CHEVROLET RACING IN THE NTT INDYCAR SERIES
INDYCAR HARVEST GP
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE
RACE 1 POST-QUALIFYING REPORT
OCT. 1, 2020

Chevrolet sweeps front row for inaugural INDYCAR Harvest GP
Rookie VeeKay earns first NTT P1 Award; reigning champ Newgarden starts P2

INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 1, 2020) – NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Rinus VeeKay recorded his first NTT P1 Award to lead a Chevrolet sweep of the front row for Race 1 of the inaugural INDYCAR Harvest GP doubleheader on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

VeeKay, 20, set a best lap of 1 minute, 9.6903 seconds (125.992 mph) on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn course in the 12-minute session.

“Once I got out of the pits and got temperature in my tires, I was like ‘Wow … this is the car I need.’ I drove a good lap and made no mistakes,” said VeeKay, driver of the No. 21 Sonax Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. “I think there was even more in it. We can go for the win tomorrow.”

It is the 97th earned pole (101st overall, including poles by entrant points when qualifying was rained out) for Chevrolet in 147 races since returning to manufacturer competition in 2012. A Chevrolet driver has started from the pole in seven of the eight NTT INDYCAR SERIES races on the IMS road course.

Four Chevrolet drivers have won on the road course from the pole: Will Power in 2015, 2017 and 2018, and Simon Pagenaud in 2016.

Reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden, driving the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, posted a lap of 1:10.4706 seconds to pace drivers in the first 12-minute session and will start on the outside of the front row. He was denied an opportunity to put in a lap on the quicker alternate tires because time ran out in the session after Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato’s car ran off course to bring out a red flag.

“The car was fast on black tires with everybody else,” said Newgarden, who is second in the driver standings with three races left. “We’re in a good spot with the Hitachi car so I feel confident. It’s a good start for us and we’ll try to convert tomorrow.”

TOP CHEVROLET UNOFFICIAL QUALIFYING RESULTS:

  1. Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Sonax Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
  2. Josef Newgarden, No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet
  3. Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet
  4. Max Chilton, No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet
  5. Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

The 85-lap (207.35 miles) race Oct. 2 will be telecast on the USA Network at 3:30 p.m. ET. Race 2 will be telecast on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET Oct. 3. Both races will be broadcast live on Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network affiliates, Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com, and on the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA.

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RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 SONAX ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – RACE ONE POLE-WINNER
“Once I got out of the pits and got temperature in my tires, I was like ‘Wow…this is the car I need.’ I drove a good lap and made no mistakes. I think there was more in it, to be honest. I just used all the grip I had. It had great balance. It was a lot different than this morning, so I think the cold track suits us. We can go for the win tomorrow.”

HOW MUCH DID YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE ROAD TO INDY HELP YOUR ADJUSTMENT TO THE NTT INDYCAR SERIES?“

It really helped. I’ve had a few tests here in Indy Lights and the Road to Indy. It’s the same temperature here and same time of year. I know what to expect when the track is cold here. I’ve driven quite a few laps now on this track, so it definitely helps me.”

WILL STARTING NEXT TO CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER JOSEF NEWGARDEN BE ON YOUR MIND AT THE START?

“It doesn’t matter who starts next to me. I’m going to give it all I have. Josef is a good driver and has a lot of experience. I’m a young guy and don’t know what to expect. I think that’s a good thing. I’m just going to go flat-out into Turn On

JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 1 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SECOND FOR RACE 1: “It was a good day. Pretty happy with qualifying. Got a little bit lucky with the yellow. But I felt like we were quick on merit. We were quickest in that first group of attempts so I felt really positive about that. I think we would have had a really good shot if it didn’t go yellow to get the pole too. But a front row start for tomorrow is going to be great. The Hitachi Chevy honestly felt fantastic right from the start which was a good turnaround from practice. Team Chevy has done a great job. Our straight line speed looks fantastic so I feel very confident for the race tomorrow that we can make it count.”
WAS YOUR TIME ON BLACK TIRES?
“I didn’t even put on red (tires). I would say that’s the luckiest we’ve been this year with the yellow flag. I just wish we could get it in a race. It’s obviously beneficial to help in a qualifying session. The car was fast on black tires. With everybody else, I felt like the car was where it needed to be. We’ll probably drop to second because we didn’t run a red lap, and the red tires are quite a bit quicker. We’re in a good spot for tomorrow in the Hitachi Chevrolet so I feel confident.”
DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE SCOTT DIXON QUALIFIED?
“It’s just qualifying so not really. But it’s a good start for us obviously. We’ll try to convert for tomorrow now.”

WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED FOURTH: “It was a good qualifying session. We were looking for more speed on the reds but unfortunately the yellow came out when our group was on track and ended qualifying early. I think we could have found more speed had we had more time on track but that’s how racing goes sometimes. I feel really good about my Verizon Chevy for tomorrow’s race. We’re starting up near the front which is great. We’re racing for wins so we’re going to give the race tomorrow everything we got and will see what happens.”

MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED NINTH: “It was a super positive qualifying for the Gallagher Chevrolet that could’ve been exceptional. It was unbelievably close out there. I knew it was going to be close because the group before us didn’t get a red run in and they all were within half a second of each other. I made a slight mistake at turn four, but in general I was fairly happy with my lap. I need to look at it on the overlay to see if that mistake cost us compared to the next lap. Regardless I extracted a lot out of the car and we worked really well as a team today considering we only have one car and one practice session before qualifying and the races. Overall we had a really strong day today and I think starting ninth tomorrow puts us in a good position to move forward for a solid result.”

PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN SP CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 10TH: “Honestly, the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet improved quite a bit from practice to the little time we got in that qualifying session. That was definitely a positive but it was unlucky to get caught out by that red flag and we didn’t get any running on the red alternate tires. I think the car would have been strong on the reds. We will have to see what we can do tomorrow. We will have an extra set of reds since we didn’t really use them in qualifying. It should shake up pretty interestingly in the race.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 7 ARROW MCLAREN SP CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 19TH: “I have to thank everyone from Arrow McLaren SP; they did such a great job to accommodate all the little bits that a new driver needs to make everything okay, which is difficult. Everyone, including Robert Wickens and Oliver Askew, were working together to try to maximize the time we had the best we can because of the way the schedule is so compact. For me it was great. It’s not fun to start in the back, but to this point, it is great to be back. Let’s go for the race, we are going to learn a lot for sure.”

SAGE KARAM, NO. 24 DREYER & REINBOLD RACING OIL2SOIL CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 21ST: “Qualifying was better than in July. I would love to be better. I thought we might be better but we had a fuel pressure issue in practice. That cost us almost 3/4 of the session. We never got to run on the Firestone Red tires, so it was a blind shot going into qualifying. The car felt good in qualifying but I was a little frustrated. I would try too hard and miss a bit of a corner. I’d say, ‘Rats, it cost me a tenth here and a tenth there.’ Unfortunately with the Red tires, you get one shot for a good lap. Not having the ability to run in the full practice session really hurt us. It’s a doubleheader weekend luckily and we learned from this qualifying. We’ll be ready for Saturday qualifying now. Friday’s race is longer than Saturday and it gives us a different strategy. In July, our race car was good and we had some bad luck with the yellow flag session. I think we have a pretty good race car after our runs during the July race. We hope we get a few breaks for Friday’s race too.”

SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 DXC TECHNOLOGY TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 22ND: “It was a real shame that the session was truncated. Definitely not where I want to start. I’m not happy at all. The DXC Technology Chevy was ok. Just need to get on the red tires and put a good lap together. We’ll start in the back but we’ll go forward. No question about that. These weekends are just too short. It’s been very difficult to adjust. It was a big disappointment today.”