what we need for the car. We weren’t totally happy when we started the race and adjusted the Menards Chevy and got better and better. We were also able to keep the tires underneath us really well. We made a lot of ground under pit sequences by really, really pushing really hard when everybody pitted and we gained a lot of ground that way. The yellow helped us a bit because we pitted about five laps before so that did help us. In the end we had good pace. It was really hard to move the car so thanks to all the extra training I put in since it was a really physical race. I also want to say a big thanks to Chevy because that was a lot of horsepower in the straightaway and helped me pass all of those people. Just a big thanks to them.”