Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Recap
Track: Barber Motorsports Park
Race: Grand Prix of Alabama
Date: April 10, 2022
No. 2 PPG Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Laps Led: 2
Point Standings: 3rd (-9 pts)
Race Rundown: Entering the weekend as the INDYCAR SERIES points leader on the strength of two-consecutive victories, Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 PPG team earned a 14th-place finish in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Alabama, dropping the American ace to second in the series standings. After starting the race from the seventh position on the Firestone primary tires, Newgarden settled into the 10th position as drivers on the red, alternative tires made their way past. By employing the strategy of making three pit stops on the day, Newgarden would cycle to lead during at times during the 90-lap event, but after his final stop on lap 63 he was able to climb only to the 14th position at the end of the day.
Newgarden’s Thoughts: “We could just never gather much traction today with the No. 2 PPG Chevy on the three-stop strategy. Obviously, not testing here like the other teams did a few weeks ago put us a bit behind, but I felt that we made great gains throughout the weekend. To tell you how well our team is working right now, we completely switched over to the 2 car’s setup yesterday – and it was a much better feel for me, but the two-stop strategy was the way to go in the end. At the end of the day, two wins and a very solid start to the year heading into the month of May. We’re in a good spot, for sure.”
No. 3 Sonsio Dallara/Chevrolet – Scott McLaughlin
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings: 2nd (-3 pts)
Race Rundown: On the second trip to Barber Motorsports Park in his young NTT INDYCAR SERIES career, Scott McLaughlin and the No. 3 Sonsio Chevy team looked to be in position to grab another podium finish until a final stint on the Firestone primary tires saw him drop to sixth at the checkered flag on Sunday afternoon. McLaughlin led the Team Penske effort in qualifying with a fourth place starting position before quickly moving into third in the first corner after the green. The winner of the opening round in St. Petersburg showed great pace throughout the event before a slight bobble off course allowed Scott Dixon to pass him for the third position. Finishing on the primary tires while others around him were on the red, alternate Firestones was no easy task, but McLaughlin was able to persevere for a solid, sixth-place finish and remains second in the point standings.
McLaughlin’s Thoughts: “One of our goals at the beginning of the season was to not finish worse than seventh. We did that. We didn’t lose anything, but we didn’t gain any either. At the end of the day, we had a very solid race with the Sonsio Chevy. I could have saved a little more fuel in the middle of the race. I made a couple of mistakes in that roller coaster part. That’s almost like Donkey Kong, it’s wild! We are up there running with the big boys now. I learn every week. Today it was tougher to take the position and keep it when the tires went off. But it was a good race for us. “
No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings: 4th (-10 pts)
Race Rundown: Will Power had the drive of the day in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, maneuvering his No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet from a 19th-place starting position to finish fourth. With the result, Power remains the only NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver to finish inside the top four in each race to start the 2022 season. Like his teammate Scott McLaughlin, Power and his team elected to go with a two-stop strategy for the 90-lap event. At the end of his first stint, Power had made his way up to the seventh position. He continued his march forward over the course of his second stint, eventually making his way past Scott Dixon for fourth place on lap 76 and cruising to another top-five finish.
Power’s Thoughts: “As the race was winding down, I did my very best to take advantage and make those moves early on and get by Dixon and all those guys as quickly as possible. We made some dive bombs to get there. I’m so happy to have this Verizon Chevy up there. I honestly didn’t expect it.
“We just have to keep doing the same thing this year, finishing near to top. We have to qualify better, it will make it a lot easier on us during the race. But this team is working hard. We had better tires near the end and great strategy. I’m just trying to enjoy this as I go along. I’ve been here 17 years. Ready for Indy.”