JULY 3, 2021

LEXINGTON, OHIO (July 3, 2021) For the third consecutive race and the 14th time in his career, Josef Newgarden will lead the NTT INDYCAR Series field to the green flag powered by a Chevrolet 2.2 liter V6 twin turbo direct injected engine.

The two-time champion grabbed the NTT P1 Award by a mere three-thousands of a second behind the wheel of the No 2 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet.

Teammate Will Power, No .12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet, joined Newgarden in the Firestone Fast Six. The former champion, and Indianapolis 500 winner will roll off from fourth on the grid for the 80-lap race on the 2.258-mile 13 turn natural terrain Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The remaining Team Chevy drivers qualified as follows:
11th Rinus Veekay, No. 21 Sonax AutoGeek Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
12th Sebastien Bourdais, No. 14 Rokit AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet
13th Felix Rosenqvist, No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
14th Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet
15th Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet
17th Max Chilton, No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet
20th Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
21st Dalton Kellett, No. 4 K-Line Insulators AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet
24th Conor Daly, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Colton Herta will start alongside Newgarden. Marcus Ericsson, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi completed the Firestone Fast Six qualifying field.

NBC will telecast the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio live at noon ET Sunday, July 4. The 80-lap/180.6-mile race will also be broadcast live on INDYCAR Radio Network affiliates, Sirius 211, XM 205,, and on the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA.


JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 XPEL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER: That was a little tighter than I wanted it to be. I about fell apart the second half of that lap. I opened the lap really well. The car has been on rails right out of the box. I am really proud of the team. Obviously thanks to this whole group here. Everyone at Team Penske has been on it! We’ve had some troubles the last couple weeks securing a win, but I can’t ask much different. They are doing everything they need to do to win these races. Excited to have another chance with a really great car. Team Chevy keeps doing a great job for us.. It’s good to have XPEL on the car. They’ve been a great partner for us the last couple of years. There is an anniversary! I didn’t know this coming into it. This is the 50th year today for Team Penske and Roger Penske scoring the first win for the organization with Mark Donohue. I was thinking of how cool it is to be in the car here racing today. Every now and then you have moments where you reflect that you are actually doing this. It’s so cool It’s a dream to drive for Roger and this entire group. So proud of everybody. Hopefully we can seal one off tomorrow—that’s what we need to do!

“I knew the third lap would be the money lap on used red tires. I opened the lap really well and then started losing time in Turn Four, all the way to the line. I was just trying to keep it together – Tim (Cindric) was telling me exactly what we needed and we got it. Really proud of everyone, the car looks good and it’s fast, and Team Chevy has done a great job so we just need to keep it together tomorrow. We need a good, clean day and I think we have the car to do that, and I know we’re capable. You have the curse of wanting to do well and get a good result when you know you’re capable as a team, but I’ve been racing long enough to see the ebbs and flows and I know that if we keep doing what we’re doing, it will come.

“There’s a lot of respect for Honda as our competitor, here at one of their home races. You want to have a good battle with someone who pushes you and they push us as hard as you can push. I’m proud to be backed by Chevrolet: every one of my INDYCAR wins has come with Chevrolet engine power so I’m pretty comfortable with where I’m at. I’m looking forward to putting them on top tomorrow.”

“The car feels strong. I think the Fast Six was definitely possible, I was on a good lap but the dirty air kicked in and the lap was gone. We had great track position until Bourdais came out in front of us. I had two peak laps and messed up both of them, giving up my second lap for a third one that I hoped would be faster. P11 isn’t bad but it isn’t great either. I’m not super happy but I know the car is great so hoping tomorrow is better.”

“I thought I did. I thought it was a good lap. But somehow its 7tenths off. If it was one or two, I ciould understand it. But seven tenths I don’t know where to find it. I thought I did one of my best laps ever around here. But the lap time just didn’t come. It felt better to be honest. I am kind of at a loss for words about the lap time. It feels good to be back in the car. Everything is back to normal. I feel good both physically and mentally. It feels good to be out there again, its just frustrating to not have the speed.”
“It was a really good lap. The Menards Chevrolet was so good. I lifted. I was on a .664 going into turn nine there. There was a white flag and then the yellow came out right in the center of it so I knew it was a moving car. That is why I knew it wasn’t somebody’s car in the middle. As you can see I moved all the way over. I guess it is the rules, but this is the second race. In Detroit I had to lift in the last corner because of Ferrucci who crashed. We were going to get in. Its just unfortunate when you have so much speed. Thanks to the team for doing such a great job. It just makes for a long weekend.”
“I wasn’t at my best, I messed up, but the tires were really inconsistent from set to set as well. We’ve had pace all weekend but on this set everything just went away: the car wasn’t even there on Lap 3. I don’t know what’s up, we’ve had some inconsistency on certain weekends, where we don’t know what’s going wrong. It’s difficult to be starting so far back but we’ll see what we can do.”

Q. Josef Newgarden, P1, once again. Third straight this season. Last time that happened was 2015, some guy named Will Power did that in Texas, Toronto. Third consecutive pole. Your thoughts on getting it done at the end?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It was tighter than I would like it to be. These guys all close the gap quite a lot. I felt we had a really good car straight out of the box this weekend. So we opened really well. And I think for us it was a matter of maintaining that, trying to not lose any speed and keep up with the track progression.
And then everyone around us, like certainly Colton, just raised their game a lot and just about knocked us off. It was going to be hard. You could see how fast these guys were. He was super quick all through qualifying. So it was going to take a really good lap. And thankfully we put it together.
That’s INDYCAR. It’s Mid-Ohio. Always tight here. So difficult. I think I’ve qualified second like three times, something that. It always comes down to being super tight in the end. Very happy to — I think the biggest thing that’s encouraging me for is we’ve had speed all weekend, the car’s felt good. It’s about maintaining that. And if we can keep our composure for the race conditions, we’ll have an opportunity to challenge again and seal one of these off. That’s what it starts with. You get one on the board and it will help. We’re still trying to make that happen for 2021.

Q. That’s pretty good. Both you guys, looks like in qualifying, looks like you’re almost water-skiing out here, the way you’re working the wheel and stuff, the tires almost looked like barely touching it. What’s it like driving a car to the limit like that?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I thought it was pretty hooked up. I was more hooked up in the Fast 6 and I thought maybe it might be. Tires dropping off were an issue. I think Colton and me were matched as far as how much we use the tires two laps apiece. That made a big difference. I think if you have three laps on the reds, makes it even harder. My car felt really solid all weekend. I can speak to that. Doesn’t feel like you’re water-skiing at all. Feels like you’re riding a roller coaster on rails. They say it about this place. It’s like a roller coaster, with the undulations and just how hooked up it can be with the elevation change.
It’s a really fun ride when the car’s working well. If it’s not super comfy, it can be challenging, but for us in the 2 car, it’s been really nice with that.

Q. How much did traffic affect you all in the first couple rounds of qualifying there?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: In qualifying I was okay with it. I didn’t have any problems at all and everybody was pretty considerate.26 cars. We were talking about it, it’s on the limit here. Probably over the limit here for practice running, but in qualifying it seemed fine. Once you cut it down to 12.

Q. Josef, how much fun is for you to steal a race from the other manufacturer?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: For me, there’s a lot of respect for our competitor and Honda. They’re a tough competitor for us, which is great. You want to have a good battle. And someone that pushes you — and I feel they pushed us as hard as you can be pushed. So a lot of respect for Honda and what they do every weekend. I think for us at Chevrolet, obviously for me I’m very proud to be backed by Chevrolet. Every single one of my INDYCAR wins comes with a Chevrolet powering me in the back of my vehicle. I’m pretty comfy where I am at and hopefully we can put Chevy on top tomorrow.

Q. Talking about strategy, how much do you think strategy will be a factor tomorrow?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Depends on the yellows. Outside of yellows, if it’s a green race it looks pretty straightforward.
Q. Which has happened a lot here?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It has. But as soon as you try and predict the race, it does the opposite sometimes. So it could be all green or we could have five yellows. You just don’t know. I think yellows are always what flip the script on these things. If it’s green all day, it looks pretty straightforward.

Q. Josef, you guys, you’ve done everything but win this year, a race. Is there pressure there? How would you describe — I think y’all won five of the last six, seven races last year. Quite a roll. But what is it like within the team about getting one on the board you talked about a minute ago?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Pretty normal, to be honest with you. Doesn’t feel any different. I don’t feel any different. I don’t think the team really feels any different. Kind of been doing the same thing, feeling really good. And joking, a lot of joking in the engineering meeting as normal. So, yeah, it’s pretty much status quo on our side of the world. Definitely been unfortunate. It’s probably the word I’d use. Just unfortunate we’ve not been able to have things go our way. Some of that’s probably a little self-inflicted. Obviously we try and clean that up in a year when we have a couple of mistakes. But some of it has just purely been unfortunate. So outside of that, pretty jokey. Pretty committed, and ready to go tomorrow. So same deal as always.

Q. You have race control, drivers?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: No, I think it’s — obviously race control doesn’t want to dictate races either. Puts them in a tough spot. I think they hate having to throw a yellow and it flips the world upside down for the top 5 who have worked hard to get there and deserve to stay there. So they don’t want to influence the race.
But to Colton’s point, you can only do so much in the rule sets that we have because it’s a closed pit situation. If there’s a car in harm’s way, they’ve got to throw the yellow immediately. If they can’t, I think they try and do everything possible to give the team an opportunity to pit, which is about the best you can do with this set of rules. If we want to make it even better, you know, where we mitigate the risk of your race being ruined by a yellow, then we’ve got to change the rules. We’ve got to figure out how to do that safely. That’s another conversation. But as far as how we approach the day, to Colton’s point, you can only do so much. There’s some areas where you can lower your risk of getting caught by the yellow, but then there’s some areas where you just can’t do anything about it. You’ve got to focus on your strategy that you have kind of gone with. If you get bit by it, it sucks to get bit by it. That’s the nature of this style of racing at the moment.

Q. So you have been bit by late yellows two consecutive races. Tell me, what do you say and feel when it happens, and what happens tomorrow if it’s a third time?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I would say the last two races weren’t necessarily — I wouldn’t put those down to yellows. You look at last year, last year was very unfortunate for yellows. I think we gotten taken out of four events, four wins because of yellows. I wouldn’t say that was the case these last two races. Things just didn’t pan out. Detroit didn’t pan out because of our strategy the way the yellow fell. And Road America, we just couldn’t predict what was going to happen there. It’s just an unfortunate failure. But if you looked at last year, yellows played a big role in our races specifically. And those are the tough ones.
When they purely take you out of the top 10, when you’re up there on merit, it’s a hard pill to swallow. But like I said, it’s the rule sets we live in right now. It’s the style of racing we’re used to. We know the drill. If we want to make that better, we have to change the rules one day.

Q. Lastly, are there guys out there that you guys are sick of it, are there guys out there, that are just, like, targets, get your act together, stop throwing yellows?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s up and down, up and down the grid. So, yeah, I don’t think you can point the finger at one person. No one’s trying to do anything on purpose.

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