CHEVROLET RACING IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
BOMMARITO AUTOMOTIVE GROUP 500
WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY
TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE REPORT AND QUOTES
AUGUST 20, 2022
MADISON, Ill. (August 20, 2022) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden won again at World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday as he drove his Chevrolet-powered No. 2 PPG entry to victory in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 for his fifth win of this season’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
Team Chevy won at WWTR for the fifth time since 2017 – four of those coming in tandem with Newgarden. He won Saturday night with a pass on teammate Scott McLaughlin on a restart 36 laps from the end and following a nearly two-hour, 10-minute delay for weather.
Team Chevy drivers took three of the first four spots in the race as the Bowtie Brand won for the 10th time in 2022.
“Congratulations to Josef and everyone on the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet and Team Penske for another win at World Wide Technology Raceway,” said Rob Buckner, Chevrolet Program Manager for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. “The race went in a lot of different directions with strategies, the weather delay, and how close it was at the end. We’re proud of the performance, reliability and efficiency of the Chevrolet 2.2-liter, twin-turbo V6 engine that has now won 10 times this season on a variety of tracks. We’re hoping for similar strong finishes to close out the season on the West Coast.”
Newgarden is a now a four-time winner at the track. More importantly, he moved to second place and within four points of Penske teammate Will Power, who finished sixth Saturday, in the INDYCAR Drivers Championship.
McLaughlin placed third in Penske’s No. 3 Odyssey Battery Chevrolet, one spot ahead of Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevy.
Chevrolet’s leading quartet combined to lead 228 of the 260 laps. Power led the most of any driver – 128 after starting from pole position.
Team Chevy and the rest of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES next head to Portland International Raceway for the Grand Prix of Portland on Sunday, Sept. 4.
TEAM CHEVY QUOTES
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 PPG TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – RACE WINNER
RANGE OF EMOTIONS AND WINNING AGAIN AT WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY? “All I can say is that this 2 car crew has been very patient with me. I’ve lost my cool probably a couple of time in closed doors just out of frustration for us. I feel like we’ve had small miscues timing-wise. That’s not really anybody’s fault. Sometimes you’re wrong time, wrong place. I feel like it’s been happening a lot this year. It kind of happened again tonight. I felt like we were in position and it was time to close. There was a barrier that got in front of us again, but fortunately we were able to get back out. I was so happy we could finish this race. Scott McLaughlin, he wanted to win too and I love that about us. We have a good relationship obviously. Each of us want to win but we he drove me super-fair there at the end, and we had a good fight.
“I can’t thank PPG and Team Chevy enough. Team Chevy absolutely crushed it with fuel mileage, reliability, power… everything you want from an engine. It’s a big night for everyone at Team Penske.”
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO GET BY ON THE RESTART? “We just had to have a good start. I knew Scott was going to be good at the end there, and he had a good restart. I just tried to work the high lane. The high lane worked earlier for me and I tried to do it again at the finish there. We just had enough to get by him. He was no slouch this weekend. He was very, very good. Scott has done an amazing job. He could have easily won this race himself, so you have to give him credit. But I’m glad we were able to come back out on top. We’re going to have a lot more races together, that guy and I.”
THAT WAS NOT EASY. “It was tough at the end. I felt like it was getting ripped away again. We hung in there and had a good restart. Scott (McLaughlin) wasn’t easy to beat tonight. He was super-fast so you have to give it him. But I felt like we were in position with the final stop. This PPG car was on rails tonight for sure. We just needed to get into position, and we did that. Team Chevy, I can’t forget them… it was a big fuel mileage race in the first half of this thing, and I feel that Team Chevy absolutely crushed it as far as reliability, fuel mileage and the whole deal. They are a big part of why we were able to win.”
AFTER 25 INDYCAR WINS, DOES WINNING STILL HIT YOU THE SAME? “It’s pretty cool. It’s almost gotten harder. For sure, the competition has gotten more difficult. But internally and mentally, it’s gotten harder for me because I’ve come into this without ever believing I’d had have a career in motorsports. To have a career with a top-line team in a top-line series like INDYCAR with Team Penske… the more success you find, the more you want it. The more disappointing it is when it slips away. There is a mental shift that has to happen there. I’ve been so lucky to be here. I love working hard, love working with the people I do, and I want to do it for as long as I can.”
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 ODYSSEY BATTERY TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – FINISHED THIRD:“That’s oval racing, and we love it. I want more of it. David’s (Malukas, runner-up) move on the last lap… credit to him. He’s a phenomenal young kid and I hope he goes far. The way he’s been coming up through the ranks and getting into the Fast Sixes, he’s been great all year. Full credit to him.”
DID YOU EXPECT HIM TO MAKE THAT MOVE? DID YOU FEEL YOU WERE SAFE? “He was coming, and I was a little loose. I got a bad run off turns Three and Four. I took the inside line and he went on the outside. The grip was still there and it was a hell of a move. He’s a good kid. Good points for us today. The Odyssey Battery Chevy felt awesome. I glad we put on a good show for the fans today. A lot of people stayed out tonight, so that’s fantastic.”
WHERE ARE YOU IN YEAR NUMBER TWO LOOKING AHEAD TO WHERE YOU’RE HEADED IN YEAR NUMBER THREE? “I’m feeling good. I’m loving INDYCAR. I’m really proud of everything. Last year was hard. There were times last year where I wondered what I’m doing here – running around at the back hanging out. I’m just really proud to do it for the team. The pit stops have been unreal. I’m working with some really good people, I have great teammates and the people in America have been really nice to me. I’m excited for what the future holds.”
MORE ON THE FINISH. “Credit to David. He did a great job. His tires were really good. I just lacked a little bit balance there in that last stint. It started oversteering and getting loose. It’s very hard to commit to that. But good points for us and another podium. So all good.”
ONCE JOSEF WENT BY, WAS IT SETTLING IN FOR SECOND OR DID YOU THINK YOU HAD SOMETHING FOR HIM? “The main aim for the team was a team win today. The Odyssey Battery Chevy was good. We all did our parts.”
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW McLAREN SP CHEVROLET – FINISHED FOURTH:
“We had a good race up until the red flag. That bunched us all up. Will (Power) and I were on quite older tires than the guys we were fighting against. It seemed to be a very significant difference this year. It usually is not as big of a difference with tire deg from the past couple of years, but this year was different. We didn’t have enough. I was hanging on there in the end and having a lot of moments. I’m glad we brought it home and didn’t end up in the wall.”
DID THE TRACK CHANGE THAT MUCH AFTER THE RAIN? “Yeah. A lot of rubber went away so that obviously over-tipped the car. Our car was working really, really well in the conditions that we had in 85 percent of the race. At the end, we were extremely loose and it was extremely tough to handle.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON 5G TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – FINISHED SIXTH: “Once again, it was a good day with P6. Obviously we wanted more. We made a mistake and didn’t take that yellow. That’s INDYCAR. It’s never straight-forward. You expect that in the championship. It might come back to us in the next two in a different way. That’s how it is. We’ve got some good tracks coming up. Like I predicted, it will be a tough battle all the way to the end. I’ve been around a long time and know how these things go. The best thing about today is that we finished in the top-six, so that’s still pretty good.”
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE RESTART? “(Simon) Pagenaud’s guys, I don’t know what they were doing, but they sent him out in that battle a lap down. He came out and was just in the way. He was on the line I was, and I lost the (clean) air and lost a couple of positions. I don’t know what they were doing there, but that’s how I lost those. Otherwise we were going to be looking pretty good.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST, NO. 7 ARROW McLAREN SP CHEVROLET – FINISHED 16TH: ”That was a tough evening. Actually, it started really good, up to P13 on the first lap from P26 so it was pretty mega at the start of the race. Then, I couldn’t really do much more. I just kind of sat there and couldn’t really pass. After the red flag, we went in to put on new tires – which lost us a couple of spots – but we hoped to get them back which we did. Then I got trapped on the inside in Turn Two, and I just got swallowed by like literally every car back to P16. We have to risk it in that position. It was not our weekend; it was a tough one. We’ll recharge for Portland.”
KYLE KIRKWOOD, NO. 14 BOMMARITO AUTO GROUP AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED 17TH: “We gained some positions and overall had an OK race. We would have liked to have been further up on the field, of course. We made a couple of calls that probably didn’t play in our favor and ultimately we gained positions. We could have had the pace especially in the middle of the race when it was light out to do something a lot better with our car. Once it got dark, those were conditions we had never driven in before. We were more off the pace than we had been the entire day. That was unfortunate that we couldn’t capitalize on having new tires, maybe passing some cars and getting ahead of some people that we needed to. Nonetheless we’ll go into Portland with a clean car and a clean mindset.”
DALTON KELLETT, NO. 4 K-LINE AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED 18TH: “We started 24th and finished 18th, so I’m happy we were able to make up some spots in the race. That’s always the goal when you don’t have a good qualifying session. The situation was looking really good for us before the rain came. We wouldn’t have had to pit before the end, there were probably four or five cars that we might have jumped if it had gone green to the finish. So Mother Nature doesn’t always play in your favor, but we got the race back under way for the fans under the lights, which is what matters. I’m happy we moved up but we would have liked to have been a little further up the grid when all was said and done.”
CALLUM ILOTT, NO. 77 JUNCOS HOLLINGER RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED 21ST: “We had a lot of pace. I think we overtook maybe 30 people throughout the race, so that was really strong. I made a small mistake on the pit stop… locked up and hit the tire and my outside front mechanic. I’m sorry to him but he’s OK. I’m sorry to the team because that cost us with the penalty and then from there we were hanging in. It was annoying because we found quite a bit of pace compared to yesterday, and I was quite confident and making moves on the outside. That’s the way it goes. We’ll take it and move on to Portland and Laguna.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 33 ALZAMEND NEURO CHEVROLET – FINISHED 22ND: “Tonight was a really disappointing way to end my season. I really appreciate the support from Todd Ault for the No. 33 this year and I was proud to represent Alzamend Neuro and carry their colors. I’ll be back to try again next year.”
CONOR DALY, NO. 20 BITNILE ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED 23RD: “To look at the positives tonight, I think we had a great racecar. I felt well capable of racing into the top-10. I had a great start. I made a bit of a mistake myself trying to pass Simon (Pagenaud) on the high line in Turns 3-4 and lost some time. We had an issue tonight that was out of our control and that was really tough. I love racing here so much, I thought we had a great chance at a great result for the team today. It is definitely a tough one to take.”
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 BITCOIN RACING WITH BITNILE ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED 26TH: “The whole dash froze electronically. I couldn’t see the shifts and couldn’t hear the tones, so I was doing it on feeling. I couldn’t see the adjustments on the weight jacker, and the pit limiter didn’t work. I came into pitlane and had no clue how fast I was going. We tried to do a power cycle but the car wouldn’t go into neutral either. We’re trying some stuff to hopefully finish the race, get some laps in and hopefully get a few points. This is a bummer. With electronics, nobody can do anything about it. The reliability of this team has been amazing but there’s nothing they can do about it.”
On the start: “I heard the green and I wanted to pass guys in front of me because I had a bit of a run. I had to get out there and got a big wheel spin. I touched the wall but there wasn’t anything damaged. I tried to get a few positions there and had to get out of it. I guess it didn’t matter in the end.”
NTT INDYCAR SERIES News Conference
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Press Conference Transcript
THE MODERATOR: Joined now by the four-time champion here at World Wide Technology Raceway, Josef Newgarden. First time in your career five wins in a season. 25th career win, which ties you with Gordon Johncock. More to come. Your thoughts on a big night tonight.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It was a great night. Very big night. You got to win these races when you’re in position to do it. I wanted to close that one out really badly, really badly.
I was elated. Elated that we were able to get back going and I had the opportunity on the restart. I’m thankful to my teammate. I thought Scott drove me with a tremendous amount of respect. He raced me hard, he wasn’t giving me anything, but just gave me a lot of respect like you would expect from a teammate. I think he goes above and beyond sometimes.
Big night for us, PPG, Team Chevy. Can’t talk enough about Team Chevy. Had the engine to beat tonight, no doubt. We had great fuel mileage, reliability, power, all the things we always want. A big night for everybody on Team Penske. Very good for us in the championship fight.
THE MODERATOR: Seemed like your car came alive after the red flag.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I was pleasantly surprised and very, very satisfied with my car tonight. I thought it was hooked up tremendously once we got about midway through the race. It was a bit processional in the first half. Literally every car just went to fuel save. Everyone wanted to try to make the three-stop work. I was surprised at how many people committed. Seemed like the whole field flipped to it. Wasn’t a lot happening then.
As soon as that caution 150, 155, something like that, when it provided that opportunity to pit again, it changed things up, put people on different strategies. That made it really exciting.
I thought that our car was able to maximize that strategy opportunity. So I’m real thankful to my team for picking that out. You can’t win this race without nailing calls like that, being good in the pits. There was a moment I thought it was slipping away from us, too. Ultimately they made the right calls and did it right and we were able to close it out.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Josef Newgarden.
Q. What was the conversation with you and McLaughlin during the red flag? Before the red flag, kind of got spread out, wasn’t a lot of passing. How do you stay patient throughout that?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I mean, first with Scott, it’s a little bittersweet because we have a great friendship. He’s a tremendous competitor. I rank Scott as one of the most elite drivers in the world, not just here but in the world. He’s top class. Very difficult to beat.
We get along really great. He’s a tremendous teammate, hard worker. It’s not the easiest friendship to have because we’re competing.
At the end of the day he wanted to win the race and I wanted to win the race. I was frustrated that we slipped behind him on the pit cycle. I felt like we had the position on him, and that frustrated me.
I think ultimately we have a tremendous working relationship. Nights like this are good. At the end of the day if we’re battling together, things are going well. We want to see that pretty often. I think we will see that often. Scott is not going to go anywhere. He’s only going to get better. I hope we have more battles. They will be tough because I respect him a lot, consider him a friend, but he’s also a competitor.
We just talked about Bus Bros, how he was pissed, how we were going to race each other hard. Normal stuff.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I just wish we could get a second lane going. Man, this race would be awesome, like gnarly, if you could get a second lane. It would be really, really cool.
I think we made some progress this weekend. I really do. The extra session was positive. I they we worked that lane in a bit more. We used it. I used it. I never thought I’d get up there. It definitely was usable. I think we made progress.
We need to continue to examine this track and how we can make it even better for racing. I don’t think it was a dud by any means, got exciting in the middle. But what can we do in the future to make it better? I think we got some ideas.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: These decisions aren’t up to me, but I would always race in the lights here. It looks cool, feels cool. I think the grip is better. We could look at our downforce package for this track specifically and see how we could improve it. I think if we changed it a bit we could make it a lot better. There’s a lot to digest and a lot of good things to come out of here.
Q. I don’t know how much of a student of racing you are, but 25 victories already, Gordon Johncock was a real stud as a race driver. To tie a guy as legendary as that, how cool is that?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I mean, I forget about my job sometimes. I get so focused on the day-to-day, just the process of I want to be the best in any facet, whether it’s the way I examine data, the way I work with the team, my fitness regimen. I get lost in that perfection. I forget how cool this has been.
I’ve been doing this for over 11 years now. I never as a kid thought I’d be doing this. I didn’t. I really didn’t. I loved racing carts. I met a lot of friends in motorsports. Now to reflect at times, to see the opportunity I’ve had, it’s been a real privilege and pleasure.
I get to work with the best, I really do. I believe that. Team Penske is absolutely the pinnacle. We’ve got a lot of people there. I’ve worked with a lot of them different years, different people. They’re all tremendous.
Yeah, to be here 11 years on still has been a real honor for me.
Q. You got your first victory seven years ago. Now you’re at 25. Whip off a few more five-win seasons, do you think you could get to 50? That would be a huge number for a career mark.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Hey, I’m not stopping. Let’s see what happens. We need to get more 10 wins a year, that’s where my mind is at (smiling).
This year, honestly, just this year, I think we had the potential for maybe seven. Then you got two more to go. So we’re getting better for sure. I think if we can figure out how we can rip off a season with 10 or 12 wins, that would be impressive.
That’s where my mind is at. I don’t know if that’s possible. It’s getting more difficult to do that. People in here may think I’m joking by saying that, but I really am thinking that way.
It’s more than just the wins, it is the consistency. How often can you be on the podium? That’s become more and more important these days, top fives, podiums, being there every single weekend, not having any hiccups. Blending that with great races where you’re winning is ultimately the package you have to have. If we can just keep accelerating the wins, I think that’s good for all of us.
Q. I’ll agree with you underneath the nights here is really cool. When you say you don’t get to make that decision, how often do they take the drivers’ input on situations like this or other things to make a track better?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I don’t say that lightly, that it’s not in my decision power. The series, the ownership, the promoters, they absolutely weight, everybody weights our decision plenty. I think we get to lot of say in what happens. Our opinion absolutely matters. I don’t feel like we are unheard. There’s a lot more going on that factors into when we run a race.
I love night races. To me they’re just better. It’s fun. It’s fun to race these cars at night. They’re exciting, they look good, they feel good. The atmosphere is there. My vote would be to be at night.
But there’s a lot more that goes into it than just saying, Hey, we’re going to run at night. Maybe we can work more in. I would be all for that if you had my vote.
Q. How do you go about explaining so much success at one place in such a short period of time? When you first got here, was there something about the track that you found to your liking or style?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think it starts with having the best cars. You can’t do this unless you have a dominant car. I’ve had that. Team Penske has more than delivered the best cars for me. It’s more than just, Hey, do you like the track? Why do you have success here?
Look at the team I have. I have all the resources possible. I have the best of the best on pit lane, the best strategist, most of the time the fastest car in the field. It’s a pretty good recipe for putting wins together. We’ve been fortunate to do that at multiple tracks, we can say that about multiple areas.
I do love this style of racing. If we could get more short ovals, my hand goes up every time we ask.
Q. How much were you planning the move between the rain delay?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: That wasn’t really planned. I was just going. I don’t know where I’m going, I’m just going. He’s going to go as hard as he can to the corner, I’m going to go harder. It may work out, it may not. That’s sometimes my mentality. It seemed to work tonight.
But it wasn’t super premeditated, the actual maneuver. It can good so many ways. If I get a big run on Scott, go inside of him, that’s one thing. If I go outside of him, that’s another thing. I didn’t have a big run on him.
I’m just reacting. I’m going to bullet this first lap quicker than him and I was ready to do that. Fortunately we were prepped and ready and it worked out.
Q. Your relationship with Tim, it feels like it couldn’t get any better, then here comes another one. How much has that evolved over the years?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: He’s absolutely no slouch. I would consider him one of the best if not the best strategists on pit lane. Sometimes he doesn’t look like the best strategist because things that we can’t predict happen. I don’t put that on him. I don’t put it on the team. It’s INDYCAR racing. There’s sometimes unknowns. The yellows are so difficult to predict these days.
I think he’s a tremendous competitor, very good. He’s obviously been a student of this sport for many years. If you know Tim, he’s very passionate about INDYCAR. He wants to win more than anybody on the team. He doesn’t always show that, but it’s in there and it’s very alive.
I feel confident that I got the boss on the stand with me and we’ve had a tremendous relationship. There’s been no cracks in it up to this point. I don’t know that we’re getting better. I feel like we’ve been good for five-plus years. Definitely have no issues in that department.
Q. Cindric is a real kneeslapper.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Doesn’t like to show a lot of emotion, that man.
Q. You and Will are now three points apart. I assume Roger’s rules are similar to his NASCAR rules: you can race each other, just not wreck each other. How does it work out the next two weeks?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Hard to say. I think we’re just going to race like we always do. It’s kind of as simple as that. We race all year, we race hard. It’s not going to be the first time Will and I have raced together. We’ve had many, many races that have been in lockstep, 1-2, pit strategy, the whole thing. We’ll just fight it out as normal.
Clearly we don’t want to do something that jeopardizes the whole group because it is bigger than us. At the end of the day we’ve got three cars in the fight still. There’s nothing that matters more than putting a Team Penske car in Victory Lane.
As much as I want that to be, believe me I do, I will work to be that person, we also have to just make sure we remember that it’s about all of us and it’s about all the effort we put in. We have to make sure one car secures the championship.
It’s just a balance. We’re just going to race like we always do. Hopefully it doesn’t turn ugly at some point.
Q. What did you think when you saw Malukas coming?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I thought wow, that kid is hungry probably. Probably send it around the outside if he had an opportunity.
Q. And he did on McLaughlin.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I bet he did. I didn’t quite see that, but I assumed it was what happened.
I was real happy it was the last lap (smiling).
Q. Do you think he would have had anything for you with one more lap?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Hard to say. I think he would have had a shot. There is no doubt. He was a little better on tires it sounds like. I think McLaughlin went loose. I was not. I was sort of managing the gap. I was actually trying to help Scott. I didn’t want to stay too far away to bunch Scott up to David, so I was trying to push the pace a bit. But I still had some on hand.
I think if David mounted like a real effort on me, I would have had more to push on him. But I don’t know. 10 more laps, maybe he gets me. It’s impossible to say. I think time worked out for us.
Q. This is a hypothetical. If he does get to you, you’re in this championship battle, are you at all nervous with a rookie, what’s he going to do to get his first win?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yes, sometimes. Yeah, for sure, when you see rookies, I think you definitely are a bit more cautious or reserved or at least you’re second-guessing what you think you should be doing.
I would give Malukas a lot of respect. He’s probably been one of the cleanest rookies I’ve ever seen. He’s been almost too respectful. They talk about that on the broadcast. It’s funny to watch back. Malukas, he puts his elbows out, Townsend keeps saying that. Poor David. He’s been doing a great job.
It is true that if you’re too respectful you can get run over in this series. I said that in Nashville. I didn’t say it in joking fashion. That’s how people race these days. You have to put your elbows out, you got to fight people now. If you don’t, they’re going to fight you back and you’re going to end up passed or in the wall.
He’s just been like the most respectful driver I’ve seen out of a rookie in a long time. I think he’s starting to, How much can I push on people? He probably would have done that tonight. But I would have felt comfortable racing with him. I think he’s the best rookie I’ve seen in a long time to be racing respectfully.
Q. What changed from last year to this year with yellows? How much more does that impress you it was just the one yellow for the one bit of contact?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: For sure the track improved. Like I said earlier, I think the second lane session was helpful. There was not as much marbles. Normally what you would see from the wrecks in the previous years if you touched the second lane, touched it with your outside tire, let alone getting a whole car out there, you’re skating off and getting sent into the wall. That didn’t happen tonight.
You could get up there and you could make a mistake, end up in the second lane, recover the car. A lot of what you saw I think was better track conditions. For whatever reason, I think some of it is that second session that we ran, the second lane was more forgiving tonight. People didn’t get bit as often.
Q. The rain earlier today, wash off all the rubber from yesterday’s sessions?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Not much. Maybe a little bit. It’s funny, when the whole track is clean, the second lane is actually better in some respects because it’s not as polished. You haven’t had people run up there a lot so the aggregate is a bit more rough. When you have a rough surface, it can sometimes be conducive to grip. When you polish a surface, it can be less conducive to grip.
Yeah, the rain wasn’t a big deal I guess is what I would say.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Scott McLaughlin, third place finisher, is joining us, sixth podium of the season, seventh podium of his career. Four of those seven coming on ovals.
Congratulations, Scott. Disappointed or what? What are the emotions?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I think our car was very good in the afternoon, late evening when the sun was still out. After the sun went away, lost my balance in that last stint. Didn’t have what Josef and David had. David (Malukas, Honda) was strong, coming at us really hard. Obviously me and Josef pulled away. I sort of knew I didn’t have much.
Midway through the stint, started loose. Hard to get runs similar what I had in the daylight. Yeah, that second-to-last lap, I got a little bit loose off of three and four. Dave got a good run. I could see what he was doing. I couldn’t get out wide because of the confidence I had in the rear of the car.
But he did a phenomenal job. He’s been doing an amazing job all year. First podium in INDYCAR is pretty hard to come by, especially on a short oval.
THE MODERATOR: You expected him to come around the outside?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah. I mean, I did what I thought. I went the high line against Josef, that didn’t work. I went low line against Dave thinking, He’s a rookie, he might not, he might not. Then he did. Oh, well, I was wrong. Went around the outside.
It was a solid move. Credit to you. It was awesome. That’s what oval racing is all about. I left him enough room, he left me enough room, we got through there two-by-two. It was a stellar pass. What we’re doing with building the lanes, making them really nice for oval racing is really cool.
I’m absolutely disappointed. I felt like we were really solid there today in the daylight. Yeah, sort of lost it there at the end.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Scott, two more races left, how much are you thinking points right now?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Look, a win would have been really nice tonight. Ultimately top five would be fantastic right now. But we’re still in the fight, which is the main thing. Two races to go, who knows what will happen.
Yeah, still feeling like we’re just going to attack these next two races with nothing to lose, have a bit of fun.
Q. Scott, you had a nice jump on the restart. Were you surprised Josef got you so quickly?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: No. I think the slipstream effect here, when you can get a run, it works pretty good. Not surprised. I did all I could to try and break away as much as I could. I went into one pretty hard. I think if we had got through the turn three, maybe I could have held him off. He was quick.
Like I said, I think my car, it just wasn’t quick enough once the sun went down. That’s part of it. Unfortunately I think if we just keep going green, it would have been different things if it hadn’t have rained.
Q. How does that happen that all of a sudden his car looks like a rocket ship and you look like you’re standing still?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know.
Q. They giving him something special?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: No, no. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know.
No, look, the main thing was that Penske won. For our team and Roger, it was a big deal. He just wanted us to get home. That was a big sort of talking point for us before the restart as well.
Look, like I said, I’m disappointed with third, which is a great thing. I’m feeling like we’re really building for the end of the year but also start of next year.
THE MODERATOR: A year ago you would have taken third in a heartbeat.
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Starting to learn who I am now (smiling).
Q. Scottie, I heard something you said recently, that you feel more at home now, at home in the U.S. and the INDYCAR SERIES itself. A place you feel you belong. 18 months ago the oval racing was very limited for you. Now looking at the performance this year, looks like you’ve been on ovals for years. You seem to be enjoying the ovals as much as the road courses.
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I think oval racing for me, it’s just special to be able to race in INDYCAR on an oval. It’s part of the DNA of INDYCAR racing. Certainly hope there’s more ovals in the future. I think many others would agree with me.
I’ve just had good teammates, got a good team, good cars, for me to be able to extract the speed and be really comfortable with it and learn quickly. I’m very thankful for that.
Yeah, I think off-track life is a lot easier. I feel a lot more at home in the INDYCAR SERIES. Know a lot more faces. It doesn’t feel as unknown, even in the media, sponsorship land, even the Penske organization. It was a lot to take on last year. I’m very happy with where we’re at right now.
Q. Because of the size of the delay, something you haven’t come across, does that play into the mind?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: It’s not that hard. Kind of like a practice in some ways. You have a couple of hours off, then you get ready to get back into it again. It’s just a bit more high intensity once everything gets going.
Like I said before, I don’t think my car was as good once the lights came on. We were really hooked up with the sun. It got a little loose, a lot more looser than it did in the daylight. That’s what it’s all about. Unfortunately we can’t run in the rain. It’s just how it is.