CHEVROLET RACING IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
BOMMARITO AUTOMOTIVE GROUP 500
WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING RECAP
AUGUST 19, 2022
MADISON, ILLINOIS (August 19, 2022) – Friday was the day Will Power worked toward throughout his stellar NTT INDYCAR Series career.
The 2014 Series champion and 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner pulled up on to the track surface from pit lane with laser focus and laid down two monster laps to capture the NTT P1 Award at World Wide Technology Raceway.
With an average speed of the 182.727 mph, the driver of the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet cemented his place in INDYCAR history by tying the legendary Mario Andretti with 67 career poles – the most in INDYCAR history.
“I would never have ever been able to do this without Verizon and Penske,” an elated Power said. “I’ve had such a fantastic career and they’ve given me such a great opportunity and I cannot thank them enough. Of course Chevrolet too because a lot of those poles were with the Chevy engine.”
To date, 42 of Power’s 67 pole positions have been in a Team Penske car powered by the Chevrolet 2.2-liter V6 INDYCAR engine.
Friday’s pole was the fourth of the season for Power, his fourth at WWT Raceway and the 11th of the season for Chevrolet in 15 events.
Marcus Ericsson (Honda) will share the front row with Power. Penske teammates Josef Newgarden, No. 2 PPG Chevrolet, and Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Odyssey Battery Chevrolet, will start from Row Two.
The Bommarito Auto Group 500 is set to start at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT. USA Network and the broadcast from INDYCAR Radio are set to come on-air at 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT.
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON 5G TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER
EARLIER THIS SEASON WILL POWER WAS SAYING ‘OH, I DON’T THINK I’M GONNA GET THERE TO TIE MARIO.’ YOU’RE THERE. YOU’VE GOT NUMBER 67.
“Amazing. And I would never have ever been able to do this without Verizon and Penske. I’ve had such a fantastic career and they’ve given me such great opportunity and I cannot thank them enough. Of course Chevrolet too because a lot of those poles were with the Chevy engine.”
DID BEING THE CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER AND BEING ABLE TO LEARN OFF YOUR TWO TEAMMATES’ RUN HELP YOU GET NUMBER 67 TODAY?
“I think the only thing was to know the laptime to go for. I’m still kind of shaking because I tried to go wide open in (turns) Three and Four. It got halfway around wide open then it wasn’t gonna make it. So I downshifted and kind of floated out toward the wall but there was nothing left on the table, put it that way. On the second lap, I was loose in One and Two then tried to go again as much as I could in Three and Four. But man… just amazing, amazing year so far. And this is a this is a big victory in a way for me to reach the 67 number and equal such a legend of the sport in Mario Andretti. I just can’t believe that I’m right there with Mario because there’s been no one like him.”
AND IT’S ANOTHER POINT ADDED TO YOUR CHAMPIONSHIP. YOU WERE RUNNING FOR CHAMPIONSHIPS EVERY YEAR FOR A DECADE EXCEPT LAST YEAR. DID YOU THINK YOU’D HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE AT THIS POINT IN YOUR CAREER TO GO FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP?
“I did. I did because we had such potential in a lot of those years. I worked very hard this year and am really good mentally and I’ve got such a good group around me this year. I mean, I’m just I love the group, the crew that I have. They’re a really good, positive group and they’re great guys. So they’re as much to do with this championship as I am… more to it.”
ON THE SUCCESS HE’S HAD THIS SEASON:
“This year. Yeah, it’s definitely something I worked on in the offseason. Just understanding the potential that I had year after year is to try and harness that and not let them go. And that’s what we’ve done. Which means at times I settled for a second position, which isn’t my favorite thing, but it is what you have to do to win a championship.”
YOU HAD A COUPLE OF WOW MOMENTS AND STILL GOT THE POLE:
“Yeah, it was. It was it was on the edge because I thought I’m gonna have to go wide open in (turns) Three and Four, which I tried to get all the way to halfway through and then it kind of went around and then I kind of floated wide so then quickly downshift. And then I went into One and had a big moment in the middle but just kept after it knowing that if I can repeat that I could get a pole.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 PPG TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 3RD:
“If I could have done a better first lap, I think for sure (it would have been pole). The car was really capable there as you saw on the second lap. I just did not get that first lap good enough. I wish I could have a redo, but you can’t. You have to go out and put your best foot forward when it’s time. I had a great car. PPG and Team Chevy… the speed was there. I wish I could have a redo. I’m excited. We have speed here this weekend. We just have to put that to best of use for tomorrow.
“I wish I had maximized my car. I obviously didn’t do a very good first lap, and I knew it. We had a pole car in there again but not getting that first lap in there is what’s going to hurt us. I feel good for tomorrow. I think we have a great car. I just hate missing it. Man… we definitely had a good enough car to put it on pole. We’ll try do that better next time around, but I’m excited for tomorrow with PPG.”
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 ODYSSEY BATTERY TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 4TH: “Josef is one of the best on ovals that I’ve ever seen, so as a teammate it’s difficult. When you go out first, you’re getting a balance for everything and feeling it out for the guys. At the end of the day, I felt like we did a really good job with the Odyssey Battery Chevy. I felt really strong. As long as we didn’t go backward in qualifying, we were going to have a good run. This sets us up well for tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes.”
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN SP CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 7TH: “I think I was a little too conservative on my run. We had maybe a couple more tenths of a mile an hour, but I don’t think we had one more like the guys at front. Seventh isn’t horrible. It’s a track position race. It will require good pit stops, good in- and out-laps and a good racecar, obviously. For the race, things will be different because it will be race running and there will be traffic. It’s quite different from the morning where you really don’t know what to expect. The problem is, as we saw with Felix, that if you get to greedy the track can bite. It was more important to put in those two laps solidly rather than taking a big risk.”
CONOR DALY, NO. 20 BITNILE ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 16TH: “This is our first weekend here together as a team with Ed Carpenter Racing. It’s weird to think… I’ve been with this team for a long time, and this is our first race together here. It’s one of my favorite tracks without a doubt. From where we started our first practice session today to where we are now is a huge step forward. There’s a lot of positive there. It will be a tough battle. The race is going to be challenging, but we’ve made a huge step forward with our car. To pick up a couple of tenths from practice to qualifying is big. It’s not what we wanted, but if we can start inside the top-15 it gives us a decent chance for tomorrow.
“We made a good step forward from practice. To pick up two tenths from practice to qualifying is a lot, the ECR guys have done a great job working with me. This is my first time here with this team, so it’s been a learning curve for all of us to get what I want out of it. We’re getting better and better every run and we did it again in qualifying. It’s obviously not where we want to be yet, but I do love this track. It’s one of my favorites. We can race forward!”
KYLE KIRKWOOD, NO. 14 BOMMARITO AUTO GROUP AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 20TH: “Decent qualifying. We showed up today after our test last week with pretty different track conditions. We don’t feel like we’re as strong as what we were at the test. But in general, I think we had a solid qualifying I think that should put us mid pack or thereabouts. There’s definitely more in it, but we’re just still working with the car to get it in its happy place like it was at the test last week, which has definitely taken some tuning. Unfortunately, on weekends like this, you don’t get a bunch of tires to really figure it all out and enough time and enough clean track to nail everything down. It takes a couple sessions to really pinpoint exactly what you need. So we’re still working with it, but I think we have a very good heading coming into tomorrow’s race. Historically, the Number 14 car has been better in race conditions than it has in qualifying so we have that going for us.
“We were playing with the car a lot, and we don’t have enough tires to exactly figure it out in practice. It required me to definitely bang on my tools and rely on those for that second lap. The first lap was OK, the second lap was a little better. But if I had the confidence I think we should have been a little quicker. Bommarito stepped up and joined us for this weekend. It’s really cool because we have a home crowd here with St. Louis and Bommarito Automotive Group. They’ll have about 1,000 people up there in that Turn Four suite. It’s cool to have the primary sponsor on the side of our No. 14 AJ Foyt machine.”
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 BITCOIN RACING WITH BITNILE ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 23RD: “I expected a little more out of the car, but I really pushed as hard as I could. We were really at the edge of the tire, even more so than last year. We’ve been struggling a little bit today, but this is a track where you can pass a lot of cars. Especially on restarts, there are a lot of things happening. Last year, I came from 24th and was almost up to the Top 10. You can definitely pass and we can do work from the back.”
DALTON KELLETT, NO. 4 K-LINE AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 24TH: “Not exactly the qualifying that we were looking for today. This is a tough track to pass so I was hoping we were a little further up the grid. It seems we had a bit more understeer than expected going into the end of the run. Last year this was where we scored our best finish. Overall, we feel like the race platform that we have is better than where we were at the end of last year and at the start of the test a couple weeks ago. So optimistic for the race and just have to be smart on track and in pit lane, make some moves and move up from where we’re starting.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 33 ALZAMED NEURO ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 25TH: “I’m pretty frustrated that we haven’t been able to solve our issues. It gets exacerbated by being the first to qualify constantly because it goes off of entrant points, but that’s the rule. We’ll be starting pretty far back, but we’ll see if we can do something with it.”
NTT INDYCAR SERIES News Conference
THE MODERATOR: Will Power, you just happened to pick up career pole 67, Will Power. This is his fourth pole here, fourth of the season. A little history perspective: last time we saw an INDYCAR SERIES driver, Will, pick up 67, when Mario did, you go all the way back to August 1st, 1993. It’s a mark that has stood for some time.
Watching you celebrate this thing, the smile…
WILL POWER: Yeah, something I’ve had my eye on for a while. I think when I got to 60, I was like, This could be possible. Yep, it’s definitely a big box to tick.
But, yeah, now focusing forward on the race. That’s really the big thing on my mind, is having a good day. Yeah, everyone’s at the front, so it’s just going to be…
It’s pretty typical of INDYCAR, right? It’s just going to go down to the last race. The way I see it, even on points right now, it’s that close, it can just flip. It’s going to be about who can finish ahead of who. Simple as that.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Will, there’s been times you and I have talked, back when you were at 60, 61 poles, you said, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get there. Did you honestly feel that way? Now that you’ve reached your goal, is it just a huge sense of relief?
WILL POWER: When I got the double pole at Iowa, that’s when it became really realistic. The year before I had one pole. I think the year before that I had three. It was getting increasingly harder to get pole position. I was kind of thinking, This is going to be pretty hard to beat.
But the double pole at Iowa was real key. Yep, great team, great engine, great crew. That’s what I’ve had. I’ve been lucky.
Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: No, I’m not feeling any relief because I’m so focused on the race and the championship. I can think about that later and feel good about it. Right now it’s just so important to have a good car in the race and race well, yeah, have a solid day.
Q. Will, how excited are you to come to St. Louis to compete in a race that means so much here in the city?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I think this is a really good event for us. It’s promoted really well. Always get a big crowd. They do a really good job of presenting it.
It races well also. Can be a bit mixed up with fuel races and so on. Yeah, it’s one of my favorite tracks, favorite ovals. I really enjoy it. I enjoy it a lot.
Q. You’ve won the pole at Portland, coming up next. Can 68 happen there?
WILL POWER: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, next two races after this, next two qualifying sessions, have to be very good qualifying sessions. Yeah, that totally is going to be the goal.
But, yeah, not even thinking about that right now. Just thinking about tonight.
Q. How do you expect the second lane to run?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I’m really hoping that the second lane brings that in. I’m hoping that second lane practice brings the lane in.
I think it will be a bit better than Texas because it hasn’t got the coating. Maybe it’s not enough cars. But, yeah, we’ll see. Man, the race would be so good if we could do that, people actually run there in the first 20 laps. It will just be a completely different race to what it was.
Hoping it works.
Q. How much of it is confidence driven, when drivers see guys going up, versus rubbering up the track up there?
WILL POWER: Exactly that. They see people running reasonably fast on the outside lane, if that happens to be the case in the practice, it will give people confidence to go there and know it’s rubbered in. When they come into practice, yeah, hopefully it works.
Q. How much of this race becomes a fuel conservation race as opposed to others?
WILL POWER: Yeah, the second lane, it’s actually got more grip up there because it’s not polished. It just needs rubber. I think if we can get it in a bit, when the 30 minutes is up, everyone else comes out, people actually go up there.
Yeah, the fuel race, if there is some yellows at the beginning, people will try to make it on a three-stop. That’s when it becomes a bit of a fuel stop. It really depends on when the yellows for that, otherwise it’s a four-stopper.
Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: Not something I take note of or even look at those things.
Q. If you go all the way to the inside of four, that is the points race. The top six guys are all up there battling. What does that really say about this points race that you’ve got everybody right up there at the top of the grid?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it just shows no one’s letting up, no one will until the end.
Yep, pretty tight battle to the end. It will be very interesting to see how it unfolds. All you can do is just do your best. Do your best. Can’t control some things, so see what happens.
Q. Now that you’ve tied Mario, which you wanted to do, what do you want to do next?
WILL POWER: I need to tie Michael in wins. That’s one win away.
Q. Need to tie Helio in 500s.
WILL POWER: I can almost guarantee that is not going to happen before I’m done. That’s a pretty good run if you could do that.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Will. Thank you. Enjoy the rest of the night.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports