CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
BIG MACHINE MUSIC CITY GRAND PRIX
TEAM CHEVY PRACTICE REPORT
AUGUST 4, 2023
WILL POWER TOPS FIRST BIG MACHINE MUSIC CITY GRAND PRIX PRACTICE
- Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet, topped the first practice session to open the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix with his fastest lap of 1:16.4042.
- Chevrolet was represented in the top-10 after the singular session of the day by Power, Arrow McLaren INDYCAR’s Alexander Rossi (third) and Pato O’Ward (fourth), as well as Power’s Team Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin (ninth).
- Despite making slight contact with the wall at the end of the session, Power was able to maintain the first position to end the Friday practice session on top of the leaderboard.
TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 PRACTICE RESULT:
1st Will Power
3rd Alexander Rossi
4th Pato O’Ward
9th Scott McLaughlin
A second practice on the streets of Nashville kicks off Saturday morning activities for the NTT INDYCAR Series at 11:40 a.m. ET. Qualifications and the Firestone Fast Six for Sunday’s Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville take place following second practice, starting at 2:45 p.m. ET. A final practice will then wrap Saturday for the Chevrolet drivers and teams, starting at 6:25 p.m. ET. All practice and qualifying will be live on Peacock, INDYCAR Radio, and SiriusXM Channel 160. The 80-lap, 168-mile race Sunday, Aug. 6 will take the green flag at noon ET live on NBC.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES):
Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“Pretty warm day here in Nashville, but overall the DEX Imaging Chevy felt pretty good. Just didn’t get a run on the green (alternate) tires, and had plenty of red flags at the end, but it feels just as good as last year which is a good thing. Car is really nice, so hopefully we can come back stronger tomorrow.”
Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“It’s physical. After that first round, why would I say it’s not physical? But, it’s physical. Man, it’s physical.”
At the end (of the session), what led to the contact with the wall?
“I just locked on the way in, thought I was going to make it. Just did it really, I mean, it didn’t knock the suspension off but it was enough to, yeah. It’s not ideal.
You found pace earlier than that. What is it you like about the setup that you have?
“The car is really good. I think we’re in a good window. I think all of the cars are pretty similar. It’ll be about putting it all together when it counts.”
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“There’s not much change to the track other than a couple of walls in place a little differently from here to there. Compared to last year, I think it’s been a good start. We need to look more into it to see which direction we need to go to for qualifying, but as of now, we’re solid.”
Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“I wasn’t super happy with Practice 1. It was a fairly difficult session, and I also didn’t get a run on the Firestone Reds. Red flags kind of left us with a question mark on those tires, but what are you going to do. Pato and Alexander seemed fairly happy. We kind of diverted on setup before the weekend to see which one was best, and I think mine definitely wasn’t, so we’ll probably go to one of their cars and go from there.”
Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“It was a very good start to the weekend. We’re in the window. We know where the time to be found is, and we’ll just work on a couple things overnight and hopefully stay on top of the conditions as they change tomorrow.”
Gavin Ward, Race Director at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“Decent start to the weekend for the team. Pato (O’Ward) and Alexander (Rossi) are right up there in the mix. We have a little more to find, but we’ll get to work on that. Felix (Rosenqvist) was a little bit less comfortable in the car, but the good news is that he has a couple good references to look at in his teammates, so I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”
WILL POWER, driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet – End of Day Press Conference:
THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up first practice session. Joined now by the two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion, Will Power.
Good start to the weekend, Will. Your thoughts?
WILL POWER: Yeah, good start. Certainly had good cars here last year. Just the race is a very different story to being quick in practice and qualifying.
Yep, good start. Long weekend. But very determined to start at the front. That’s been the issue. Starting at the front in Iowa is okay, but it’s very easy to pass there. If I wasn’t the first across the line in Toronto, would have been starting certainly better than sixth, maybe first. Then you have a legitimate shot at the win, otherwise you don’t.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Will.
Q. Last race on this quirky layout. From a driver standpoint, would it mean anything to kind of conquer this type of layout before you go to the new layout next year?
WILL POWER: Just to win a race in this series is just a big deal, so… Winning a race would be amazing. Yeah, I was blown away at the announcement yesterday. I actually didn’t know that, that we’d be going down what’s the name of the street – Broadway – yeah, that’s pretty special, pretty cool. It will be a big finale. A lot of celebration afterwards with all those bars around.
Q. How is your thumb? Did that actually damage the car at all?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it didn’t look like it, but I would change the front corner. They’ll probably change it. You can’t sort of have a hit like that. Just got it, locked up a bit, boom.
Yeah, thumb is good.
Q. Since it didn’t bend or break anything, does that actually make it worse? Had it not broken, would have gotten all that force to your hand?
WILL POWER: I think if you break it, you’re probably in harder. When it grabs, goes all the way around, it’s sort of…
I think it did it quick. Got the end there. Wasn’t terrible. Yeah, it’s fine. It’s fine. Just a little tight.
Q. You were also the fastest guy in the session, by a quarter of a second.
WILL POWER: A lot of the quick guys did get a run on their reds. But greens… And I was pushing, yeah. I haven’t been down runoffs this year. Trying to push the limit a little bit.
It was the second run, too. It surprised me that happened. Maybe it was ’cause it was the first lap, but… I didn’t go crazy deep. I just sort of grabbed the front, yeah, got to the wall.
Q. What is it like trying to game plan this race when two winners had six stops?
WILL POWER: Yeah, you can’t. There’s just really nothing you can do. It’s just like luck of the draw when it’s like that, when it’s that crazy.
Just one sort of yellow, yeah, you could try to play it safe. Man, you could start last and win it maybe the way it’s been easy. Maybe it goes completely normal. I thought that’s what would happen last year. Just didn’t. Surprised me. Just didn’t.
Q. Colton (Herta) was telling us last night that leading here isn’t fun because you’re waiting for something to go wrong.
WILL POWER: Yeah, you would expect there’s going to be a yellow. Just expect it. I mean, it’s unfortunate if you’re leading, but just know that’s going to be the deal.
Yeah, I’ve got a good pit box for yellow flag stops. If it goes full course, we’ve got a good pit box.
Q. It seems that at Mid-Ohio and Toronto the drivers have favored the primary tires over the alternates. What do you think would be the best strategy here? Do you remember what you did last year?
WILL POWER: Tires have been a bit softer this year, so it’s almost taking the soft tires out of play a bit. Sort of get them on, get rid of them. Whether you do that in the first stint, middle or last stint, depending on your risk level. If you’re starting way back there, you might start on them. If it goes yellow, get straight off them, pit, take them…
I mean, yeah, it’s kind of made the strategies mixed up. Been interesting, yeah.
Q. Was there any grinding to take away any of the bumps from last year?
WILL POWER: It’s the same, similar. The transition going into turn four is pretty good. Yeah, still the same, man. It’s pretty rough. When you’re at top speed and turning, you get roll bottoming. That’s where it’s really starting to hurt. Otherwise not terrible. It’s just those two spots, which is the end of the straights basically where you actually are having to turn, not just go straight.
Q. This is the one-year anniversary with the new tire. Does it amaze you they handle about as well as the reds did?
WILL POWER: Yeah, didn’t seem to be any compromise. I think it’s just the sidewall. Yeah, not surprised.
Q. The fact that Firestone has been able to really develop a tire, it’s a safe tire but it also degrades over a run, which helps safety and competition, the ability for engineers to be able to do that, does that amaze you sometimes?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s really important for us to have degradation. Just makes the racing better. They can make a tire that lasts forever, because they’re really good at what they do. I think they’re bringing a really good combination right now.
Q. I heard during the broadcast a comment I haven’t heard before. Could you maybe comment on that. It was mentioned how the track drives differently when you go over the bridge as opposed to when you come back over the bridge. Do you notice a difference yourself?
WILL POWER: The seam is a lot harsher coming back away from the city. You get a lot more bottoming heading to the braking zone. Just slightly different.
Yeah, probably just going further off the bridge. That’s why you go into a dip. Sort of bottoms even more, yeah. They’re harsh bumps come the second time over. It’s hard. You feel it