Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Recap
Track: Streets of Nashville
Race: Music City Grand Prix
Date: August 7, 2022
No. 2 PPG Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Laps Led: 12
Point Standings: 4th (-22)
Race Rundown: Hometown favorite Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet team battled through several chaotic laps around the Streets of Nashville course to nab a sixth-place finish on Sunday afternoon in the Music City Grand Prix. The race got off to a clean start following a lengthy weather delay for severe thunderstorms in the Nashville area. After dropping to 14th in the running order following his first pit stop of the day – along with dodging an incident on lap 27 – race strategist Tim Cindric called his driver down pit road on lap 39, which resulted in a different pit strategy from the rest of the field. The varying strategy got Newgarden into the lead on lap 65, and a caution soon after allowed the No. 2 Chevy team to make their final pit stop under the yellow flag. From there, the two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion crossed the finish line in the sixth position.
Newgarden’s Thoughts: “I’m a little frustrated honestly. It felt like we got bullied around a couple of times and the strategy just didn’t go in our favor. It was a hard-fought day and I’m really proud of the team effort. Everyone with PPG and Team Chevy did a great job – we just can’t seem to get enough breaks this year. We’ve had a lot of success – we’ve had wins but we need a few more of these races to favor us a little bit on the strategy. We’ll move on from here. We’ve got great potential to keep fighting for the championship, along with our teammates, and hopefully we can get it done this year.”
No. 3 DEX Imaging Dallara/Chevrolet – Scott McLaughlin
Laps Led: 22
Point Standings: 6th (-58)
Race Rundown: Scott McLaughlin consistently had one of the fastest cars all weekend at the Music City Grand Prix and he delivered a strong runner-up result in the No. 3 DEX Imaging Chevrolet on Sunday afternoon. After winning his second-career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole position Saturday and establishing a new team record with his 61st career pole for Team Penske, McLaughlin continued to produce on Sunday. He led the first 22 laps of the race, only surrendering the lead when he made his first trip to pit lane. He continued to work his way back up front with different pit strategies playing out in a race that featured eight caution flags. On a lap 41 restart, McLaughlin advanced from fourth to second within four laps, with some impressive driving on the tight and technical street circuit. During the caution period on lap 52, McLaughlin made his second trip to pit lane and, after a challenging stop, the DEX Imaging Chevy took the race restart in 15th place. McLaughlin continued to work his way back up the running order, however, advancing to seventh by lap 60 and with 13 laps remaining in the 80-lap race, he had moved back inside the top five. McLaughlin continued to hunt down the cars in front of him and after the final incident of the day with four laps remaining, he was positioned in second place behind race leader Scott Dixon. After a red flag halted the action to set up a two-lap shootout to the finish, McLaughlin put pressure on Dixon over the final two laps before bringing home a runner-up result in the No. 2 DEX Imaging Chevy. The strong performance saw McLaughlin jump up to sixth in the series championship standings, now 58 points behind series leader and teammate Will Power.
McLaughlin’s Thoughts: “It is a bummer to come up one spot short, but I’m so proud of this No. 3 DEX Imaging Chevy team. This DEX car has been very good to us this year and we had a car that could have won this race. If this was an 81 or 82-lap race I think we would have made it past Dixon, but it was only 80 laps. We were alongside there across the finish line. But man, we were 16th on that last pit exchange and had an awesome restart, and then the car was fast. Just fell short at the end. Congrats to Scotty. Always dreamed of racing him to the finish. That was a proper duel.”
No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings: 1st (+6)
Race Rundown: Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet team overcame an incident that damaged their gearbox to finish 11th in Sunday’s Music City Grand Prix on the Streets of Nashville. Power – the 2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion – continues to lead the series standings by six points with three races remaining. Following a weather delay of nearly an hour-and-a half, Power was one of a handful of drivers that elected to start the race on the black Firestone primary tires before switching to the new, green alternate tire on the team’s first pit stop at Lap 24. Just after going green following the pit stop, Power was hit from the rear by the No. 5 of Pato O’Ward that damaged the gearbox slightly but allowed Power to continue. Unfortunately, the issue reared its head on the second pit stop of the day as Power was slow to launch from his pit stall, and it hampered him on restarts while going through the gears. However, he was able to soldier on and nearly grab a top-10 finish on the day.
Power’s Thoughts: “Yeah, it’s shame we weren’t able to get a better finish today. We had a very fast Verizon 5G Chevy all weekend and we did the best we could but we got hit from behind early on and had issues with the gearbox the rest of the race. It’s the tough part of close street racing sometimes and it definitely hurt us today. It’s good to still come out of here with the points lead and we’ll get back at it and be ready for Gateway.”