SEPT. 17-19


Team Chevy heads to penultimate race in thick of title chase

Every point at Laguna Seca counts for Pato O’Ward, Josef Newgarden

DETROIT (Sept. 15, 2021) – The focus will be on three drivers, including two powered by Chevrolet’s V-6 engine, as the tight NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship chase heads into its penultimate event this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, is 25 points out of first place following the crash-marred event Sept. 12 at Portland, Oregon, while two-time Series champion Josef Newgarden, competing in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, trails front-runner Alex Palou by 34 points.

A maximum 54 points are available in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sept. 19 and the finale Sept. 26 on the temporary street circuit in Long Beach, California. Basically, the title is up for grabs.

Two 45-minute practice sessions, qualifications and a 30-minute race day warm-up precede the 90-lap contest on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course that features a 300-foot elevation change and the famous “Corkscrew” in Turns 8 and 8A.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returned to the venue in 2019 after a 14-year absence. The event was not contested in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

O’Ward, 21, a two-time winner and three-time pole sitter this season, will make his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES start at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. He recorded one victory in five Indy Pro 2000 races in 2015-16 at the track.

“We are up against some great competitors for the championship, but we will come back the next two races and fight down to the last lap in Long Beach,” he said. “No pressure.”

Newgarden is the most seasoned of the title contenders, winning the championship in 2017 and ’19 and finishing a close second in the truncated 2020 season. He’s seeking to become the 13th three-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion.

“Going into Laguna Seca 34 points out of the lead is definitely doable. We are in the fight for the championship and that’s all we can ask,” said Newgarden, who qualified fourth and finished eighth in the 2019 race at Laguna Seca. “We have to hit on all cylinders these next two weeks and I’m confident in this team to be at a championship level.”

Scott McLaughlin’s ninth-place finish at Portland – his second consecutive top 10 and fifth of the season — gave the driver of the No. 3 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet the inside track to the INDYCAR Rookie of the Year award.

Callum Ilott, who made his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut at Portland in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, will remain behind the wheel for the final two races. Ilott, 22, of the United Kingdom, was the 2020 Formula 2 championship runner-up and is a Ferrari Formula One test driver.

“We have all been working hard together over the past few weeks to build our program, so it feels great to carry this relationship as a team for the rest of the season,” team co-owner Ricardo Juncos said.

NBC will telecast the 90-lap Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 19. Practice sessions and qualifications will stream on Peacock Premium. The race, qualifications and practice will also be broadcast live on INDYCAR Radio Network affiliates, Sirius 211, XM 205,, and on the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA.

Team Chevy will be represented by:
A.J. Foyt Enterprises
Dalton Kellett, No. 4 K-Line Insulators AJ Foyt Racing
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 14 ROKiT AJ Foyt Racing
Arrow McLaren SP
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP
Felix Rosenqvist, No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP
Max Chilton, No. 59 Carlin
Ed Carpenter Racing
Conor Daly, No. 20 U.S. Air Force
Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek
Juncos Hollinger Racing
Callum Ilott, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing
Team Penske
Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske
Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 PPG Team Penske
Will Power, No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske
Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Menards Team Penske

Chevrolet IndyCar V6 Year-By-Year Results since 2012
2021 ­– 6 wins, 7 poles in 14 races
Wins – Pato O’Ward (Texas2, Detroit2); Rinus VeeKay (Indy RC1); Josef Newgarden (Mid-Ohio, St. Louis); Will Power (Indy RC2). Pole – Pato O’Ward (Barber Motorsports Park, Detroit1, Indy RC2); Josef Newgarden (Detroit2, Road America, Mid-Ohio); Will Power (St. Louis).
2020 – 7 wins, 11 poles in 14 races
Wins – Simon Pagenaud (Iowa1); Josef Newgarden (Iowa2, St. Louis2, Indy RC2, St. Petersburg); Will Power (Mid-Ohio1, Indy RC3, St. Petersburg). Poles – Josef Newgarden (Texas, Road America1, Iowa2), Will Power (Indianapolis road course, St. Louis1, Mid-Ohio1, Indy RC3; St. Petersburg), Pato O’Ward (Road America2), Conor Daly (Iowa1), Rinus VeeKay (Indy road course October)
2019 – 9 wins, 9 poles in 17 races
Driver/owner championship (Josef Newgarden/Roger Penske); Indianapolis 500 win (Simon Pagenaud)
2018 – 6 wins, 9 poles in 17 races
Indianapolis 500 win (Will Power)
2017 – 10 wins, 11 poles in 17 races
Engine Manufacturer Championship; driver/owner titles (Josef Newgarden/Roger Penske)
2016 – 14 wins, 13 poles in 16 races
Engine Manufacturer Championship; driver/owner titles (Simon Pagenaud/Roger Penske)
2015 – 10 wins, 16 poles in 16 races
Engine Manufacturer Championship; driver/owner titles (Scott Dixon/Chip Ganassi);
Indianapolis 500 win (Juan Pablo Montoya). First manufacturer to capture all titles since Chevrolet returned to INDYCAR in 2012
2014 – 12 wins, 14 poles in 18 races
Engine Manufacturer Championship; driver/owner titles (Will Power/Roger Penske)
2013 – 10 wins, 11 poles in 19 races
Engine Manufacturer Championship; Indianapolis 500 win (Tony Kanaan)
2012 – 11 wins, 10 poles in 15 races
Engine Manufacturer Championship; driver/owner titles (Ryan Hunter-Reay/Michael Andretti)
Total – 95 wins, 106 earned poles in 163 races