CHEVROLET RACING IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
TEAM CHEVY RACE #1 RECAP
JOSEF NEWGARDEN PUTS CHEVROLET IN VICTORY LANE AT IOWA RACE #1
CHEVROLET DRIVERS CAPTURED TOP-FOUR FINISHING POSITIONS
NEWTON, IOWA (July 23, 2022) – Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, was highly motivated to win after losing the pole to his teammate Will Power, No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet, earlier today so the two-time NTT INDYCAR Series’ champion took the lead for the final time on lap 80 and never looked back.
He out-ran fellow Team Chevy driver Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet and Power to claim his fourth victory at Iowa Speedway, his fourth win of the season and 24th of his career.
Newgarden jumped to 2nd in the points, just 15 points behind the leader with Power close behind just seven points behind Newgarden.
Today’s win was the 8th of the season for Chevrolet and 104 wins with the Chevrolet 2.2 liter twin turbocharged direct injected V6 engine. Chevrolet continues to lead the Manufacturer Championship standings 922 to 842 points.
Earlier today in qualifying for both races for the Hy-Vee Doubleheader weekend, Power captured the pole for both races scoring his 65th and 66th pole of his career, one away of tying the great Mario Andretti. Newgarden will start alongside power for Race #2 setting up the same scenario as today’s start with Chevrolet locking in the front row.
O’Ward claimed the runner-up position and Power finished third to sweep the podium for Team Chevy. Finishing fourth with a very strong run was Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Bitcoin Racing with Bitnile Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.
Chevrolet will serve as the official pace car with a Corvette Stingray Coupe leading the field to green.
Chevrolet and the NTT INDYCAR Series return to Iowa Speedway with two races: Race #2- the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday and will air live on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network. Live timing and scoring will be available at racecontrol.indycar.com.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO.2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, STARTD 2ND, RACE WINNER:
I WOULD SAY THAT WAS A PRETTY SWEET DAY HERE IN IOWA
“I am glad I wore this cool shirt, because it was nice and easy. To be honest with you, I felt nice and cool today and this car was good. I was surprised at how hard these guys were pushing on these restarts. You know, this was a long game day and I think (Pato) O’Ward definitely looked like he was the toughest competitor today to beat. But I am really proud of our team and obviously Hitachi and Team Chevy showed up with a really good piece. I was disappointed after qualifying because I just hate losing them because I felt like we had enough to get the job done and we didn’t. That motivated me because I knew we had a car here today to win this race and in front of this great crowd. Unbelievable job by Hy-Vee, you know they are throwing concerts all weekend and they are doing everything they can amenity-wise for people out here. So, this has been a great event and its one of my favorite tracks. To be able to win here again, it’s always very special.”
JOSEF, YOU TOLD ME “WE ARE IN THE GAME FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP”. YOU GAINED SOME POINTS TODAY, YOU ARE LOOKING STRONG, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT NOW?
“I feel good. We have been in the game, just not where we want to be in the game. I think if we were ahead by a good bit, that would be a lot better position to be in at this point of the year. But you know, we are in the fight, and we are relatively there and we just have to find out how to have more consistency. We are either winning or going sideways on our weekend. I know we can do better than this. Its not that we haven’t been doing good, I just know consistently we can do better than what we have been doing. We will get there, and I always have faith every weekend that I show up with Team Penske.”
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN SP CHEVROLET, STARTED 4TH, FINISHED 2ND:
YOU SAID TO STAY IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP, IT HAS TO BE WIN OR BUST. THAT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE ALMOST HEADED TO WIN. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE DAY?
“Yeah, I mean, I was pushing Josef (Newgarden) there in the end, but we didn’t quite have it. I have to say the car was really good and we didn’t start off the day as strong, but we kept making the car better and better every single stint. There in the end, I think we just took a little bit out of it by getting by Will (Power), getting by Alex (Palou), and getting by the lappers to try and catch the No. 2. So, we will see what we can make better for tomorrow, but the car was really good. P2 is really good for where we are in the championship and for the weekend and tomorrow, I think we start eighth. That won’t be an issue because it’s all about having a good race car here. I have to thank Arrow, Mission, and Team Chevy. It’s good to be here and I am excited for tomorrow.”
WITH THE OVERNIGHT, WILL YOU HAVE A WAY TO MAKE IT BETTER FOR TOMORROW INCLUDING MAYBE THE RESTART GEAR?
“Yeah, I knew they were playing games on the restart, but then I found a way to do it without losing any ground. At first, we lost a little bit of ground to Marcus (Ericsson), but we will be better tomorrow.”
WILL POWET, NO. 12 VERIZON 5G TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, STARTED POLE, FINISHED 3RD:
WHAT CAN YOU THINK OF THAT YOU CAN WORK ON YOUR TEAMMATE HARDER FOR TOMORROW?
“Yeah, we were definitely strong there before it went yellow. Then on that next restart I had to push so hard to keep guys behind that I had a couple of good yaw moments and the rear just never recovered. I ended up maxed out on my tools, so that was just a matter of pushing. I mean it was either lose positions or really push in the dirty air of Josef. I was really stoked to be third for like hanging on like that. Man, the tires are so gone at the end its crazy. Its kind of fun because you slide these things a lot, but yeah it was a good effort for the Chevy Verizon 5G car. Another top three and you never look back on those as a bad day, so a good day.”
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 BITCOIN RACING WITH BITNILE ED CARPENTER RACING, STARTED 8TH, FINISHED 4TH
“It was pretty hard out there with the high temperatures. I struggled a lot to run the high line and it would have been a lot nicer if I could play up there. But that last long stint, I could really save the tires and capitalize on other people’s mistakes. I almost got Will (Power), we were sideways coming to the checkered flag! Tough to just miss out on a podium, but I am very happy. We did everything well, the only issue was a little hold up in pit lane with (Jack) Harvey coming in while I was going out, but that happens at tracks like this. We did well, I am happy. On to tomorrow, let’s get that podium, yeet!”
CALLUM ILOTT, NO. 77 JUNCOS HOLLINGER CHEVROLET, STARTED 22ND, FINISHED 12TH:
KYLE KIRKWOOD, NO. 14 SEXTON PROPERTIES TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET. STARTED 24TH, FINISHED 15TH:
“Definitely, I think a solid day considering where we started P24 to P15. That’s a nine position gain and our car was really good late in stints. I think the way the race kind of played out if it was a lot more green running, we would have looked even better. But with all the cautions and people going to new tires very quickly put us in a position that we’re always on new tires and fresh tires. And then at the end we made hay, we passed I think I think five cars right at the end just because we went longer on a stint and our car stayed with it for a longer period. So that’s definitely good to know, for tomorrow, because if it stays a lot more green, we’ll probably be looking better from our better starting position in 20th.”
CONOR DALY, NO. 20 BITNILE ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, STARTED 3RD. FINISHED 19TH:
“It’s obviously not how we wanted the day to go. We started off quick, but the tires just go off so aggressively all race long. It was a tough situation for us, just really hard to keep the grip underneath us. We’ll try to make some changes for tomorrow. Obviously, we have a quick car on new tires, but we need to elongate that. Really, really tough day, but thankfully we have another race tomorrow where we start up front.”
DALTON KELLETT. NO.4 L-LINE TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, STARTED 26TH, FINISHED 20TH: “It was good to move up a few spots from starting on the last row to bring it home 20th for the No.4 K-Line Chevrolet so that was a good progression four day. I think overall we’re okay on pace and at the start of the run and the first third of the stand but it really seems like we’re abusing the rear tires and just making it pretty tough to hang on towards the end so we’ll have to figure out what we can do to kind of keep the tires under us longer in the stint. We went 78 laps on tires in that last and I was hanging on for dear life for the last 30 or 40 laps. So that’s a key factor here is how long you keep it underneath you without really losing the front or the rear end too much for us. We’re losing the rear so we’ll have to see what we can do to kind of protect those rears a little bit.”
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 FREIGHTLINER TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, STARTED 5TH, FINISHED 22ND:
“A pretty unfortunate day for the No. 3 Freightliner Chevy team. We were running pretty strong, and the car was feeling good, and then end up with a loose wheel after a pit stop. That took us out of contention, but we still finished and got some points. Overall, it could have been a lot better day, but we build as a team and this will make us stronger.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 33 ALZAMED NEURO ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, STARTED 19TH, FINISHED 25th INVOLVED IN SINGLE CAR INCIDENT ON LAP 164:
“That was a difficult race. We really just struggled to get the right balance on the Alzamend Neuro car all day. Started loose, then too much understeer. I am not totally sure what happened when I lost it. There were times we had good pace we just need to make a few changes to get the balance in a better window for tomorrow. Luckily Rinus (VeeKay) had a pretty good day, we went with a little different set up than him today. We are hoping for a big rebound tomorrow.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST, NO. 7 VUSE ARROW MCLAREN SP CHEVROLET, STARTED 11TH, FINISHED 26TH :INVOLVED IN SINGLE CAR INCIDENT ON LAP 110 – “I was pretty free from the beginning and pretty early I was very conservative with my tools. I mentioned I was maxed out and I tried to hang out with the rest of the stent that were actually running pretty well. We weren’t slow but it was just very free. I just thought I could hang on but it just caught me out. I tried to hang on to it, but yeah, just a shame I feel for the guys having to to repair it. Hopefully we can get it done fairly well for tomorrow, but its not ideal. But yeah, it happens. It’s it’s tough out there. It’s I’ll get the balance completely right. It is very tough to keep on track. So tomorrow, we’ll see if we can get a better run in race number two.”
THE MODERATOR: Joined by second- and third-place finishing drivers. Pato O’Ward comes home second place, and Will Power comes home third.
Pato, open us up with your thoughts on the day.
PATO O’WARD: Yeah, really solid points day for us today. I thought we had a little bit more for Josef in the end. He was really strong. All Penske cars were extremely strong.
It was all about what can we do different to them to be able to just have a shot at getting by them. I had to use my tires a bit much. I think Will was on the same train battling with me and Palou, Marcus. So I think we used up our tires a little bit more than what Josef did. He had a little bit more to give in the end.
Yeah, I was happy with my car. Didn’t really start off very good. We were just extremely, extremely loose. As we saw in the 7 car, unfortunate. Yeah, glad Felix is okay. We need to see what we can do better for tomorrow to not have that because it took a lot of pit stops to get it into a window where we could actually attack rather than just being a little bit of a passenger.
Yeah, really happy with our day.
THE MODERATOR: Will, your thoughts on the podium and the battle you had with your teammate throughout the day today?
WILL POWER: It was a good battle. Last restart is what hurt me the most, trying to keep guys behind. Had a couple of big yaw moments on the rear tire early. Pounded on that rear too much to stay ahead. Then went loose, really loose. I had some big saves.
I was happy to end up third actually. I was thinking we might fall back a bit further. Some good lessons in there for tomorrow. But it is difficult when you get attacked. You can’t do much. You want to be the leader because you’re in clean air, so much easier to conserve your tires up there.
Yeah, kind of a second-gear restart, that was a mistake. That’s what Josef got me. I should have been smarter on that.
PATO O’WARD: I did that too, mate. Retweet.
WILL POWER: It’s real life, it’s not Twitter (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Traffic was crazy all day today. 772 total on-track passes this afternoon, 372 were for position.
We’ll open it up for questions.
Q. Will, after starting from the pole, are you disappointed with third?
WILL POWER: No. You never look back on a day when finishing third is a bad thing. There’s a few things I could have done a little better, been a bit more aggressive with the tools in the car to make sure the rear wouldn’t go off.
I felt like we had a strong car. I was a bit conservative at the start, not attacking as much as Josef was. Then when we had the restart and I was starting to attack Josef, that’s when I started to be a bit more aggressive and felt a bit stronger.
Yeah, good day. Third’s good points every time.
Q. Speaking of points, the championship race keeps changing. There’s five drivers separated by 59 points. How do you think this is going to play out?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, Newgarden has four wins, probably five tomorrow, unless I can do something.
PATO O’WARD: Don’t be so negative.
WILL POWER: Go ahead, try to beat him, man.
PATO O’WARD: I tried today (laughter).
WILL POWER: Yeah, well, I’m going to try to beat him tomorrow. So is Pato.
But, yeah, it’s still close. It’s just if you keep finishing in that top four, you’re going to be right there. At some point it’s going to be clear who are the real contenders. Maybe this goes all the way to the wire, five guys.
PATO O’WARD: What he said, yeah (smiling).
Q. Pato, were you battling something with restarts with the gearing?
PATO O’WARD: Yeah, Josef had different gearing to us. I’m pretty sure he was aware of that. So the team told me to do a certain thing, which I did. It was pretty horrendous and we got passed by two guys, I think.
In the next one I did the opposite, and it worked. Yeah, it’s hard to say, right? You don’t know who’s going to be leading you. You don’t know if you’re going to be the one leading. Obviously you’re going to do the best for whatever is your pattern, gearbox pattern.
But, yeah, we only let it catch us out once. I think Will did, as well.
Q. Is that something you have to address for tomorrow?
PATO O’WARD: No. I mean, maybe yes or no. It just really depends on how bad it was. I just think knowing now what to do, it’s really not too big of an issue, I guess.
Q. Will, yesterday you said Marcus was the best driver in the series.
WILL POWER: Yeah.
Q. Today he starts 12th, gets all the way up to second. Do you see today why he’s going to be tough as the points leader?
WILL POWER: There was an example of him racing really hard. It hurt the overall finish for him because I was trying to save my tires knowing how long that stint was going to be. Those guys are attacking so hard that they are just going to fall back with someone sitting there conserving the second half of the stint.
Yeah, he’s tough on restarts. He’s a very, very good racer.
Q. Tomorrow’s race is 50 laps longer, but the temperature will be about 15 degrees cooler.
WILL POWER: 15 degrees, I’ll take that, even for 50 laps (smiling).
PATO O’WARD: Yeah, it will definitely be nicer on the deg, on the car. I think it will be a little bit friendlier.
Q. Even though he never made it all the way up to where you guys were, Jimmie had a pretty good race for most of the day. It shows he’s pretty good on ovals.
PATO O’WARD: Yeah, I think he’s doing a phenomenal job in the ovals. In Texas, where I had my issues, I got to follow him for a bit. I thought it was really, really cool to see him explore in areas where no one else was exploring. He was making the car work in areas where no one else was. I think that’s why he was so strong.
I think that NASCAR experience paid off in how those guys are just continuing to explore and see where the grip is. For us, I guess sometimes if you go off of what you know, it can be a big price to pay.
But, yeah, it was really cool to see that he was kind of thinking outside the box versus everybody else. Yeah, I think he’s just going to keep getting better and better.
Q. I would like to know, you got a message for your Latino fans that live in Iowa? What can they expect for tomorrow’s race?
PATO O’WARD: Yeah, I got to see quite a bit of you guys today. Hopefully I get to see more of you tomorrow. Come check it out. I think it’s really worth mentioning what Hy-Vee and what Penske have done for this weekend. It’s really, really cool to see. I’ve never seen Iowa this way.
I think their approach to everything has been phenomenal. I think it’s the approach that everybody else in every single event in the INDYCAR schedule should be like. So I think we can learn a lot about this weekend and how well they’ve done it.
THE MODERATOR: Will, we’ll let you go.
WILL POWER: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll continue with questions for Pato.
Q. Pato and Josef, strong day for Chevy. Did you guys on track think you had an advantage with that engine than the Honda guys? Seemed like you did.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Oh, yeah. No, I don’t know. I always feel very good with a Chevy behind me, don’t you?
PATO O’WARD: Yes, yes, yes.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I mean, look, they’ve delivered this year on all accounts. Chevy power, durability, performance, it’s always there for us.
Q. What burgers were you talking about?
PATO O’WARD: We were just talking about…
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Shake Shack would be good.
THE MODERATOR: Wahlberg’s. There’s one in Newton, right here.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I’m now very excited.
PATO O’WARD: Double-double. Let’s go.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Love Mark Wahlberg’s.
Q. (No microphone.)
PATO O’WARD: It was wonderful. The worst part is the first two minutes. After that, whew, you’re chilling.
Q. (No microphone.)
PATO O’WARD: You wanted to see more, didn’t you? Sneaky (laughter).
Q. (No microphone.)
PATO O’WARD: Naughty girl.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Pato. We’ll see you back here tomorrow.
PATO O’WARD: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Josef Newgarden, with four wins at this great oval.
Congratulations. We’ll continue with questions for Josef.
Q. At the start it looked like you and Will came together. Did you discuss that or do you have an understanding of what happened here?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Came together?
Q. (No microphone.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I didn’t feel that. Probably wasn’t big. I think we probably just got close. I got a really good jump beside him. But, no, I don’t think it was too big. Then he got away. I was just kind of letting him do his thing for the first 20 laps, then we tried to pick it up after that. Yeah, I don’t think it was a big deal.
Q. What is the context of the four wins within the team? Is it easier to motivate your guys because they’ve got the knowledge you’re able to go out and win four races or is it more difficult because you’ve won four races and you’re not leading the championship?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s been a frustrating year in some regards. But it’s been tempered with great results. I mean, to your point, we’ve had four wins. I feel like we’ve showed up at most of these weekends capable of winning the race.
Fortunately four of them have worked out pretty nicely. But, yeah, it’s either working out like that or it’s just going sideways to some degree. I don’t know that I want to put that on any one specific thing. It’s been kind of bad timing in a lot of respects this year. Mid-Ohio was bad timing, qualifying and the race. Toronto we had bad qualifying with P2 going out, hampered qualifying. Bad positions on the pit stop. Even the pit cycle before that was bad timing on when we pit.
I don’t really think it’s anyone’s fault. I don’t think we have a problem in any part of the team. For whatever reason, we have odd timing on most of these weekends. The other weekends where there is no odd timing, we win the race. I think if we could find the middle ground there, we’d be handily in the points lead. We can’t seem to find that balance right now.
You have to be careful trying to find it. We can’t change much. It’s just the way it is. 2018 was similar to this year, we won three races, finished fifth in the championship. We had four poles, super good. We were either winning the race or something weird was happening.
Q. You won the second race here in 2020. The first race you were seething that you didn’t win that race. A caution or something…
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I mean, should have. Got screwed by the caution basically. We were out front. Yeah, so I was seething. I was pretty upset. It’s one of those timing things we’re talking about. You can’t control that stuff. Yellows sometimes completely bite you and you can’t point your finger or yell at anybody. Wrong place, wrong time. That was one of those races.
Q. Everybody says you’re the unquestioned favorite. When you come here, is there more pressure on you to make sure you back it up the way you did today? Now does it shift for tomorrow where maybe you demoralized the field and the pressure is off?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think it gets harder every year I come here. ’16 we won the race, I felt like we demolished the field. It was like taking candy from a baby. It was stupid.
Every year since it’s just gotten harder. Feels like everyone is figuring it out. You can’t have a mega advantage on somebody forever. They slowly start to figure it out.
You can see it with Will. Will has figured out how to finesse this place. Obviously there’s a certain style, a certain technique everywhere we go that you find success with.
Scott is the same way. I think McLaughlin was picking up on what I was doing around here. Not just those guys, I look at Pato. Pato was not easy to beat today. We put the hammer down with 20 or 30 to go. Before that he was coming like a freight train at 30 laps to go. I was like, Who is this McLaren coming up on me. I was asking for feedback on that because he kind of snuck up on me.
I don’t feel like it’s an easy beat-down anymore. If we mis-step, we’ll get beat. That will happen tomorrow if we are not on our game. I don’t feel like we have an advantage anymore.
Q. Yesterday Will Power said he thinks Marcus is the best racer in the series right now. Knowing that you’re battling him for the championship, what is your assessment of how strong he appeared today? Did he show something as the points leader?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I think he’s done a great job obviously. How could you not say so, right? He’s doing a tremendous job.
He’s kind of just been level. There’s not a lot of flash to him. I would say even less so than Palou. Palou to me is like the best non-flash driver. That guy is super well-rounded, does everything well. There’s nothing much to him. You’re not seeing a lot of spark.
Ericsson is like a step below that. I would put him like maybe below Palou. They’re just having a good run. They’re doing a great job. Obviously they have a great team. You can’t do it alone in this series, they’re a great team at Chip Ganassi Racing. It’s a great combination for them.
He’s not going to be easy to beat. If he keeps doing what he’s doing, that can win championships. It’s great to win four races. Our boring days we need to be finishing second or third. We just can’t seem to do that right now. When we figure that out, I think we’ll be in the mix, we’ll be just fine.
Q. I asked the others about the championship race, how they see it playing out. Will said you’ll probably win tomorrow and take the points lead. Pato said he’s going to try to beat you. There’s five of you separated by 59 points. How do you think this is going to play out?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think it’s been very entertaining from a fan standpoint. No one is getting away from anybody. We’re all together. So that’s exciting.
Typically this is what’s been happening the last couple years in INDYCAR, it’s always gone down to the finale. You always have a couple horses in the race at least.
I don’t know how it’s going to play out, I really don’t. Someone could go on a streak. It could keep going up and down. That’s kind of what’s happening right now. It’s so competitive that you have people sort of winning, then having a bad weekend, then you have guys like Ericsson who is in the middle and level. So no one’s getting away.
It’s impossible to predict. I have no idea. Someone could just go on a super streak, and maybe not. But tomorrow is not a given, I can tell you that. I think we have a good car and we did a good job today, but that does not guarantee tomorrow’s race. It will be just as difficult as today. Cooler, absolutely. Hallelujah.
Q. (Question about pit crew.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Kyle Lapierre (phonetic), my left front, about died two days ago. He was mowing his lawn, got attacked by a hornets net. Was in the hospital 24 hours ago. Got released. I don’t know how he got here and pitted my car, but he did. That dude almost died 48 hours ago. He was ready to rock. Doesn’t care about 100-degree heat. You ask me about my pit crew: Kyle La peer, what a champion.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: He looked great. He pitted that car just fine. Write that. We should be singing Kyle Lapierre’s praises. They’re all excellent. Typically when I go into the pits, I know I’m either going to maintain or gain. That is an asset that you cannot — you can’t second-guess that. It’s certainly something that you – what’s the right word – you just can’t undervalue that. It is so critical to win these races in the pits. My team performs every time, as well as Will’s.
Like I was talking about with Ericsson, you don’t win these championships alone, you don’t perform the way he’s performed alone. You’re normally backed up by a great team. I’ve always had great confidence that we have the best team out there. It makes a big difference to win these places, absolutely.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I don’t know. We’ve got to come up with something for Kyle.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: He is the Hornet now from now on. That’s his nickname. I was blown away by the story. I showed up. Kyle is in the hospital, he almost died. What? He’s still coming, though, don’t worry. I was like, Why? Stay home. Love that guy.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yes, yes. It wasn’t like one. He got swarmed.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, right? A.J. has almost died twice by killer bees.
THE MODERATOR: Among other things.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah.
That was the last time they did that.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think that was like their cousins.
THE MODERATOR: Cousins in Texas.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Seeking revenge. We’ll finish you, A.J.
Q. How was traffic today? Seemed to be quite an issue.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: How was the track?
THE MODERATOR: Traffic.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: No, the traffic was I would say normal. It’s always tough around here in Iowa. You’ve got to be really good in and out of traffic. Today was the same thing. I saw more dropoff today, though, than perhaps 2020. Being a day race makes that very different.
But it’s the name of the game. Keeping after the tires and your adjustments to keep after the tires, being able to get through traffic, those are the two ingredients you need to win here at Iowa. It will be the same tomorrow. Even with cooler conditions, it will be the same deal.
Q. What about the momentum going into tomorrow? How excited are you for the race tomorrow?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, very excited. I mean, I love this place. I mean, not just because we’re good here. Obviously that makes it better, but it’s a really fun track to race at. You have two lanes to run on, sometimes three. That’s abnormal for us in a lot of ovals we go to. It’s the most exciting race we get to partake in in INDYCAR from an oval standpoint. Excited to have two of them.
Q. You sounded a little nervous over the radio when Pato was closing up to you. Did you think you had the tires to hold on?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I was nervous with Pato there. I noticed him coming up. I thought I had a good gap on everybody about 30, 35 to go. Then I just noticed this McLaren coming on very strong in my mirrors. He snuck up on me at that point. That’s why I radioed in. Is this guy on our strategy? Is he on the same tires? Looked like he was on fresher tires when I was seeing him in the mirrors.
I was concerned at that point. I just tried to pick up my pace, make sure I could get through traffic a little bit quicker. Then we were fortunately able to sort of run away from him.
I don’t know if we can continue to do that tomorrow. He looked pretty good to me. So we’ve just got to really look at it tonight, see what we can improve on, see what the weather conditions do for us, make this thing a little bit better.
Q. (Question about points.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I approach every race the same. If there’s an opportunity to win, we’re going for the win. We’re trying to maximize our capabilities every weekend. When you’re doing that, you’re not aiming to make a mistake or put the car in a compromising position.
It’s the same every day. If we have an opportunity with a winning car to win the race, we’re going to go for that. If it’s not there, we aren’t forcing that. We need to maximize what the potential is.
Q. How did you manage to hold your nerve chased by everyone? What were the keys to defend your position?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It was very tough. I was quite surprised at how aggressive Will and Marcus were on the restarts. I just thought that was the wrong approach, quite honestly. Today was going to be a long game. You needed to be long on the tires, needed to be able to look after them. They were so aggressive on the restarts just to get track position. I think it ended up hurting them in the long run.
I just tried to stay in front. I tried to position myself where they would struggle to get by. Fortunately it was good enough today to manage them and hold them back.
Q. What do you think you can improve for tomorrow’s race?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think we could still make our balance better. I was up and down today. I made probably a bad adjustment in the middle of the race that we fortunately got back into the car, at least half of it. We can be better balance-wise across the stint.
It really is a balance of how you manage the tires. If you’re too aggressive on the restarts, you’re running too much front grip, you wear the rears out, and vice versa, if you’re not aggressive enough to keep the fronts working, then you just start plowing understeer. Either way you can really lose the car if you lose the front or rear aggressively with tire degradation.
Yeah, I think we can tune it up a little bit better. We just need to make the right calls for a cooler track temp, see what’s going to be right for those conditions versus today.
Q. You said on TV you were real motivated by not winning the pole. Is that really accurate?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Unfortunately I get so annoyed these days when we miss it. I hate it. I hate losing. It’s not that I want to be a sore loser, but I’m so competitive that it is frustrating to me when we don’t execute perfectly.
It’s impossible to execute perfectly all the time. That’s the way my mind works, is that we should be able to do that. So I was very motivated to get the race win just because I knew we had a pole-capable car and we didn’t get that done. I wanted to at least finish off the race, which is the more important bit. But it’s also fun to win poles.
THE MODERATOR: There is another $10,000 for the People Ready.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: They’re going to love that. Serious fun. Wags & Walks, they’re going to love that, absolutely.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Josef Newgarden.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports