CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
GMR GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS
ROAD COURSE AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING RECAP
MAY 1, 2022
WILL POWER PUTS CHEVY ON POLE FOR GMR GP AT INDY ROAD COURSE
NTT P1 AWARD IS 64TH OF POWER’S CAREER
INDIANAPOLIS – Team Chevy completed the first step of the month of May with five drivers earning spots in the Firestone Fast Six and Team Penske driver Will Power capturing his 64th NTT P1 Award. The driver of the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet will lead the field to green for Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix on the Indy Road Course.
Today’s pole is the first for Power this season and his sixth on the Road Course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On Saturday, Power will go for his sixth victory on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course layout as Chevrolet looks to collect its 100th win with the 2.2 little twin turbocharged direct injected V6 purpose-built engine used exclusively in the NTT INDYCAR Series.
The remaining four Team Chevy drivers in the Firestone Fast Six will start as follows:
Josef Newgarden, No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet 3rd
Conor Daly, No. 20 BitNile Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 4th
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet 5th
Felix Rosenqvist, No. 7 VUSE Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet 6th
Alex Palou will start second alongside Power.
Chevrolet and the NTT INDYCAR Series continue the 2022 season at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 14 from the Indianapolis Road Course. 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
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON 5G CHEVROLET, TEAM PENSKE – POLE WINNER: “That is the fun of this series. It’s so tight. When you get a pole these days, you know you’ve done a really good job. The team has done a great job. I’m super stoked. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a pole on a road course. Yeah man, I worked hard for that one!”
YOU’RE THREE SHORT OF MARIO ANDRETTI’S RECORD OF CAREER POLES: “I feel so privileged to get so close to him. I never thought I’d get there. Yes, three away… he’s an absolute legend of the sport. It would be such an honor to match or surpass him. To be up there with names like Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt is something I wouldn’t have imagined when I started my career.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 PPG CHEVROLET, TEAM PENSKE – QUALIFIED THIRD: “It was a good day here at the GP of Indy and qualifying day at IMS. We qualified P3 and our teammate Will Power is on the pole, which is fantastic. I feel a little bad because I felt like our car was capable of winning the pole. We missed it by literally half-a-tenth so I’ll put that on me. I didn’t get everything out of the car. It was really capable and everyone did a great job. The strategy was right. Now we can focus on tomorrow. We’ve got two cars in the top-three. We’ll see if we can race from there with PPG and Team Chevy.”
CONOR DALY, NO. 20 BITNILE CHEVROLET, ED CARPENTER RACING – QUALIFIED FOURTH: “In the previous run, we had just given up a little bit out of Turn 13 and we finally nailed it. We were up on our best lap. The tires are going off pretty quick here so you have to nail it on that first lap. We tried to get a little too much from it. You’re fighting for a tenth-of-a-second around here. Being two-tenths off Will Power for a pole position at Indianapolis, he’s one of the best to do it here. It feels great. This team has done a lot of work and I don’t think they’ve gotten the credit they deserve so far this year. We’ve not had a great start to the season but there’s a lot that hasn’t been their fault or our fault at all as a group. This is where we want to be moving forward and it’s a great way to start May, for sure.”
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 McLAREN VUSE CHEVROLET, ARROW McLAREN RACING SP – QUALIFIED FIFTH: “We had a very good day today. We didn’t quite get it done in the Firestone Fast Six. We were as quick as anybody on fresh reds but we missed it a little bit on used reds. I think we could have been a bit faster but in the end, we didn’t have enough for pole. I’m happy that we are starting toward the front, that’s important in IndyCar. I’m also happy to have Felix up there with me. We are going to look to have a good race tomorrow.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST, NO. 7 McLAREN VUSE CHEVROLET, ARROW McLAREN RACING SP – QUALIFIED SIXTH: “It’s a good qualifying streak for the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. It’s always frustrating when your last lap isn’t good, I screwed it up in the last corner. It felt like we were really good on the new tires but we took a lot of life out of them. I think we had a little bit more today but it was another solid qualifying, which is what we need. It will be fun.”
CALLUM ILOTT, NO. 77 DYNAMIC EDGE CHEVROLET, JUNCOS HOLLINGER RACING – STARTING SEVENTH: “I knew it was going to be close, so it’s a bit of a shame but overall that was a much more rewarding run. I tried everything. We made a mega effort. I just drive at the end of the day, and that’s what I’m paid to do. Where we’ve come from, it’s more about putting it together and building the team together. It’s the small differences in getting it right. We’ve got a good road-course guys. These guys put together a mega effort to make it happen but there’s still a lot more to come. I think we’ve only just started the development. Hopefully we can do a bit more later on.”
FIRST TEST WITH THE TEAM AT INDY LAST YEAR AND RUNNING A SPORTS CAR RACE IN THE FALL: “You can get an idea about how to race around here in a GT car, although it’s massively different. That was a long race and this one will be more of a sprint. We’ve got a lot to learn. The race pace is something we need to improve quite a bit. The first stint at Barber was really good, so we’ll see here.”
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 SNAP-ON CHEVROLET, TEAM PENSKE – QUALIFIED 11TH: “The Snap-On Chevy felt awesome. I just made one mistake on that first lap on red tires. That’s key and that’s everything. We did two laps there and the second lap wasn’t fast enough. It’s so tight that you can’t afford to let go of that. It’s unfortunate for Snap-On and Team Chevy but I think we have a fast car. It might rain tomorrow so we’ll see. You’re always trying to get every inch but you get punished more if you miss it. That’s the beauty of IndyCar racing. It’s so competitive I’m upset but I also know we have a fast car. It’s just a matter of putting it together. Unfortunately this time we didn’t but we’ll keep pressing on and be proud of where we’re at.”
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 BUILDING TOMORROW CHEVROLET, ED CARPENTER RACING – QUALIFIEID 15TH: “I honestly don’t know. We were fastest on the blacks by a mile in qualifying here, right now. We went to reds and I was honestly pretty happy with the car and pretty happy with my lap. I’m very confused about being eighth right now. We’ll have to look into it. I don’t know what we did wrong. There are a few little tweaks that could have been better. I have no words for it. We should have at least passed through. There are some things we have to improve for tomorrow. I don’t know what went wrong here.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 6 ARROW McLAREN SP CHEVROLET, ARROW McLAREN RACING SP – QUALIFIED 23RD: “It’s hard because we didn’t do any testing. I’ve been out of this car for a year. I’ve been racing different things but everything I’ve driving the last five years has had traction control. So you get the snaps but you know the traction control is going to catch you. Here you get the snap and nothing is going to catch it. I’m a little behind the car there, but we are making steps. The car drives a lot better than last year. Everyone with the Lucas Oil car has done a great job. I screwed up my lap on reds. I could have done a better job but it’s hard. I got one lap in practice and one lap in qualifying, and that’s all the red running before the race. We’ll have 85 laps tomorrow and we’re probably going to do 70 laps on reds.”
KYLE KIRKWOOD, NO. 14 ROKIT CHEVROLET, AJ FOYT RACING – QUALIFIED 22ND: “Not our best qualifying. We were just outside the top-20 and starting alongside Scott Dixon. The car actually felt really good. I thought we had the time in it. We were a lot better on blacks than we were on reds, and I’m not sure why that is. We’re going to go to the drawing board to figure that out. There is some weather on the way for tomorrow and we’re hoping that will shake things up. We have a great group of guys here and we’ll work to get this car back toward the pointy end of the field.”
TATIANA CALDERON, NO. 11 ROKIT CHEVROLET, AJ FOYT RACING – QUALIFIED 25TH: “It was a busy day today. We had a little issue in Free Practice One so I missed a little bit of running, but we managed to make some good steps in Free Practice Two. In qualifying, I think we are closer to the pace. Hopefully we have some good weather tomorrow and we can fight for some positions. I’m starting just behind Juan Pablo Montoya, so that’s going to be quite a good race.”
DALTON KELLETT, NO. 4 K-LINE INSULATORS CHEVROLET, AJ FOYT RACING – QUALIFIED 26TH: “A bit of a tough qualifying session for the team overall. We’re not starting where we want to but we’ve made some improvements in the cars. This has historically been somewhere where we have struggled. There are some things we can learn tomorrow and figure out. We have a warmup tomorrow to work on the car and go from there. That’s the gameplan. Last year was a bit of a red (tire) race with three stops so we’ll be working on some mileage to see what we have for race pace.”
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPTS:
THE MODERATOR: Joined by the pole setter for tomorrow’s GMR Grand Prix. 64 career poles and counting. Sixth on the IMS Road Course where he has won a total of four races from pole position here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. By the way, it’s the fifth different pole winner in 2022 for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver of the No. 12. Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Congratulations, Will. 64 and counting. How does this one feel?
WILL POWER: Pretty good. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a pole on a road course. Super stoked to get that one. As usual, it was crazy close with everyone.
If you look at practice, it was six-tenths. I think it was 23 cars, so couldn’t leave anything on the table. Any time you get a pole on this series these days, you’ve done a really good job. I think the team and everyone has put it together because any time you are leaving anything on the table, one-tenth moves you a lot of spots.
Q. Literally saving the best for last. Did you know on that final lap that maybe I’ve got what it takes to win pole here?
WILL POWER: No, I didn’t. I did my absolute best and put it all together and didn’t know where it would stack up. I just knew it was not that far off my quickest time on new tires. I thought it was a pretty good time to have done on used tires. So, yeah, it was a good lap.
Q. Will, a couple of times on the podcast I’ve asked you about a pole record, and you said that you honestly didn’t know whether you had three poles left in you to catch them. Do you really believe that, especially after a day like today where you were able to come back? I mean, that was vintage Will Power out there today.
WILL POWER: Yeah, it was. I mean, no, I don’t disbelieve it. It has become incredibly hard to get poles. It’s just a different guy each week who gets it all together, so it is hard.
It’s hard to get more than two a year. Two or three you would be doing a good job. Yep, we’ll keep chipping away. Don’t really think about it all that much. I just try to do the best I can, and I know it’s there. I know there’s that record there, but honestly, I feel pretty blessed to have got so close. I never expected to get that close, but, yeah. To be amongst Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt in pole records is something I never expected.
Q. Will, I think I’ve asked you this 100 times, but I’m going to ask it 101. What is it you summoned when it comes to running the fastest lap on a weekend? What comes over you? Can you explain to people why it’s so important to be the fastest guy on the track even though everybody else is trying to do the same thing? What do you think is special that comes over you?
WILL POWER: I’m going to say to put a really good lap together in this series there is just so much that goes into it before you even get in the car or just throughout practice and everything before you even get to qualifying, and then it’s up to you to really dig deep and put it together.
But, yeah, I mean, I originally early in my days I used to say anyone can learn to do this, but after 20 years of high-level driving or more, I don’t believe that anymore. I think you have to have some sort of fire in the belly, which you see so many drivers have that in this series now. You see it in Formula 1 and in every series. Just some guys have that whatever it is in them and some don’t.
The people that don’t may be exceptional in another area, but, yeah, it’s everything about looking at data and the video and putting all that in your mind, but then when it comes down to the nitty gritty, you’ve got to put it together, and it takes a lot of everything to do that.
Q. When did you know or notice that you had that in your career? When did you notice that you could be special in that regard especially?
WILL POWER: It’s never a point. You are digging and clawing whole career trying to stay in the right. I would say when I was in Champ Car or World Series by Renault, I was very good at putting laps together. It wasn’t really any particular time that I thought —
I’m not really any faster than I was when I was 17 years ago, honestly. I’m not. I’m the same pace. You have just added so much more to your tool box of putting things together and weekends together and knowledge of the car and setting it up. The ultimate speed in you, you see it in kids as early as go-carts. You just can pick them.
Q. I wanted to ask, on that final run we saw you a bit more than one-tenth up, and then there was a little kind of twitch, and it dropped to half one-tenth up. Did you think that it all disappeared at that point?
WILL POWER: Where was the twitch? In 7?
WILL POWER: I actually backed 7 up more to be better through 8, 9, 10, which I hadn’t been in the previous rounds. I slowed the minimum of 7 down. I probably got more of an exit, which might have been a twitch, but it was a pretty neat lap. It was pretty neat.
I can’t really fault anything on that lap. If anything, I felt like I under-drove 4 where I had struggled as well. Yeah, not really — I can’t go back to that lap and fault it anywhere.
Q. Then I wanted to ask, obviously, we saw on second lap on the reds, like in fall-off by anything up to three-tenths or whatever.
WILL POWER: Yeah.
Q. If it stays dry tomorrow and it stays hot tomorrow, is tire life going to be a major factor, or is it going to be more down to fuel?
WILL POWER: Tire life. Definitely going to be a typical race here where if you can hold to the tires a bit better, you’re going to race well.
Q. Top four all four of your races this year. Now a pole. Do you feel like you’re driving as good now as you ever have?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I’m right there. Right there. It’s so competitive these days. You can’t leave anything to chance. You can’t just rock up.
Like I said, before you ever even get to the race track let alone qualifying for the race, there’s just so much that has gone into it with simulated time, video, data, and analysis. It’s endless.
Yeah, I’m there with a lot more experience. I’m still as quick as I was. I just have so much more available if my toolbox.
Q. 64. You’re now three shy of Mario. Do you savor these now as you get them since they’re harder to come by?
WILL POWER: I do, yes. Yes, I really, really enjoy them. I know that you don’t even know if you’ll get another one, so you’ve got to be — any win or anything I get in this series now I feel very bless and happy to have got it because it’s tough. Obviously, I’m not 20 anymore either. Yep, got to keep digging.
Q. You’ve got a few rough starts to the year the past couple of years, but this year you are consistently good. Is there anything that’s different that you can pinpoint this year?
WILL POWER: Not really. I mean, man, when I look back at the previous two years, it’s just so many weird things that happened. Whether it’s a spark plug gone bad or at the 500 we had a brake issue or the car doesn’t start at Detroit. These sort of things really hampered me the last couple of years and even before that in 2021 was the same. ’20 was the same.
I just felt like if we could just put a season together of kind of not being the best, just mistake-free. Don’t have to be the quickest on pit lane. Don’t necessarily have to be the quickest on track. I feel like we could be riding the championship home.
Q. Not necessarily anything you or the team is doing differently. Just kind of working out that way?
WILL POWER: No. I’m for sure more of a mature driver. There’s no question. That’s just slowly happened over 17 years of INDYCAR, so I make less mistakes and know when to go, when not to go more than I used to. There will be a little bit of that playing into it as well.
Q. For tomorrow would you welcome the rain if it comes?
WILL POWER: It will be what it will be. I don’t mind driving in the wet. I think that the tires have been a bit iffy lately. Sometimes you get a really good set. Sometimes you don’t.
A dry race for us would be good. To start at the front, that’s what you want. A very straight forward race. Unfortunately for fans, you want a boring race. No yellows or anything. Just straight forward.
Q. Will, last year Team Penske had their issues at the 500. They spent a lot of time trying to figure out what went wrong and things like that. Put a lot more focus on it to fix it. Is it difficult to remember, hey, we still have this race to go on? We can’t focus on the big oval just yet. We still have 90 laps to run on Saturday before we look at going down this main straightaway southbound.
WILL POWER: Yeah, exactly. You don’t even give the oval a thought right now. Saturday night, that’s when you start the whole switch-over, but yeah, it’s not even a thought. We know we’ve done our homework for the oval. If we’re not quick this time, I don’t know what it would take.
Q. Is there anything you can particularly pinpoint to your success here at the road course in Indy?
WILL POWER: No. It’s a track I really enjoy. There’s nothing particular. I’ve struggled here before as well. Obviously, I’ve had a lot of good days, but definitely clicks with me. It’s quite a technical track. Very European style, which I enjoy. Yeah, nothing more.
Q. Obviously, INDYCAR have introduced these new LED light panels for the flags and stuff. What’s your thought on that?
WILL POWER: My thought? Yeah, actually, I experienced them once already. Very bright and good, yeah. Definitely a good system to adopt and hopefully that brings some more control of the yellow situations where eventually maybe they can leave the pits open or do some blue flag stuff.
Q. As you continue to rewrite the record books, I just wonder what it means inside a team such as Team Penske and what it means to Roger and Tim to have a driver of your caliber helping contribute to the history of Team Penske?
WILL POWER: Honestly, I feel so lucky to have had a career and a team like that. You are given a car week in and week out that’s capable of pole positions and race wins, so you can’t — man, I have so much appreciation for that at this late stage in my career having been in the series for so long.
I think struggling at Indy last year gives you an understanding of what some people go through all the time, and just fortunate to have a team that can have a struggle like that and go away and come back and I feel like rectified immediately just because they’re so resourceful. Just have quality people. Yep, very fortunate. Very fortunate.
Q. It’s hotter today than usual in Indy. How much of a bearing has that had on setup and keeping the tires alive?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it definitely changed the setup from this morning when it was cooler. Definitely was a lot more difficult than the two sessions. The second practice and qualifying. It changed the car quite a bit, so you had to chase that.
Q. And how important will the out lap be tomorrow, of course, not to take too much of the tire life too early?
WILL POWER: It’s going to be a tight race if it’s as hot as this tomorrow and doesn’t rain. Yeah, that always plays a bit of a part around here. I think the tires always drop off, and I think tire selection plays a big part as well. Yeah, it’s kind of tough starting up front because tire selection. You are kind of in a tough position. Especially the pole sitter.
Q. You said several things that make you sound like you’re old. You keep talking about being experienced. Also, frankly, I expected more jovial Will Power in here today.
WILL POWER: I was on the radio.
Q. Was this pole a relief or fun?
WILL POWER: It was fun. No, I was very emotional on the radio or very ecstatic. Yeah, you have to remember you have a race tomorrow. You don’t want to use up any of that. You don’t want to use too much of your mojo up just celebrating a pole position, but any time I get one these days, I’m so happy. So, so happy.
Q. Is that part of it that you have had all these poles, and you want to focus on races?
WILL POWER: I actually have focused more on races, especially this year, going into this year. Maybe the last two years. Just really perfecting how to approach a race and tire deck and all the little things that add up.
Q. It sounds like it’s more of a mental thing of not getting too excited on Saturday or Friday.
WILL POWER: I was always a bit that way. You just know how the races go. I am extremely happy. I am. It’s so difficult to get a pole these days in this series, so I am over the moon.
Even if the race doesn’t go well, I’ll come away from this weekend knowing that I added to that pole list and ticked another box for the season, you could say.
THE MODERATOR: Driver of the Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, Conor Daly, joins us after his best qualifying effort of the season starting fourth. I know you are just trying to catch your breath, Conor. How happy are you with starting fourth tomorrow, top-row finish?
CONOR DALY: It’s much nicer fighting with these guys than not. You know what I mean? As Will Power says all the time, some of the most talented drivers in the world. I truly right now.
When you have a good qualifying, especially at — this is an incredible track. I truly believe that. It’s so close. It’s insane how the gaps are so small. It’s nice to be able to just put three solid runs together.
Would have been nice to maybe be on the front row, but I just had one moment on the lap, and that’s all it takes. It’s still a great day for us.
Q. As the fastest driver most of today, were you surprised or shocked that Will was able to get it at the very end the way he did?
CONOR DALY: A lot.
Q. 64 careers.
CONOR DALY: The math is correct on that.
Q. Alex, surrounded by a lot of bow ties up front. Do you feel there’s a big difference between Honda and Chevy right now? You’re the only one in the top seven.
CONOR DALY: You’re the only one, bro.
Q. For both of you, as close as this field is and time charts and in practice, do you feel a lot of strategy is going to come into play if it stays dry?
CONOR DALY: I think it always does, right? And everyone is so close here and so competitive, so we hope to be the smartest people out there, right?
When you are this close to the front, all you need is just one lap, but whether it’s an in-lap or out-lap to kind of change your race. I hope it stays dry now that we’re starting up front. But if it’s wet, we do have less spray starting up front, so that’s nice.
CONOR DALY: Who knows?
Q. Conor, I think you qualified sixth for this race last year, eighth for the August race. What is it about the IMS Road Course that you seem to grasp so well for qualifying?
CONOR DALY: It’s a great question. The Ed Carpenter Team has a great handle on this circuit for sure. We have done a lot of work on the simulator here as well, but I’ve obviously — there’s no question I’ve struggled with this generation of car.
There’s certain places where every driver has there better tracks and their worse tracks. Apparently here I remember how to drive. I don’t know. It’s one of those things that this car here just it feels fast. You can drive it fast, and it does what I want.
So I feel like it’s been a difficult window to find at other circuits, but for whatever reason here, it suits my style more than a few other places for sure.
CONOR DALY: It is the jacuzzi, yes. That too.
CONOR DALY: Oh, man, yeah. I feel good. (Laughing).
Q. Last year your race almost ended before it really got started with the collision at turn one. Any special good luck charm or thing you’re going to try to do to keep everything away from you this year?
CONOR DALY: Who knows, man? Me and luck at this place and getting — I don’t know. It’s interesting. We’re just going to go charge down to that first corner and avoid all the other people with four tires on their car, and hopefully the people avoid me too. I don’t know. We’ll see.
You can’t hope for anything. You’ve just got to do your best to pass the guys in front of you, and I’m going to just hope that he gets a nice jump, and we can follow each other down in turn one nicely.
Q. When watch qualifying, and everybody is sliding all over the place in different spots, but then you wind up so close. That doesn’t seem like it makes any sense. You would think if everybody is slipping and sliding, you would have a big gap. How does that happen?
CONOR DALY: I think everyone is, honestly — it’s such a high level I think here that even though everyone is driving on the edge, I think everyone has realized that here you have to be on that limit to be fast.
In no way today have I ever been happy or comfortable, but that’s how you have to go fast here. You know what I mean? It’s interesting.