CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
HONDA INDY TORONTO
TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA
TEAM CHEVY FIRESTONE FAST SIX REPORT
JULY 15, 2023
CHEVROLET QUALIFIES FOUR IN THE NTT INDYCAR SERIES FIRESTONE FAST SIX FOR SUNDAY’S HONDA INDY TORONTO
- Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet for Team Penske, will start on the front row of Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto after qualifying second with his fastest lap of 01:04.4790 on the streets of Toronto.
- Chevrolet was represented in the Firestone Fast Six by four drivers, including McLaughlin, Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, and Will Power, who transferred out of the round of 12 to compete for the Honda Indy Toronto NTT P1 Pole Award.
- Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, as well as Team Penske’s Will Power and Scott McLaughlin, were part of the top-six who transferred out of Group 1 to the round of 12.
- Team Penske’s Newgarden, along with Arrow McLaren INDYCAR’s O’Ward and Rosenqvist, transferred to the Round of 12 from Group 2 in rainy, wet track conditions.
- O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet for Arrow McLaren, set the pace for the Bowtie brand in Practice 2 with his fifth-place lap of 1:00.7054. Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet for Team Penske, followed in ninth with his lap of 1:00.9153.
- Rookie Agustin Canapino, driver of the No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing, will start Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto in his highest career starting position after qualifying 18th today in his first wet session in an open wheel car.
TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 QUALIFYING RESULT:
2nd Scott McLaughlin
3rd Pato O’Ward
5th Felix Rosenqvist
6th Will Power
The final warm-up of the Honda Indy Toronto weekend will kick off race day Sunday at 10:15 a.m. ET from the streets of Toronto. The 85-lap, 151.81-mile/244.31-kilometer race Sunday, July 16 will take the green flag at 1:30 p.m. ET live on Peacock, INDYCAR Radio, and SiriusXM Channel 160.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES):
Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“Tough day for us. I think we missed a lot of our potential in in qualifying. The first round was really solid; the car was excellent. The team did a stellar job with the wet setup. In mixed conditions, we probably didn’t make the right moves, but it was a good session to learn from for the future, and most importantly, I feel really confident in my racecar. I think we have good speed, and can put that to use in the race tomorrow. Hopefully with Snap-on Tools and Team Chevy, we have a great day.”
Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“Overall, it was a great day for us. We start second which is another street course front row start. Really loving Toronto. Really happy with these guys and my Gallagher Chevrolet. The car was really good. I think we are due for a wet race. It’s something that I’ve always loved to do.”
Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“A very different story (crossing the line a little bit later). You’re a lot better than sixth. We crossed the line P1 and then everyone had another lap and we went to P6. I was a little frustrated because I at least wanted to stay in the top-four. That’s the game, man. Sometimes it flows for you and sometimes it doesn’t. If it didn’t annoy me then I wouldn’t be quick because you don’t care, but I cared massively because it’s so hard to win these races these days. It’s very hard to get in the Fast Six. I was stoked to get in the Fast Six, I really was. You always want more.”
“You can definitely win from sixth. If it’s a straight-forward race, you kind of have to be in the top-four. But you don’t know. I’ve won from way back, so anyone can win from anywhere in this sport. Who knows? It might rain tomorrow and it might be a very mixed-up race anyway.”
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“That was a gnarly session. That kept me on my toes every single lap. Obviously, it was a drying race track, and it just kept getting better and better. The No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet was feeling good; it was all about having confidence in it and really attacking some of the corners that you didn’t quite know what they had in store. We just kept on pushing, and it’s a second-row start for the team tomorrow. It’s a great starting position to challenge for the podium and the win.”
Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“I feel like this was a huge statement from the whole team. The No. 6, 7, and 5 (teams) just came together. I didn’t want to intrude. I was looking out from the truck one time, and it was just covered with papaya shirts around the car. I feel for them. That was a lot more work than we had to do. It was very unfortunate how we damaged the tub from a very low impact. We were unlucky with how the wing folded into the tub and punched a hole through it. So we had to change the car. We did a seat fitting 20 minutes before the session and were still fiddling around with belts and pedals and steering wheels and stuff. It was kind of an odd feeling but in a way you don’t have anything to lose. You just have to restart. I’m super-proud that we came through into the Fast Six and finishing P4.”
“It was a hell of a day. That was a lot of work, but we ended up P5 in the end, an amazing recovery from a crash in Practice 2. I sent it in a bit too hard into Turn 5 and hit the wall. I didn’t really hit hard but unfortunately damaged how the front wing came into the tub, so we had to build a brand new car ahead of qualifying. Basically the whole team, the 5 and 7 crew as well, came out, and there was just like a bee hive around the No. 6 SmartStop Arrow McLaren Chevrolet for like three hours between practice and qualifying. We did a seat fit 50 minutes before we jumped in, and we were still doing things for the belts and stuff. To end up in the Firestone Fast 6 and P5 after that was just a huge statement to this whole team, having got together and got it done. It was more work than we needed, but we made it through.”
Did rain help overcome some of the problems with a backup car?
“It’s hard to say, but the car felt really good. If you didn’t tell me then I wouldn’t have felt a difference. Obviously, it was really wet in the beginning and really fun. It was reminding me of go-kart days where you play around with different lines, braking off-line. Sometimes you try something and it doesn’t work so you’re almost crashing, then the next lap you get it right. It’s really rewarding when you shave off one or two seconds just by driving better. We went through it and a lot of people made mistakes, and we just kept it clean as well. I’m really proud of the whole team with how we got through it.”
On his outlook for Sunday:
“I think we feel good. I think in a way, we are actually better in the wet. I wouldn’t be sad if it were raining, but obviously, it mixes everything up quite a bit. We’ve been strong all weekend except for that crash. We’ve been up there pretty much all the time. We’ll see what the weather does. Normally this is a pretty good track for me so we’ll try and go for a podium.”
Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
”My steering wheel failed in the braking zone, and I didn’t have the ability to shift or pull clutch. I’ve never seen anything like that. It’s a real shame because the car was great and had what we needed to qualify without a problem. We will regroup and be ready to fight from the back tomorrow.”
Gavin Ward, Race Director at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“That was a heck of a thrash for the team after Felix (Rosenqvist) had a bit of an off in practice and unfortunately put a hole in the chassis, so we had all hands on deck. We had people jump in from all three crews to get the No. 6 SmartStop Arrow McLaren Chevrolet out there. Felix didn’t disappoint to put it up there in the top five. Two cars in the top five is a great result, but at the end of the day our cars are very strong in the wet, and we had an electrical issue with Alexander’s steering wheel that cost him the chance. I have no doubt that he would have been right up there with them. That’s something we need to learn from and fix, some work to do there that’s the team’s doing. All in all, we’re ready to race tomorrow.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
“A little bit of poor timing. Didn’t get our second run in. Just waited a little too long maybe, and just didn’t get the second run, but whatever. It was quicker, but it is what it is.”
On his first street course with Ed Carpenter Racing, what’s on the checklist?
“Just getting through every session. Trying to make the car better. Trying to get everybody forward. Happy to see Rinus (VeeKay) get through there.”
Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
“I’m confident with the car. We are really fast in the dry. In the Fast 12, I’ve never driven a car in the rain on a street course. I’ve only driven a car once in the rain in Malaysia, and that was about five years ago now. It was a good showing to move up to the Fast 12. This weekend has kind of been a struggle but we’ve persevered. The crew did a great job. We have a good pace for tomorrow. It looks like it is going to stay dry so that’s good. We’ll make it a good one.”
Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“I think we need to qualify a little better. We looked better in practice and made some good strides. Honestly, finding two-tenths to break into the top-10 was something that I think was going to be doable for us. With the rain, it exposed our weaknesses in our car, which is unfortunate because I couldn’t do anything about it other than being a passenger. I’m really upset, the fact that we couldn’t get it sorted. I’ve come from behind here before to finish 11th, so I’m sure we can have good strategy. Our racecar is actually pretty decent. We seem not to be killing the tires. Our third and fourth runs on the primary tires actually have been really good. I think we’ll be able to hang in there, pass some cars and try and move forward into the top-15.”
Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“We’re just trying to figure out where we lost a bit of relative speed compared to practice two. Obviously in Practice 2, we didn’t run the alternates, just the primaries, but then for some reason in qualifying when we put the alternates on, we just lost pace and overall grip compared to the primary, so we’re just trying to understand that. It looked like our teammate in the other group, despite it being wet, was struggling with the same things with overall grip so yeah, it’s very difficult. We’re just trying to get it in the window. It just seems very fragile right now if you don’t get one element right on the setup and it just kind of causes the car to struggle a lot. Then when we managed to get everything close, it’s just barely hanging on. So yeah, working really hard to get it right for the race. That’s where it matters. Hopefully it’s dry, we can charge forward and just have a clean race.”
Callum Ilott, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“Pretty eventful qualifying. It rained just before our group. For some reason, I end up in the group with more people. Not ideal, but it is what it is. We did a decent job where we were always running in the top-six up right until the right last lap, and I just got pipped by a couple of people who managed to pull a lap out of nowhere. It was very, very close to getting into the top-six. It’s tough but I know we had good speed for it. There are a few things we need to improve for the next time if it rains. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Our car is good in the dry here, so we should be strong. Starting off 16th, we’ll keep it clean and see what we can do.”
Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“It was fun. It was the first time in my life in an open wheel car to qualifying in the rain. Everything is totally new for me. The first few laps, I was very lost, but in the end, really good. I think the team did a really good job. Thanks to the whole team for an incredible job. We are in the middle of the pack, for the first time. I’m really happy so far, and we will go for the race tomorrow.”
Grade yourself on this season so far…
“I’m very happy and I’m enjoying it a lot. I’m improving step-by-step, so again, it’s a big, big step coming to the touring cars in my entire life. I’m really grateful for Ricardo (Juncos), Brad Hollinger, the whole team, for giving me this opportunity. I really want to have a good second part of the season. Tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to do the whole race.”
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, driver of the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet – End of Day Press Conference:
Scott McLaughlin, driver No. 3, Gallagher Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet this weekend with another front row start. We talked a lot about tiptoeing around this racecourse when the conditions are like that. How difficult was it for you, Scott?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, it was tough. I was sideways at one point on the side of the track, so you just have to really gather your thoughts, and you’ve got to just methodically sort of feel the track and the way that it dries off.
We’ve had a really fast car all weekend, so I knew if it dried off, it was going to be okay. But even in the wet conditions with what we got, it was really good.
So I would have loved to have seen if we didn’t wait so long between Q1 and Q2 to have a crack at real wet, but yeah, really provided of everyone on the Gallagher Chevy.
The car was very good. Congrats to Christian. Great lap. I think we benefited a lot by being able to be the last couple to the finish line.
He still pumped us by four-tenths, and we have to figure that out and see how we go.
Q. This question is for both of you. There’s I think a 40% chance of rain tomorrow. What did you learn about this course and how it handles when it’s wet?
CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD: It’s slippery.
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, it’s just so tough. You go.
CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD: Yeah, it’s just tricky. I mean, you’re just trying to find your way around. And in qualifying it’s split groups, right, so you do have more visibility than you will in the race situation.
I mean, luckily, I’m out there in the front, so I won’t have to deal with that at least in the beginning.
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I’ll probably pass you, but that’s fine.
CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD: We’ll see. As long as it’s only you.
I think it’s just important, too, to keep the car off the wall really. It’s so tough and super tricky. We see cars go off. I know that we are pushing to the absolute maximum today, but again, we’re just trying to search for grip.
I’m sure we haven’t explored all of it yet, but I do pray for it to stay dry just to — it’s more fun.
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: From my perspective it’s probably one of the toughest street courses I’ve ever combatted in the rain from a difference, yeah, from what I learned in Australia, but from the difference in bitumin and concrete and trying to stay off those.
Then concrete dries quicker than the asphalt and trying to figure that out, and you have to do that in split seconds and trust that the car is going to start.
You go into turn three at 185 miles an hour, and you are like, okay, I am going to brake at the 300-foot mark and hopefully she sticks in the middle.
It’s a tough confidence thing, but when you get it right, these are the most rewarding conditions in any motorsports. This is fun.
Like Christian said, though, I think if we get some dry tomorrow, that would be great and great for the fans. Fans got a little nice little, you know, moist fixture today, so now we’re going to fire and get dry tomorrow and have a good time in the sun in Canada. Beautiful place.
Q. As a follow-up to you, Scott, there was some talk that you might be penalized. You weren’t or at least it didn’t affect where you sat, where you are going to be on the grid. Were you concerned about being penalized and how that might affect you?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I was on the red limiter there for about 15 minutes post-qualifying trying to figure out whether I’d got it done. I was hard on the chip, but we figured it out.
I understand the rules, but I certainly am glad that we can keep our P2 and press on because I think a lot of people went faster after that anyway. So it was really null and void at that point.
Q. This one is obviously for Scott. Scott, if there was — at the moment it looks like a 50% chance of it raining tomorrow. Are there certain parts of the track where potentially standing water because of it being a street course could become a problem?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Not from what I’ve seen. I mean, I think there’s some spots, but that’s a street circuit thing.
No, from what I saw, it was tough, but it’s a very pretty well-drained street circuit and was okay. You’re not going to get it perfect everywhere, but I think we would be fine.
Like I said before, I wish we sort of went a bit faster between Q1 and Q2 to get a good idea. I think the guys that ran in group two in Q1 probably got the best sort of look at the track to see what it’s like.
Certainly we’ll be looking at my teammate Josef’s data and footage tonight just to figure out a few things. Yeah, I think it’s pretty good so far.
Q. Then you mentioned before too, and it’s one thing that I’ve been following, this mixture of the concrete and then the asphalt surfaces. There obviously is an issue itself just in the dry, but in the wet that makes it even harder to manage those two surfaces, doesn’t it?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, it is. Yeah, sometimes it’s grippy. Sometimes it’s not.
Honestly there’s different concrete surfaces out there, like there’s a polished one and then a grippy one, a coarse one. You sort of have to spot them because you can see it with the sheen on the road.
But, yeah, it’s a lot of fun. This track is wicked in the dry and even more fun now after driving in the rain.
Q. I know you’ve been good in the wet in the past. I think 2019 at Bathurst you were strong in qualifying there in the wet. How difficult has the transition been to driving an open-wheel car in the wet? Obviously everything is new to you in an open-wheel car, but that transition racing in the wet, how has that been for you?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: It’s surprisingly not that bad. A race car, whether it’s a go-kart, whether it’s an INDYCAR, or a Supercar, they all sort of have the same sort of tendencies in the rain.
So it’s more actually just learning the tire and seeing how much you can hurt it, especially when it dries out. This tire actually it just dies when it dries out. More than any other tire I’ve been on before.
Yeah, that’s probably the biggest thing, learning the tire, and thankfully sort of jumped on it. But, yeah, I’ve always said I loved the rain. Being from New Zealand, it’s just we grow up racing in the rain nine times out of ten.
Q. You looked pretty angry when you got out of the car. Did you feel like the penalty was going to take things away?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, they held me on the limiter. Yeah, I was — you know, I knew that everyone went faster from that point, so I was like — I get I should lose my time at that point, but I shouldn’t lose my best time because everyone went faster, and I didn’t hold anyone up. So, yeah, I’ve got to count to five sometimes (laughing).
Q. Scott, semi-seriously, not totally, but two weeks ago a Kiwi got the run around in the rain, and he won the race. If it does rain tomorrow, should we expect you’re going to win because now a certain portion of the racing world thinks that you guys are awesome at that and are ringers in that circumstance?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Massive shout-out to Shane. That was an awesome drive and great for our sport Down Under.
I’m also going toe-to-toe with a Dane, and there’s also plenty of good drivers. There’s a Swede in the Fast Six and a Mexican. Everyone knows how to drive in the rain.
I feel like I’m very excited just to see how we go. Yeah, New Zealanders, like I said, we enjoy the rain.
Me and Shane, it’s funny, in Supercars we used to always have awesome battles in the wet, and we would swap out the front with a few others. It was awesome to see him win.
Yeah, it’s just nice to have some change. We are due for a wet race. I’m telling you. We haven’t had a wet race in so long.
CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD: How long was you conversation in mid-Ohio in terms of rain? We were, like, Oh, it’s going to rain, it’s going to rain. It never rained.
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I went to bed and thought 100% it was going to rain, and it didn’t. So I was very surprised.
FELIX ROSEQVIST, driver of the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet – End of Day Press Conference:
What are you learning?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, pretty different experience this year. Seems like there’s some new repaves and patches on the track. Initially the session was really slippery, and everyone was just waiting for the track to go quicker, but it didn’t seem to happen.
Then it kind of got traction and the lap times tumbled. But it was a new challenge. I would say it was the most different it’s been to get back here.
I think Turn 9, Turn 10, Turn 11 was like a complete rethink in terms of driving lines and just how we approach it, really. Some other corners that were better, I thought, like Turn 6 was less bumpy, Turn 3 was less bumpy. They improved some places, and some places are harder as a driver.
Quite challenging I thought, but good session for us. The car felt good, and I think all of us in the team were pretty up front all session.
Q. Can you throw some detail at us on the 9, 10, 11? Is it because of the way the bumps lay out makes you have to take a different line?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, so approaching 9, you have a new tarmac right on the apex, so you’re kind of turning in with understeer. Then as you hit the apex you grip up, so you kind of have to go in too quick for the grip you have, but then you have to trust that it grips.
Then going into 10, there’s a massive bump right on entry, so you kind of have to go through that. Like there’s no choice, you have to go through it.
Then as a car, it kind of lands on the bump, you have to turn in, and if you take it with too much speed it’s really easy to just go straight. I think we saw a couple of, me including, trying that, and yeah, you’re just mixing it up with different the lines and stuff. Was kind of interesting.
Then 11, the new tarmac kind of ends right at the apex, so you can send it in pretty hard, but then it gets bumpy on exit. Yeah, it’s a complete inverted approach to the section, but I thought it was fun. You could see us working out there for sure.
Q. It sounds a little Mario Kart-y where you have slick spots and then hope that you catch the sticky spots in the right place kind of thing, or you speed up really quickly and slow down in weird spots?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: It kind of reminds me a bit of rally driving, like you have to set the car up before the jump and then you have to land in the right place. It’s like, yeah, a rally approach but way less jumping, obviously. Yeah, it makes you think.
I think it’s kind of rare to have that in INDYCAR, so it’s a new challenge for sure.
Q. Obviously we’re at the halfway point of the season now, so I guess you’ve had a couple weeks off to think about your season as a whole and what you might want to be doing for the second half, I guess. I know your qualifying is basically third best in the series, but obviously your finishes have not been quite as strong as that. What are you focusing on for the second part of the season?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, it’s been some unfortunate races for us, especially the last two ones, just kind of ending up nowhere after basically — not DNF, but being at the back.
I don’t know, I think you approach it a bit differently. Maybe you try to go for a big result. I think there’s probably no chance for us to win the championship.
I think I’m mentally more in a head space where I want to go for like — if I can go for a win, I’ll try all in, and I think a lot of us are in the same position because Alex is just taking off in the standings.
Like I say, we’ve been super fast on one lap, and I think actually the race pace has been mega, as well.
Just haven’t really strung a result together in the last three, four races. Looking forward to just having a solid week, and I feel like we started good here. Normally a pretty good place for us, so yeah, just looking forward to having a smooth weekend.
Q. It feels less like there’s something specific that you need to change, like just as an example you’ve got too much understeer in the car, it’s not necessarily looking at for the second half of the season that you need to change, it’s more outside of your control have impacted your performances?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: I mean, I think we’ve had both, right. We had races where I’ve made mistakes like Indy, Texas. I think those two sting for sure. It was completely in my hands. Then we had probably more races where it’s just been completely out of our control, like Road America, mechanical issue, and then lap 1 Mid-Ohio I got taken out by my countryman.
Yeah, there’s been a lot of that stuff going on, so obviously you fall pretty quick in the standings. I think like one, maximum two DNFs is what you can have if you want to go for a title.
I mean, I think as a group obviously we try to reduce our mistakes, but in some way it’s out of our control. We try not to think too much about it. The pace has been really good, especially race pace this year has been awesome, so just try to get it together.
Q. You talked about the new tarmac and how sticky it is and you’re looking at grip, and tomorrow we’ve got rain predicted for most of the day. How will that affect the car?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: I don’t even want to know. I’m not jealous of Tom because that was actually — I think that felt kind of foreign to all of us, especially in the beginning of the session. Then it gripped up quite well.
Yeah, in the wet it’s going to be hard. I haven’t been here in the wet. I think some of the veterans, sort of the true veterans have been here in the wet, but I can only imagine. Like 9, 10, 11 is going to be really tricky. That new tarmac might be slippery, I think, in the wet. Yeah, I don’t know, it’s just going to be a free-for-all.
Q. Felix, following up on looking at the second half of the season, how would you define the second half going well? Is it getting a win? Is it where you end up in the standings at the end of the day or is it something else?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: You mean in the standings? I don’t know. I think like we’re not here to be P12 or P11. I think a win or something like that would be a good way to kind of end at the end of the season. I think there’s some good tracks for us coming up. Just kind of — I think more than anything, being able to string together some race results and feeling like we didn’t leave anything on the table would be a rewarding feeling after having some troubled races.
Yeah, I know we can be there if we just do the job. Yeah, just going for the win.