Source: Manufacturer PR

MARCH 9, 2024


Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, captured the season-opening NTT P1 Pole Award, the 17th of his NTT INDYCAR SERIES career, with his fastest lap of 59.5714 seconds on the Streets of St. Petersburg.

Newgarden’s NTT P1 Pole Award is Chevrolet’s 128th in the 2.2-liter twin turbo direct-injected V6 era since 2012, the ninth at St. Petersburg, and Newgarden’s first at this track.
Showcasing how tight the NTT INDYCAR SERIES field is, Newgarden’s NTT P1 Pole Award is the closest front row in the V6 era since 2012.

Chevrolet was represented by three drivers in the Firestone Fast Six, with Newgarden, Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward, and Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Romain Grosjean.

Four of the six Chevrolets in Group 1 finished in the top-six, with Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward, Team Penske’s Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, and Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin transferring to the second round of qualifying.

Grosjean and Team Penske’s Will Power transferred to Round 2 from Group 2, representing Chevrolet.
Newgarden led Team Chevy in a strong second practice session on the Streets of St. Petersburg this morning that saw six Chevrolet drivers finish in the top-10, including Power (third), O’Ward (fourth), Romain Grosjean (fifth), VeeKay (sixth), and McLaughlin (eighth).

Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race day starts with final warm up on the Streets of St. Petersburg at 9:10 a.m. ET, with the green flag dropping live on NBC at noon ET.

1st Josef Newgarden
3rd Pato O’Ward
5th Romain Grosjean
7th Rinus VeeKay
8th Will Power
9th Scott McLaughlin


Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“Man. I get jacked up every time I show up for an INDYCAR race. It’s an elevated level when you start out the year, because you just don’t know. You have no idea if you’re going to keep coming back in and producing results. It’s very difficult. You saw how tight it was, and I didn’t know this would come today. I just thought ‘Look, let’s get through Round 1, let’s get through Round 2, and then see what we can make happen in the Fast Six. Just really proud of this team. This is a rockstar team. I love everybody on it. I’m happy to be back. 2024, we’re starting right with Team Chevy and PPG. We’re here to go after it every weekend.”

“You have to give hats off to Team Chevy. They listen to every bit of feedback we had. They took a lot of meetings, and they delivered today. Everything we were asking for they made better all around, and it’s not easy to do that. We asked for a menu of items, and they were like ‘Okay, we’ll give you everything.’ You don’t always get that every year, and I just feel like they knew they had to do even more this offseason just like us. Chevrolet did their part, and us at Team Penske, what we needed to do with our chassis, we did the exact same thing. So us together, I think we can have a really strong year.”

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“Not a bad day for the DEX Imagine Chevy. We left a little bit out there. I think we could’ve easily made the Fast Six. We had a couple of little issues that were out of our control and held us back there. Overall, really solid start. We start P9, which it’s better than P19. We have a lot of cars to pass tomorrow. We’ll have fun. Good job to my teammate Josef (Newgarden) getting the pole. He made sure Chevy got a first pole of the year, which is really important for them, and hopefully we can add to the win tally in St. Pete tomorrow.”

Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“He had to back up and so I had to finish that second lap just to be eighth and then started my third lap kind of hurting, so I aborted it. Still, top-12 and P8. We can definitely race from there. The car has been really good all weekend and man you have to dig deep in these qualifying sessions. We will see what we can do tomorrow. I am very, very determined to have a good year and a good race, so it’s a good start. Anytime you are top-10 in this series, it’s pretty good, or top-12. We would have loved to get in the top six, but it’s so tight.”

How is it physically behind the wheel?
“Ah, brutal. Brutal honestly. It’s like a bloody sauna or a steam room. You are struggling in the car, but it is always like that in the first race. In the last race you are so race fit. That is the first time in the weekend when you have been digging deep for hundredths and you feel it coming in and I am like, ‘get the air on me’. Great series man. So, so tight. I really, really enjoy it.”

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren:
“We’re rolling off P3 tomorrow. Inside Row 2 was exactly where we were last year, so it is a great spot to have many options in the race. I’m pretty stoked about that. I think we will be in good shape to do some good things tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.”

Callum Ilott, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren:
Walk us around that first round of qualifying…
“Yeah, obviously not easy because its super tight here in INDYCAR. Arrow McLaren did a great job with this car and it’s a shame we didn’t transfer. We were very close, but looking up there early in the session, we just didn’t quite get there on the greens. It is what it is and we got to work it out for the race.”

When did the decision come to go with the greens? What is the difference in the hard primaries and the greens?
“They have more grip, and they are softer, and I think that is kind of the plan for everyone. A couple of the guys in the first group went with the greens to start with and did two sets. Obviously, the difference in the blacks and greens is you get more grip and a little more speed out of it.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren:
“That was very disappointing, because we had a pretty strong car. I was happy with the changes that we’ve made from yesterday and through the day today. We didn’t get a clear run on the Firestone Alternates, and it is so close that you can’t afford that. So, it is very unfortunate that we are so far back, but I do think the car is pretty strong. We’ll see what we can make of it tomorrow.”

Christian Rasmussen, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
“I’m happy with the progress we’re making over the weekend. There are a lot of firsts and it’s no easy task to step up into the NTT INDYCAR SERIES! First time with the green Firestone tires, it just takes some learning. Rinus (VeeKay) did an amazing job in qualifying, into the Fast 12 and almost the Fast 6! We have a good car and should be able to move forward in the race tomorrow. I’m just excited for my first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race! It’s something I’ve been working towards for many years now and it’s going to be very cool!”

Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
Was that a product of offseason work?
“It definitely was. The team put in a lot of effort, we’ve got new people on the team, and the group has become stronger. I know Team Chevy put a lot of effort in giving us more power and I feel like that definitely helped. I also looked in the mirror and looked at myself and tried to find weak spots and things to get better at. I think all those boxes have been checked of course. We felt like we made it into the Fast Six, but we did not again. Pretty close, but I feel like I was happy with my lap and have the whole weekend so far. The only race I won was from P7, so that is a good omen.”

You have been strong all weekend long. Where does this put your confidence going into tomorrow?
“It makes me very confident. I think I am a better racer than a qualifier, so as long as we can understand the tires and keep the tires underneath us, then I think we are going to have a great race. At least I have a lot less cars to pass and it’s nice to be ahead of the mess once in a while.”

Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“Honestly, our Sexton Chevrolet was on rails. We had more in it, but not being able to be in Practice 2, it’s no one’s fault. That’s the thing. It’s just some things that are unfortunate, but honestly, my boss Larry (Foyt) said go out and put it seventh, so we have all the tires in the world for strategy for the race tomorrow. Ask and you shall receive. We’re sitting pretty. Our car has a ton of pace. I’m looking forward to getting after it tomorrow.”

“From when we rolled out to now, we haven’t changed anything. I mean this is the exact same car that came out of the trailer. That is what we did at Indianapolis, and we fought to win. That is the goal this year and to start out this year like this, I am very, very confident.”

Sting Ray Robb, No. 41 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“Qualifying was okay. I’m disappointed in myself. I think there was a lot of time left in my driving. We kind of got kind of hurt by some other cars backing up into us on our second push. Unfortunately, we are not starting where I think we are capable of going. The car was really good. I’m really happy with the team, but we’re still going to bulid. I think there is a lot to learn. Everyone’s new on the team including myself. That communication and relationship is going to get better as the year goes on.”

Romain Grosjean, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“It is very satisfying. Last year, one (pole) was very special, and this year, I was hoping we could get into the Fast Six after P1, but I wasn’t quite sure about it. We made it in the Fast Six. We didn’t have the speed for the guys in the front, but anyway, I’m very proud of everything that’s been done. Chevy has been helping us a lot with data and on-track. Our team has worked a long way since Sebring where I wasn’t sure we’d be top-10 in qualifying, and here we are. I’m very happy with that. We have a good baseline.”

“It’s a very, very good qualifying. I still think we have some work to be done, but I think the guys have a very clear idea of where I think I want the improvement to be made, and that’s where we’re going to try.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“We had a good qualifying session. P20 isn’t really the reality of the car. I’m really happy with the time; only one-tenth off from the Fast 12, and three-and-a-half tenths with the leaders, so I’m really happy with the performance of the car with the team. Thank you to Team Chevy and to our team. I’m really confident we will have a good race tomorrow.”

Ricardo Juncos, Team Owner and Lead Strategist at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“I think now he is in P2 (in regards to Romain Grosjean in Group 2 of qualifying). Amazing job. We are all really happy to have someone like Romain Grosjean with us. I think he brings to the teams a lot of experience, and he’s been great for us, for the whole team. I think we have also Agustin (Canapino) in the top-six (of Round 1), but he missed a little bit of the last two corners. Until then, we were also in the top-six, so I think big improvement for the whole team.”