CHEVROLET RACING IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG
STREETS OF ST. PETERSBURG, FL
TEAM CHEVY ADVANCE
FEBRUARY 23, 2022
STREET FIGHT: Chevy INDYCAR Teams Open 2022 at Familiar Spot
11 Chevrolet-powered entries set to take on St. Peterburg Grand Prix
DETROIT (February 23, 2022) – For the first time since 2019, Chevrolet and its teams in NTT INDYCAR SERIES will open their season at the series’ traditional starting spot: St. Petersburg, Florida, and the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
A total of eleven Team Chevy drivers and their Indy Cars – each powered by a 2.2-liter, twin turbo-charged Chevrolet V6 – will line up on the grid at St. Petersburg. Due to maneuvering within the IndyCar schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Petersburg featured on the series schedule the last two years: the season finale in 2020 and the second race of 2021.
Nestled along the harbors of Tampa Bay, the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit runs beside the waterfront and along the Albert Whitted Airport runway to create one of the most unique and scenic layouts in American racing.
More often than not since 2012, fans at St. Petersburg have witnessed Chevrolet’s Bowtie-badged IndyCars running up front. Since rejoining the series as an engine supplier 10 years ago, Team Chevy has won seven times on the streets of St. Petersburg and claimed pole position on six occasions.
Six of Chevrolet’s St. Petersburg victories have come from the Team Penske camp, including two from two-time INDYCAR Series champion Josef Newgarden in 2019 and 2020. His Penske teammate Will Power has been just as strong at the circuit with Chevrolet power adding a victory (2014) and five pole positions dating back to 2012.
“It’s great to go back to St. Petersburg as the season-opening race for the NTT INDYCAR Series,” said Rob Buckner, Chevrolet Program Manager for the NTT INDYCAR Series. “It just feels normal and right to hold a three-day festival of speed in St. Pete to get everything going for a new year. This is an important season for Chevrolet in INDYCAR. It’s the final year of the current engine package with our 2.2L, twin-turbo V6 motor. Obviously we all want to go out on top with the goals of winning another Manufacturer Championship along with the Driver Championship and Indianapolis 500. I’m confident we can with our lineup of Chevrolet teams.
“St. Petersburg is always a challenge from an engineering perspective,” Buckner added. “There are limited passing opportunities but yet some fast sections for a street circuit. Getting a car to work on multiple tarmac surfaces is always a big challenge. Like most street circuits, tire and power management from our Chevrolet engines will be keys to success. We have enjoyed a lot of great moments at St. Petersburg, and there’s no reason to expect anything different this year.”
Chevrolet is coming off a season in which it won six times and claimed eight pole positions. Five separate Chevy-powered entrants – Team Penske, AJ Foyt Racing, Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Ed Carpenter Racing and Juncos Hollinger Racing – will look to better that mark in the 17-round championship and help the Bowtie Brand to its seventh Manufacturer Championship in a decade.
Chevrolet and the NTT INDYCAR Series begin the 2022 season at noon ET on Sunday, Feb. 27 from the St. Petersburg Street Circuit. The race will air live on NBC, the Peacock streaming service and SiriusXM IndyCar Nation (Channel 160). Live timing and scoring will be available at racecontrol.indycar.com.
TEAM CHEVY QUOTES
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI CHEVROLET, TEAM PENSKE: “I’m 10 years into this journey now, and when I look at myself and have to think about my perspective and experience that I’m bringing to the table with a new engineer, I think about confidence more than anything. That’s a big deal in racing. Trying to project the confidence you need to show up with on a weekend and the confidence you should or shouldn’t have in certain situations as you progress through a weekend. It’s really important. When you have a new engineer, it definitely shifts that confidence to my side in needing to be really clear and concise. That goes both ways. I need to be really clear on when we should be confident or when we shouldn’t. It’s OK to have not to have some confidence in something. If I’m not sure where we’re going or I don’t feel like it’s the right direction, I’m going to say that I don’t feel good in this. But if I see something that is clearly that the right way to do something or this is to me the path we need to be going down, I going to display to confidence and I need to hold true on that.”
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 PPG CHEVROLET, TEAM PENSKE: “We’ve always been very quick in practice and right there or there about, the top-eight, top-six. You sort of hit qualifying and it sort of just goes down a hole a little bit. We feel like we got a few ideas why that was. Potentially going the wrong way with some setup. What was very interesting, I went through the whole year with some engineers. I felt like we worked out – there was a common trend going on. I felt like we were being a bit too aggressive on a few things that made the car really hard to drive when I needed to hit it at peak speed in qualifying. It was nice to go through all that and certainly have a focus area. I feel like we’re in a good understanding of where we need to be come practice to qualifying, especially at St. Pete this year.”
DALTON KELLETT, NO. 4 K-LINE CHEVROLET, AJ FOYT RACING: “I love street circuits and St. Pete is a classic venue. It has everything you would want from a racetrack: good flow, technical sections, some good passing zones, and great fans! It is always an exciting start to the season, and I can’t wait to get on track. I’m feeling good about our street course package and would like to continue from where I felt we left off at the end of 2021. Looking at that year overall, I think qualifying was the Achilles heel, so there’s focus on improving there. That will in-turn help us in the races and it’s all about consistent, fast stints in the race.”
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 McLAREN VUSE CHEVROLET, ARROW McLAREN RACING SP: “It’s been a long offseason but the entire Arrow McLaren SP team has put in so much work to be ready for the first race of the season. I left St. Petersburg last year with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, but I’ve always really enjoyed racing there so I’m looking forward to turning it around. I’m excited to see where we are and make the first race one to remember.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST, NO. 7 McLAREN VUSE CHEVROLET, ARROW McLAREN RACING SP: “The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is the first race of the year and one of my absolute favorite tracks and cities that we go to. It is a really special event every year. St. Petersburg has everything that you want and it’s a perfect way to start off the year. I’ve had very good races here but last year wasn’t the strongest result for us. I think we’re really motivated to come back stronger this year and start off the season in a good way. That way, we can travel to the next race with some points in the bag.”
TATIANA CALDERON, NO. 11 ROKIT CHEVROLET, AJ FOYT RACING: “We need to get as many laps as possible to get all the info and experience, so for me I would like to just get a feel for where we are at in the first race and go from there to put some realistic goals in place. Of course, as a racing driver you always want to win. It’s the closest race we have and a lot of Latino presence so for sure I’m looking forward to the extra support and energy that they bring! My family will be there as it’s a great new experience to be in the INDYCAR field. I’ll be missing my brother, but he will for sure be awake in Europe following the race. Having my family on site and more support around me can only be positive. I feel more relaxed because I have everything I need around me.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON 5G CHEVROLET, TEAM PENSKE: “I’m very focused on the beginning of the season. I feel like I’m fitter than I was last year. The team has done some development and Chevy has found some good stuff as well on the drivability side. There’s been a race (at St. Petersburg) in many different styles of cars as IndyCars have evolved and changed over the years. The setups have been quite different. It’s a technical track, but it’s like any other in that you have to get all the little bits right and all the sectors right. Obviously you have to get the setup right. Then it’s up to you to put the lap together. I’ve had more poles there than at any other track. It might be just that it flows well for me there. That does happen at some tracks.”
KYLE KIRKWOOD, NO. 14 ROKIT CHEVROLET, AJ FOYT RACING: “The first thing I noticed when I jumped behind the wheel of the No. 14 car was power. The power delivery from Chevrolet is incredible. The car as a whole compared to what I have driven in the past isn’t massively different to other open-wheel cars, but if I were to take all the best attributes of every open-wheel car I’ve driven, it would come out to be the Indy car. I personally love the city of St. Petersburg. It’s a short drive from home for me so this allows a lot of friends and family to come out to my INDYCAR debut. I grew up near the water fishing, diving, surfing etc. in Florida with my family and given the fact that the track runs right along the Tampa bay, I feel right at home. Execution is key. Making sure we maximize our practice runs and come into qualifying with a good balance will be super important. As many know, these street course weekends are very dependent on how you roll off the trailer. I feel confident that we will be towards the front, but expectations will be made as the weekend progresses.”
CONOR DALY, NO. 20 BITNILE CHEVROLET, ED CARPENTER RACING: “St. Petersburg marks the start of an incredible new partnership and a new adventure with our friends at BitNile. Having had a nice test at Sebring last week, I feel very, very excited about it. St. Pete is one of the best possible places to start off the season! I know Ed Carpenter Racing has been working hard over the offseason to show up competitive. I can’t wait!”
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 SONAX CHEVROLET, ED CARPENTER RACING: “I am very excited to go to St. Petersburg again and begin my third season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES! I am just so happy to start driving again, get back in the rhythm and show how much Ed Carpenter Racing has improved over the offseason. We had a great Sebring test, we have made some really good changes for this year.”
CALLUM ILOTT, NO. 77 DYNAMIC EDGE CHEVROLET, JUNCOS HOLLINGER RACING: “I am ready to get in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevy and kick off the season this week. It will be nice to be out in the sun and to be down in Florida in St. Petersburg. It will be a new track for me, but I think it’s one you can get to grips with hopefully quickly. I am excited to see how competitive we are as a new team and look forward to a great event!”
BY THE NUMBERS: CHEVROLET IN INDYCAR
· 2: Wins by Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in the last three years at St. Petersburg
· 5: Number of drivers to win at St. Petersburg with Chevrolet power
· 5: Different Chevrolet drivers to win races dating back to the start of 2012
· 6: Number of Manufacturer Championships in the NTT INDYCAR Series since 2012
· 6: Number of Team Chevy Driver/Entrant championships since 2012
· 6: Pole positions for Team Penske’s Will Power at St. Petersburg dating back to 2012
· 7: Wins for Chevrolet drivers since 2012 on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit in St. Petersburg
· 9: Wins from pole by Will Power with Chevrolet power since 2012, most by any driver
· 13: Consecutive seasons with at least one win by Will Power, including past 10 with Chevrolet
· 19: Podium finishes (out of 30) by Team Chevy drivers at St. Petersburg since 2012
· 25: Wins by Will Power since 2012. All have come with Chevrolet, giving him the most of any driver with same manufacturer
· 39: Pole starts by Will Power since 2012 in a Chevrolet-powered car, most of any driver
· 95: Chevrolet victories in NTT INDYCAR SERIES since 2012
· 107: Earned poles by Chevrolet since 2012
· 165: NTT INDYCAR SERIES races as V6 engine supplier since 2012 return to INDYCAR
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