Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report

Track:                  Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course

Race:                   INDYCARHarvest Grand Prix – Race 2

Date:                   October 3, 2020

No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 9th

Finish: 4th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 75/75

Laps Led: 0

Points Position:  2nd (-32 pts)

Notes:

  • It was a strong day for Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet team as they slightly closed the difference in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship points battle with leader Scott Dixon, finding themselves just 32 points behind after a fourth-place finish at the INDYCAR Harvest GP Race 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
  • Starting towards the middle of the pack in the ninth position, Newgarden attempted to move through the field quickly as he made his way into the fifth position by lap 21.
  • After a pit stop on lap 26 for fuel, Firestone primary compound tires and a front wing adjustment, Newgarden continued to maintain the fifth position until pitting for the second and final time on lap 50, taking Firestone alternate compound tires and fuel hoping to find just a bit more speed to advance on track.
  • Just a few laps later Newgarden, found himself in his race-high fourth position on lap 56, attempting to close a 13.2 second gap behind leader and teammate Will Power, Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi.
  • Unable to pass his competition, Newgarden settled for fourth the position as the checkered flag waved.
  • This was his 11th top-10 finish, and 8th top five for the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
  • With just 32 points between himself and Scott Dixon in the points race, Newgarden and the Hitachi Chevrolet team will race down to the wire at St. Petersburg, Fla. for the final race of the season to determine the champion on Sunday, October 25.

Quote: “We were a little shy of where we needed to be. If we had a phenomenal day like we had yesterday, we would be in really good shape. We were just mediocre today. I think we had a car to compete with Will and Herta and Rossi up there but we just didn’t start up there high enough. With the start, I got kind of buried on the inside and I tried to get as much as I could on the outside but then Santino (Ferrucci) came in running tight – but he was fine. It just got tight and I got pushed back a little too far. The key for us was being up higher earlier today. I just had to work for a lot just like Scott did. If we had a cleaner qualifying run, I think we really would have had a better day. I’m really thankful to Team Chevy. There were two wins for Team Chevy here this weekend. They did a phenomenal job, and obviously having Hitachi support is always big for us. Look, we’re in it with a shot. We’re going to go to St. Pete and try and win this championship. I just wish we were in a little closer position.”

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No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 1st (61st NTT INDYCAR SERIES career pole)

Finish: 1st (39th NTT INDYCAR SERIES career victory)

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 75/75

Laps Led: 75

Points Position: 4th (-114 pts)

Notes:

  • In an almost unbelievable display of skill, Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet not only won the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Harvest GP Race 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – they led every one of the 75 laps in the event.
  • After beginning his morning qualifying for the Saturday afternoon race, Power claimed his 61st NTT INDYCAR SERIES career pole – putting him just six poles away from tying Mario Andretti’s record for the most career poles by a single INDYCAR driver.
  • With the team electing to begin the event on Firestone alternate compound tires, Power held off until lap 26 to make his first pit stop, in which he switched to primary compound tires and took fuel. He remained in the lead as he exited the pits and returned to the track.
  • He came back to the pits for his second and final pit stop on lap 52 for Firestone alternate compound tires, fuel and an aeroscreen tear off to find more speed as Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi continued to close the gap behind the leader.
  • With just nine laps remaining, it seemed Herta saved his remaining push-to-pass time to try and make a pass on Power as the gap between the two leaders closed to just 0.636 seconds.
  • However, Power maintained his lead and won the race – his 39th NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory – tying him with Al Unser Sr. for fifth on the all-time INDYCAR wins list.
  • This was Power’s second victory this season after also winning at the first race of a doubleheader weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in September.
  • Power’s victory was Team Penske’s 218th Indy car victory and the team’s 24th win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This was also their seventh team victory on the road course.

Quote: “The tires had gone away and it was a tough battle and I had to work very hard to keep him behind. I am just so happy to have Verizon and Chevy in Victory Lane again. We had two Hondas trying to attack us there but my Chevy had very good power and drive-ability, so just over the moon to get another win, especially at this place.”

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No. 22 DXC Technology Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 19th

Finish: 10th

Status:  Running

Laps Completed: 75/75

Laps Led: 0

Points Position:  8th (-191 pts)

Notes:

  • Starting further back in the field in 19th, Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 DXC Technology Dallara/Chevrolet team powered through with determination to finish the race in the top-10 in the Sunday’s second race of the Harvest GP doubleheader weekend on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
  • Being the only Team Penske Chevrolet who started the race on Firestone primary compound tires, the team elected to change to alternate compound tires by lap 26 while also taking fuel and a front wing adjustment.
  • Moving through the field and carefully using his push-to-pass time, Pagenaud was able to move into the 10th position for the first time by lap 39.
  • In hopes of advancing his track position, team strategist Kyle Moyer called the Frenchman back to the pits on lap 50 for one final stop, taking Firestone alternate compound tires, fuel and a front wing adjustment.
  • His efforts to further his track position were not rewarded as he ended the 75-lap event in 10th-place. This was his sixth top-10 finish of the 2020 season.
  • Pagenaud will join the rest of the field for the final race of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season at St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, October 25.

Quote: “It was a big weekend for Team Penske. Will did a great job today and congratulations to him for the win. We worked hard today for a top-10 finish with the DXC Technology Chevrolet and it was a good way for us to end the weekend. With another good finish today by Josef, Team Penske has a chance to race for the championship at St. Pete so we’re all looking forward to the finale and a good result there.”