CHEVROLET RACING IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
INDY GP OF ALABAMA – APRIL 17-18
BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK
APRIL 18, 2021
SOLID OPENING RACE FOR CHEVROLET IN 2021 NTT INDYCAR SEASON
Four Chevy Powered Drivers score top-six finishes
Will Power finished in runner-up position to claim podium spot
Pole winner Pato O’Ward finished fourth, Sebastien Bourdais scored the fifth spot and Rinus VeeKay finished sixth
Chase for the Chambpionship begins in very competitive field
BIRMINGHAM (APRIL 18,2021) – It was a beautiful day at Barber Motorsports Park for 24 NTT INDYCAR Series race cars to take the green flag to start the opening race of the 2021season.
Pole winner Pato O’Ward. No.5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, led the field to turn one solidly in the lead, but a multi-car crash in a few turns later jumbled the field and strategies. Chevy drivers Josef Newgarden, Felex Rosenqvist and Max Chilton sustained heavy damage in the melee.
Rosenqvist, No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevy and Chilton, No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet were able to make repairs and return to gather points. Newgarden’s, No.2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, day was done.
Former Series’ champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power and his No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet team executed an outstanding race. Methodically he drove his way up to the runner-up step on the podium.
O’Ward led for 25 laps, but strategies that were varied by the crash. He turned fast and consistent laps, but after each of his three pit stops, he was mired deep in the field. He battled is way to fourth at the finish.
Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais, No. 4 ROKIT Chevrolet finished fifth, and Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Sonax Ed Carpenter Racing finished sixth.
Up next is the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 24-25, 2021.
TEAM CHEVY FINISHERS:
2nd Will Power
4th Pato O’Ward
5th Sebastien Bourdais
6th Rinus VeeKay
14th Scott McLaughlin
16th Conor Daly
18th Dalton Kellett
20th Max Chilton
21st Felix Rosenqvist
23rd Josef Newgarden
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON 5G TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – FINISHED 2ND:
“YOU PUT UP A GOOD FIGHT. YOU HAD A LOT MORE PUSH TO PASS LEFT THAN ALEX PALOU. WHAT MORE, IF ANYTHING, COULD YOU HAVE DONE THERE IN THOSE CLOSING LAPS?
“Yeah, I made one little mistake. Yes, you’re right. With the amount of push to pass I had left, it could have been pretty good. I did have to save some fuel, so I had enough to be able to use push to pass for the last two laps. But it just blew my mind how fast Alex was in that first stint. I had absolutely nothing for him. He just pulled away. So, I figured he was doing a three-stop race because I was getting the best lap time I could for the fuel number. But we got the Verizon 5G car on the podium. We’ve had a pretty bad start to the year the last four years, so it’s awesome to get a really good start to the season.”
SINCE THERE ARE FOUR RACES IN JUST A MATTER OF THREE WEEKS, WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR THE TEAM TO START OFF SO STRONGLY?
“Yeah, it’s great. It’s great. I said to the guys if we do this week in and week out, just solid races with no mistakes, I promise you we will absolutely have a great chance at winning the championship.”
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN SP CHEVROLET – FINISHED 4TH
WHAT’S YOUR TAKEAWAY FROM THE RACE THIS AFTERNOON?
“Track position was everything today. I feel like we executed on what we went for, strategy-wise. Unfortunately, it was the wrong one. But I’ve got to give it to these guys. We were the fastest car on track today. We’ve been the fastest car all weekend in terms of qualifying and pace; and we’re ready for St. Pete. We got good points here. I would have loved to get the win, but we’ve got another shot next weekend and we’re going to be going for it. I just want to thank Arrow Electronics, Arrow McLaren SP, Team Chevy; these guys have been on it. I’m one hundred percent sure that when St. Pete comes in a few days, we’ll be ready to give it our all.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 4 ROKIT AJ RACING CHEVROLET, FINIDHED 5TH
“Really good run today for the No. 14 ROKIT Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing. A very solid day, a very solid race. Good strategies and good pit stops. And good pace. Really happy for the whole team. We overcame a dodgy day starting 16th. Put on a good show and put on a show. Passed a lot of cars. I’m really happy for everybody and looking forward to. St. Pete.”
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 SONAX ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 6TH: “Crazy race here at Barber. G. ot in a lot of trouble on the first lap. Got a flat tire and went all the way to the back. But the team was awesome at strategies. The car was awesome. I felt awesome. We had a great race coming back to P6.
So close to the top-five but awesome recovery. All I could wish for. This is the start of an awesome season – so happy me.”`
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE – SIDELINED IN MULTI-CAR CRASH ON LAP 1
“I got loose coming over the hill. It was a good start. We were lining in pretty nicely, but I just got loose in the wake. I thought I had the car and then touched the grass and I think once I touched the grass it pitched me sideways. I feel really bad for anyone that got involved in that. Obviously, my mess created a bigger mess. Any of the cars that got involved, I’m real sorry because it was obviously us that tipped it off. It’s a shame. I feel like we had a really good car. We just needed to file-in there at the start. We partially did that but yeah. Wudda, shudda, cudda I guess for Hitachi and Chevrolet. But we’ll come back. We’ve just got to bounce back at the next one.”
ARE YOU OKAY AND WHAT HAPPENED
“Yes, I’m okay. I wanted to just get rolling. I felt like we had so much potential. We had a really good car underneath us and the team worked really hard and was ready to show that. I made a mistake. I got loose in traffic coming up the hill. I haven’t been loose like that at the start of a race here (Barber Motorsports Park). So just feel bad for causing a big wreck and anyone who was involved because of me. It’s tough to have a mistake like that. But thanks to our partners Hitachi, Chevrolet and everyone else, Just disappointed we couldn’t make something of it today.”
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