CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
TEAM CHEVY FAST FRIDAY PRACTICE REPORT
MAY 19, 2023
RINUS VEEKAY AND PATO O’WARD LED TEAM CHEVY AT CONCLUSION OF FAST FRIDAY AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay led Team Chevy on the Fast Friday leaderboard, finishing the day overall third with his top speed of 234.171 MPH.
- Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren INDYCAR Chevrolet, was second of the Team Chevy drivers, finishing the day fifth with his best speed of 233.796 MPH.
- VeeKay led the Bowtie brand on no-tow speed and finished third with his best speed of 233.781 MPH. Arrow McLaren INDYCAR’s Felix Rosenqvist finishing next in sixth with his fastest lap speed of 233.396 MPH.
- Early into today’s session, within the first hour of Fast Friday practice, Pato O’Ward clocked a Turn 3 trap speed of 243.143 MPH.
TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 PRACTICE RESULT:
3rd Rinus VeeKay
5th Pato O’Ward
6th Josef Newgarden
7th Santino Ferrucci
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES)
Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
“I think in the first run, I wasn’t very happy with the balance. It was just not good for me. We changed it up in the second run. I asked the ECR team, and they delivered. Really, for us, it’s great. But anyway, very happy.”
On a day like today, when you’re happy early in the day but you never want to get complacent, right? What is that balance with the team? How do you extract what you can with the team?
“It’s small changes at this point. The team’s base, where we start with the start set up, it’s so close to perfect. We did a few balance checks on qual downforce, basically, with the lower boost. We had to make a little tweak but we’re right there. We might make small little adjustments for the temperature tomorrow, but I think it’s just going to be all fine. You don’t want to take too much risk today.”
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
”Happy Fast Friday for us today. We did three outings, and every outing we just got better and better. I think we’re in a good spot in terms of balance. Tomorrow we’ll be ready to go out into qualifying, have a solid first run and hopefully that’s all we need to do. If not, we’ll go back out and make sure we get this thing into the top 12 to fight it out on Sunday.”
Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“It was a good final run. We had a really disastrous first run. You always come out of the gate feeling really excited for today. The boost is up, and it was a bad first run. We just missed the balance. Came back, and had a pretty good second run. We knew we really needed to do one more and get it really right. I felt like the Shell car was pretty solid. Look, it’s hard to say today. I think today indications look better today than they did on Fast Friday last year. This is going to be more of a fight to get into the top 12 this year. When you look at the cluster of people that are really tight together, it’s much trickier than it looked like last year. We gotta be really on it. We have to nail our run tomorrow. I think the first run is always critical depending upon where you draw. So far, so good. I think Team Chevy has done a stellar job as always, and I hope we can have a good fight to get this into the Sunday show.”
On sticker tires, or bailing on the second run – did it turn into a balance check?
“We needed a balance check on an additional config for tomorrow. It’s good to be able to get that in, especially depending upon what you’re going to do in the morning tomorrow. It’s just nice to get that final balance check on a different look. That’s what today is for. We tried to keep the miles the car and we didn’t have to run too much. I think we got all of the information we needed, which was critical.”
On what happened in T2…
“It was that last lap. I wasn’t flat that last lap, and I think our average could have been what we showed there. We can fix it. It was just a small detail, and the details are going to add up. I think tomorrow is going to be obviously very different complexity with the temperature. But we’ll just clean it up more and be that much better.”
Conor Daly, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
“Our first run I thought was good. I think if we would have finished it out, we probably would be P2 or P3 or close to there. Maybe just two spots up. It’s insane how a couple of degrees of track temp and things change. Our entire balance shifted with a quarter-turn of front wing. It’s insane how much that does. I think we know we’re fast. Rinus’s (VeeKay) car is extremely fast, really impressed with what they can do. Thankfully we have that data to look out. It’ll be interesting to see how we progress. All three cars are, we’re close. We’re all similar in what we want whereas last year I would say I was on a bit of an island myself. So, thankfully I’m kind of following the fast guys here in qualifying.”
On weather in qualifying tomorrow…
“It’s going to be colder tomorrow. Colder is faster. If we can go out in the morning, it’ll be like 60 degrees when we go out. It’s much hotter today. We’ll see. Honestly, the weather we know here can always be a crapshoot. Whatever you get, you get.”
Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“Fast Friday done. I felt pretty sporty, I have to say. The last run we did we got everything together with the balance and we made some good changes. We had some minor issues before noon today that we kind of solved, so it was nice to get a clean run before qualifying. It looked pretty quick, as well. I think we’re third-quickest on the four-lap average, so we’ll take that. It’s probably better than we thought we would be. So far, I’m happy.”
Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
”A very solid day. I think we’re somewhere in the top five on the four-lap average. This is always a weird place because you can end happy and then the conditions are going to change tomorrow, so you don’t really know. The car is good. The car has been good all week, so we just have to keep staying on top of the changing conditions. Hopefully we get a good draw tonight, and that will make our lives easier tomorrow morning.”
Tony Kanaan, No. 66 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
”This day is always hectic. You always think about what you got and what you didn’t get, but I think we’re OK. Tomorrow is really going to be about the drawing, the wind and everything else, but I think we have a pretty good car. All four cars are pretty similar. I’ll have some teammates going out before we do. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Ed Carpenter, No. 33 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
“Anything can happen around here. I won’t feel good until Monday practice and we know we’re in the race. It’s crazy competitive right now. I don’t know, I think the Saturday, tomorrow night at the bell is going to be as chaotic and as much jockeying as ever because there are so many people capable of making the top 12 right now. It’s going to be stressed out a little.”
With the track as good as it is in the middle of the day. Would this be a year where the draw may not matter as much, and then you will see people going back and forth and never feeling safe?
“I think the draw is going to matter more than ever because it’s not going to be cloudy tomorrow. In my opinion, track temp always trumps ambient temp around here. The track temp is going to be climbing on the last forecast I saw, which they’ve been inaccurate all month. It’s going to be sunny tomorrow so I think it’s going to throw everything a little bit of a wrinkle from today, plus with wind direction. There could be some volatility but it’s going to be tight no matter what. There are a ton of competitive drivers and teams here. We got a sunny track, so I’m cautiously optimistic for the BITNILE.COM Chevy, that we’ve got something for them tomorrow. Obviously, my teammates really quick, Rinus (VeeKay), right now. We’ve got a lot of decisions to make with a bit of all the things we were doing today. Optimistic we’ll at least have a chance for Sunday.”
Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“I feel good. I mean, today was pretty solid. We’re close to the top on the charts for most of the day. It cooled down, so many went quicker. We’ll see if we make the fast 12 tomorrow.”
On the great couple of days and chances of top-12?
“Yeah, I know. Honestly, it’s kind of shocking but we’ve worked really hard on this car, and everybody’s put in a lot of time for this. When it’s got raw pace, it’s nice to be able to top the board three days in a row.”
With Benjamin’s (Pedersen) car coming to life today, do you feel you’ve helped the program, he’s helped you, that kind of thing?
“Honestly, we’ve been on the same cars the entire three days. We’ve made a couple of changes here and there. Stuff that’s really small to help us get comfortable, but our cars are almost the same.”
Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“Really good day for my first ever Fast Friday, being a rookie this year. We did our first run, which was pretty okay. We were lacking a bit of grip but I just told the engineers what I was feeling, and then we went out for our second run, and the car was hooked up right away. Super, super fast. I think we’re eight at the moment on no-tow. The car is feeling really good. My teammate (Santino Ferrucci) is right there as well with us. We’re right on top of each other with performance. Our day concluded pretty quickly. Looking forward to tomorrow’s qualifying.”
Larry Foyt, President of AJ Foyt Racing:
“Well, (Fast Friday has) been really nice and calm. Honestly, when your cars are fast, it just helps you slow everything down. You’re not scrambling, quite as much so, so it kind of been a been a nice day. I think both drivers are really happy. The Chevy power feels great. So we’re excited for tomorrow. Just trying to make sure all the i’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. But no, it’s just it just feels great. You know the Sexton Properties car and the Homes for Troops car, it’s just nice when you got speed in your car. So engineering has done a great job. mechanics have put together some really clean racecars and now it comes down to tomorrow and putting the four laps together because I think that’s what you’re seeing everyone’s so tight. You know with that first lap a lot of people are fast, but you got to get four laps together.”
Would you guys consider a third car, and have some people calling to inquire about that? Just maybe the decision to really stay with those strengths and use those two numbers you always have?
“There is a little bit of talk obviously. Some people have called and you know, it’s it feels like every year I promise the guys I won’t do it and then I think they were gonna just beat the hell out of me if I were at three this year. They’re pointing at me now. So yeah, we just it was like hey, let’s focus on the two and so it’s good and that’s what we’re doing and it’s nice and yeah, like I say just want to get tomorrow over with hopefully have to in the fastball 12 and give it another go.”
On team chemistry…
“It’s been really nice. I mean, Santina really knows what he wants here. He loves this place. He has a really good idea of what he wants out of the car. So that’s been super helpful. And Benjamin, I mean, I’m just really impressed. He’s just been so calm and cool for his first time here. And, you know, put up that run today. And that was just really nice. I mean, it we haven’t run a lot today, but he feels really confident as far so it’s been I’d say it’s been good. It’s not over yet. And this place can always throw you throw the loop, but we haven’t changed a lot and my engineering has put some good cars together. So, we’re excited.”
Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“My first Fast Friday for the Indy 500, and oh my god what a feeling. Honestly, we’re in a good position. We started rather badly in last positions, but we were improving through the day. We finished in a good position, I think. We will see what happens tomorrow, because everything changes with the weather. We will see what happens.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 23 Chevrolet at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing:
“Today was our first day really going after the qualifying trim with the added turbo boost. It was a trial-and-error day for us. We found things we didn’t like. But, at the end, we did find things we did like and what I needed out of the car. We were in the top 15 in the four-lap average today, so I’ll take that and move on to the first day of qualifying. You really couldn’t dial too much into it today with wind increasing later in the afternoon. You get to the point where it’s going to be so much different on Saturday that we need to see what we have right now. It’s going to be cooler, and the wind direction is going flip 180 degrees. The good deal is my son, Rhodes, drew number one for qualifying. So, we are the first qualifier tomorrow morning. That’s the best we can ask for entering qualifying.”
RC Enerson, No. 50 Chevrolet at Abel Motorsports:
“I think today was tough. I think there were a lot of people off their game early, especially those who were a lot trimmed out today. A lot’s going to change for tomorrow. We learned a lot today, and we’ll probably come with a whole different downforce setup for tomorrow. But overall today that last run was decent and now we’ll just go back to work for tomorrow morning.”
PATO O’WARD, No. 5 ARROW MCLAREN CHEVROLET – End of Day Press Conference:
THE MODERATOR: Joined by Pato O’Ward, third best overall speed today, 13th best when it came to the four-lap average.
Happy with your day today, Pato?
PATO O’WARD: “Yeah, we did three attempts today. Didn’t finish the first one. Second one was slightly better. Finished it not in the best of ways, I guess. Then we found a very happy balance there in the end.
Yeah, Sato San was quick today, very, very fast, as we were expecting the whole Ganassi camp.
Yeah, I have to reiterate a bit of what Josef said. It’s going to be tight, really, really tight, like to get into the Fast 12 is probably going to be the tightest it’s been in the last few years for sure.
It’s good to see that we were able to put it in the mix there with our cars today. Yeah, tomorrow it seems to be a bit colder ambient, sun is going to be shining, so the track temperature shouldn’t be too cold, fairly similar to what it was today. Obviously, the wind is shifting a bit, that makes things a bit more interesting.”
Q. Pato, I think it was 243 miles an hour into turn three. Were you aware of that? Is the speed on your dash? What happened after that?
PATO O’WARD: “I wasn’t aware of what we hit in the trap speeds until I saw it online. It’s fricking fast. Like before I went out, I was seeing the guys that were doing the runs before me, you can tell the difference.
The engines sound way beefier, it look just fricking fast, and it feels fast (smiling). It’s cool.”
KYLE KIRKWOOD: “Does it feel fast?”
PATO O’WARD: “So fast. I was waiting for that question (smiling).”
Q. (No microphone.)
PATO O’WARD: “Yeah, I don’t have an answer for you. It feels fast. That wall approaches very fast. If you have a bit of a…”
Q. When you go in there 240, you can tell the difference, right?
PATO O’WARD: “I’m more focused to feel what the car is telling me so it doesn’t catch me off guard kind of thing, yeah.”
Q. Seems like most people have that hot lap the first time, then things degrade. Has there ever been an attempt to go maybe a little bit conservative on the first lap? What is the rule of thumb there?
PATO O’WARD: “I guess that’s when you start playing with downforce. You load it up a little bit more if you want to be more consistent. It really depends on what balance you have. Obviously, there’s going to be dropoff, at least that what it seems like today. Not sure what it will be like tomorrow.
Yeah, I mean, I think for tomorrow if you want to be in the Fast 12, your first lap has to be in the 234s. If you want to complete your run well, you can’t fall out of the 232s, high 231s if you want to get a solid average.”
Q. Pato, about Josef saying it was going to be so tight to get into the Fast 12, does the draw make it even more important?
PATO O’WARD: “Yeah, I’ve never drawn my own. I think today Pato fan is going to be doing the draw for me. Positive vibes for him drawing a good number. I don’t know his name. You’ll probably find out later.
Yeah, I mean, I think we were the first one to qualify last year. The previous year we were somewhere in the top 10. Obviously if you get some cloud cover, it’s obviously good. You can be 25th in line, but if you get a cloud cover for your run, you’re fine. It continues to creep up.
I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Q. Pato, given we have six Chevys, six Hondas in the top 12, do you feel Chevy has the power to kind of take it to them?
PATO O’WARD: “Yeah, man. I mean, for sure I feel like we won’t really know until tomorrow. It looks good from today. I think it looks very well-mixed there, a very good mix. The speeds are very tight, yeah.
But I think tomorrow we’ll probably get the better idea of who’s coming out swinging.”