Archives for NTT IndyCar Series PR

“What They’re Saying” Heading Into The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “I’m really excited for the race at Laguna Seca. My guys on the Hitachi Chevy have given me great cars all year which has led to some success. Now, we just need to put everything together to try and finish the season with the championship. Laguna Seca is…

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NTT IndyCar Series Championship Scenarios – The Long and Short of it

With four drivers among the 24 entries in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey season finale vying for the NTT IndyCar Series championship, the number of permutations for finishing orders is endless. There are more than 255,000 finishing orders for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey and nearly 75 percent of those eliminate the three…

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News from INDYCAR: INDYCAR Owners Know What It Takes To Win At Laguna Seca

INDYCAR Owners Know What It Takes To Win At Laguna Seca INDIANAPOLIS (September 16, 2019) — While the NTT IndyCar Series will be making its debut at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca during this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, a group of current team owners enjoyed immense success on this scenic but demanding layout during…

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INDYCAR News, Notes & Happenings

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019) — INDYCAR News, Notes & Happenings is a quick-hitting, notebook designed to keep media apprised of the happenings in the NTT IndyCar Series and Road to Indy ladder program. Rossi: Title contenders must be ‘inch perfect’ in Laguna Seca quals A week from INDYCAR’s return to historic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca,…

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‘Top Takeaways…’ from the Grand Prix of Portland  at Portland International Raceway

INDIANAPOLIS (August 26, 2019) – Following Will Power’s victory in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway, here’s a look at the “Top Takeaways” coming out of the penultimate round of the NTT IndyCar Series season. Title Table Now Set Sixteen of the 17 NTT IndyCar Series races for the season are in the…

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Power wins Grand Prix of Portland, helps teammate in title race

Team Penske was the big winner in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway.

Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) drove away with the race victory – his second in as many NTT IndyCar Series races — while teammate Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet) extended his lead in the championship standings heading to the season finale Sunday, Sept. 22 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.

Newgarden could be on a Scott Dixon-like path to the title. Last year, Dixon avoided major contact in a first-corner incident here to finish fifth. Sunday, Newgarden did virtually the same thing, braking to avoid two cars tangling in front of him in an opening-lap melee before going on to finish fifth.

“Maybe we’ve got Scott’s mojo,” Newgarden said.

CLICK IT: Official results

Dixon’s current mojo isn’t good. A week after having his car’s radiator punctured in the race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Dixon’s No. 9 PNC Bank Honda suffered a battery failure while leading this race on Lap 52. He had a three-second lead at the time; the pit stop dropped him three laps behind. He finished 16th.

“I just hate giving away an easy win like that,” Dixon said.

Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) and Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Chevrolet) finished third and seventh, respectively, and were unable to help their title chances much. Newgarden, the 2017 champion, holds a 41-point lead on Rossi, a 42-point lead on Pagenaud and pushed Dixon (minus-85) closer to championship elimination heading into the season-ending, double points race.

Newgarden can secure the Astor Cup and the $1 million bonus by finishing fourth or better in the Monterey, Calif., race.

“It would be nice if (the finale) wasn’t double points, but it is and we knew that from the start of the season,” he said. “We will have to make the most of it. I don’t think it will be easy.”

Newgarden and Pagenaud started deep in the 23-car field after qualifying 13th and 18th, respectively, which put them in peril if a first-turn accident occurred. And it did happen when Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal (No. 15 One Cure Honda) bounced into the side of Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda). Newgarden braked hard and kept his car unscathed, but a trailing Pagenaud spun from a hit from Carlin’s Max Chilton (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet). Fortunately for Pagenaud, his car sustained no significant damage and he was able to continue.

Power’s first victory at this 12-turn, 1.964-mile track was sweet for several reasons. In addition to being the 37th of his Indy car career – he tied Sebastien Bourdais for sixth place in the sport’s history – it was the first win at the track where he made his Indy car testing debut in 2005.

“I remember thinking I wish I could get paid to do this,” Power said.

Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 NTT DATA Honda) matched his season best with a second-place finish. Rossi finished third with NTT P1 Award winner Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda), a series rookie driving for Harding Steinbrenner Racing, finishing fourth.

INDYCAR concludes its 17-race season with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday, Sept. 22. Television coverage will begin on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. PT local) with the green flag scheduled for 3:15 p.m. (12:15 p.m. local). Live radio broadcasts will be available on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM 205, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970).

‘What They’re Saying’ from Grand Prix of Portland Race

Top-10 Finishers

1st – WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a pretty tough race for the Verizon Chevy. (Felix) Rosenqvist caused some pressure. At the end, we could slowly pull away and I felt like ‘Oh yeah, this is going to be good,” and then we got that yellow flag and I’m like ‘Oh, come on, man!’ But I was determined to get a good restart and just so stoked to get into Victory Lane. It helps the teams and the other guys take some points away. Awesome. I’m exhausted. I’m mentally exhausted. We’ve had plenty of what-if years. We will just race right now how we will race next year. It is so good to go into next year with a couple of wins.”

2nd – FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I thought it was a great race for us in the NTT DATA Honda. I think we were stronger than Chevy on fuel mileage. The team really did a nice job. We had really good pace on the red tires, but Will Power and Penske did a little bit better on black tires. We moved up from P5 to P2 and it’s a strong result. We still have another chance to win at Laguna and that’s what I’ll be focused on in a few weeks.”

3rd – ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “It is not that I wanted more, I just wanted less for (Josef Newgarden). The No. 27 NAPA Andretti Honda boys did a good job. We maximized what we had. I don’t think we had a race-winning car today, unfortunately. Starting in seventh and finishing on the podium is a good day. We finished in front of our championship rival. It will be pretty intense in California, but I am looking forward to it.”

4th – COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda): “The Grand Prix of Portland was an up-and-down day for the No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda team. I had a blast leading 37 laps of the race today and our pace was really quick. The car was great and our strategy was there, but our pace on the red tires during the first stint of the race just wasn’t there. I really feel we could have won the race, but I’m overall happy with fourth as it’s our second-best finish of the year. Looking forward to racing a Laguna Seca in a couple weeks!”

5th – JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “Where we finished is about what we could hope for on a 13th place start.  We got kind of in the mess at the start. That is the risky part when you qualify 13th.  You can end up in the mess like we did at the beginning.  Fortunately, we didn’t hit anything.  We kept going and that was the most important part of the day. Then we just worked on making the most of the rest of the day. Climbing into the top five was what we had from where we started, as I said. It was a good day for the guys. The Hitachi car was quick at the end.  We weren’t too quick at the start, but towards the end it got better and it helped us get positions we needed. Chevy did a great job as always. Can’t be disappointed with fifth. Overall a solid day to head to the finale.

6th – SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet): “It turned out to be not too bad of a race. After getting hit in the first corner, I did not think we would have much of a chance after that. We definitely had damage to the car, but it handled alright. We were able to have some good pit stops, good strategy and ultimately good pace. We got through the field and worked our way up to sixth, which is not bad considering where we were after the first lap. It makes you think ‘What could have been?’ but hopefully we can have another strong race at Laguna Seca.”

7th – SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “(Scott) Dixon has done it from 45 points back, so we’re in it. It’s awesome to go to Laguna with a chance at the championship. I’m determined. We had a really good race today despite all the problems at the start. It was eventful, but a great day for Chevy and Team Penske. It’s the championship so you have to be there. So even when days are tough… rebounding from 18th to finish seventh was a really good performance. We made all right decisions in the race. The Menards Chevy felt really good, which is good for next year when we come back. But the biggest thing is that we are in it. We’re going to Laguna at a chance at the championship, which is really exciting. Anything can happen there with double points. Anything is possible.”

8th – MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Tough but pretty good race for us here at Portland. Since the beginning we decided to do a different strategy (from the No. 14 car) and we went for a two-stop strategy and I think it worked pretty well for us. We had to save fuel for most of the race and we were consistently running in the top 10. On the last yellow as we were the last car on the lead lap, we decided to come in and put new alternate tires on and went out 10th and finished eighth. So I think it was a decent job, another top 10 for me and a good job for the team, too. The guys did a pretty good strategy and a pretty good job in the pits, so I’m proud of everybody. Let’s go for the last one.”

9th – SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “The No. 18 SealMaster Honda was really competitive and we had the fastest lap of the race. I was really happy with it… We fought hard, passed a bunch of guys and put ourselves back in contention to finish sixth. Then we had some drama with the fueling. A valve didn’t operate like it was supposed to and it took what felt like an eternity to fill the car, so we lost all the positions we had made on track. I made a couple of them back and got to eighth, but at the end (Matheus) Leist pitted for new tires and I had pushed so hard to get to Simon (Pagenaud), I had nothing left on my tires and I lost a position during the final restart.”

10th – CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Carlin Chevrolet): “First and foremost, I can’t say enough about this Carlin team. They worked so hard all weekend to give us the opportunity to go and race for a top-10 finish with the No. 23 Carlin Chevrolet. I just had to take care of business in the cockpit and hit the fuel numbers they were giving me over the radio. Obviously, we were able to miss a lot of the chaos and carnage that happened at the start of the race, which was nice and we just had really great pit stops and a great car. Week in and week out this team just puts in such a big effort and I can’t thank them enough. I’m really looking forward to carrying this momentum into the season finale at Laguna Seca and hopefully ending the season on a high note.”

Remainder of Drivers (alphabetical – with finishing position):

MARCO ANDRETTI (Finished 13th – No. 98 Oberto Circle K / Curb Honda): “We just didn’t have the pace for the top six, but we were comfortably in a top-seven position. We got held up a little in the pits on our last stop which allowed (Simon) Pagenaud to have a go on me on cold tires, then he drove me off track. I wasn’t just going to let him go by, I had to put up a fight for my position. What should have been seventh or eighth for the Oberto team ended up as 13th.”

MAX CHILTON (Finished 11th – No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “Not a bad day for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet and the Gallagher crew. Thankfully, we stayed out of the mess at the beginning of the race and we were able to make up quite a bit of positions by avoiding any damage. After that, we really just needed to stick to our strategy and keep as consistent as we could. The car was strong and the guys did a great job in pit lane getting me in and out quickly. Obviously, I would’ve liked to have come away with a top-10 finish today and we were definitely knocking on the door of it, but I’d say we can be proud of the progress we made throughout the race weekend.”

CONOR DALY (Finished 21st – No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda):“Overall, we have to focus on the positives from this weekend. Great qualifying – all the team cars were in the top 10. It was a true pleasure working with this team again. Great people, great partner in Arrow Electronics. Sometimes we can’t control some of the factors in these races and sadly (teammate) James (Hinchcliffe) and I got caught up in someone else’s mistake. Our cars were quick, we were on for a good race and it is a shame, but definitely thankful for this chance.”

SCOTT DIXON (Finished 16th – No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “Obviously, not the result that we wanted with the PNC Bank car. We had a great car and it was clean sailing out front for us in the lead. The team did a great job. We just lost power and when that happens you can’t shift and you can’t use the clutch. Luckily, we were able to get to pit lane so the crew could get us to the pit box. I just hate giving away an easy win like that. Congrats to (teammate) Felix (Rosenqvist) on the result and finishing second. I think that’s the second time he’s done that in just the past few races, so good job there. The last two races haven’t been the best in terms of luck for us, but we’ll just focus now on winning at Laguna Seca.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI (Finished 17th – No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): “The day started pretty well as we were able to avoid a massive pile up in Turn 1 at the start. After that, we decided to try a different strategy but it didn’t quite pan out for us and near the end of the race. We had an electrical issue that put an early end to our race. It’s unfortunate because we were on our way to another top-10 finish and that puts us in a hard place going into Laguna for the rookie championship. We’ll bounce back and do our best at the season finale in a few weeks.”

JACK HARVEY (Finished 19th – No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda): “My day was unfortunately cut pretty short. I had a great start and was able to get into P3 on the exit of Turn 2, and then on the restart I lost a place to Will Power who was on (Firestone) reds and I was on blacks. I knew that I was far enough away from Ryan (Hunter-Reay) that I actually deactivated push to pass because I was so clear into the corner. The No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda showed great pace all weekend and we have made some real good gains this year. I am proud of everyone this weekend. It’s just disappointing that we weren’t able to get the result today that we deserved.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (Finished 20th – No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I had an OK start, was nice and clear into Turn 1, and then just got broadsided. I guess Graham (Rahal) got into the back of Zach (Veach)… I watched the replay and Graham’s right-side tires are on the white line. If no other cars were there, he wouldn’t physically get through Turn 1. I don’t know what he was thinking. This is frustrating. Third race in a row we’ve been hit on Lap 1. I was joking with the guys – I think we should actually paint a target on our car so maybe we don’t get hit. It’s unfortunate. We just can’t catch a break. Conor (Daly) did an incredible job jumping in this weekend and putting the Arrow car into the top 10, and I think we had more pace than we were able to show in qualifying, so we were really excited for the race. I think we were going to be able to move up and be competitive. We’ll never know.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (Finished 18th – No. 28 DHL Honda): “I feel terrible for the team. I was racing (Alexander) Rossi and got caught up in the fight, then broke too deep. I missed it by a good half a marker in the braking and got into Jack Harvey – feel bad for them. Apologies to the team, to DHL, AutoNation and our partners. We should have had a pretty good day today. This is one on me.”

ED JONES (Finished 14th – No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet): “We did a good job avoiding the on-track incidents today to help us gain many positions over where we started. We made good progress throughout the weekend, though we didn’t get the car quite to an optimal place for the race. I’m hoping to have a better outing at the season finale!”

TONY KANAAN (Finished 12th – No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Good start, awesome start actually. It’s a shame on the strategy, we missed the boat on that and I have no control over that so after that I just hung in there. Good job for the team though, two cars in the top 12. That was always the goal so it looks like we’re getting stronger towards the end of the season, which is good. I’m happy for Matt (Leist), he drove a great race. They got the strategy right and it put him in the top eight. Let’s move to Laguna and see what we can do.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (Finished 23rd – No. 15 One Cure Honda): “I messed up. I misjudged it bad and took it on the chin. To be honest, I lost my depth there a little bit in the pack. Obviously, I misjudged it by not just a little, but by quite a lot. I’m disappointed, not just for myself but also for the guys we affected. It hurt (teammate) Takuma (Sato) as well.  At the start, the pace was fine and all that, but I screwed up. I’m sorry for One Cure and everyone else.”

TAKUMA SATO (Finished 15th – No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “All I could see was just a mess in front of me (on the start). I tried to avoid everything, but somebody’s car went outside and straight into the escape road so I couldn’t turn hard left. All I could do was just go straight, and unfortunately a car went inside coming toward me, which I couldn’t avoid, so we had a damaged sidepod, aero and toe link. So, we had to repair it and I ended up two laps down.  We tried everything we could, but we gained a few positions as some retired but it was a tough day for us.”

ZACH VEACH (Finished 22nd – No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “A frustrating day. The start was a bit messy, kind of had that stop and go thing. We got off to a good start and I passed a few cars on the inside going into (Turn) 1, then I just got hit with a rocket launcher from behind. We were going to stop and make the corner well enough, then I gained another 40 mph from someone hitting me. I hated it for the guys involved. Once I got hit, I was basically a missile into the mess of the pack.”

Return to Richmond Raceway Headlines 17-Race 2020 NTT IndyCar Series Schedule

The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series schedule is highlighted by a return to Richmond Raceway and eight of the 17 races featured on NBC, INDYCAR officials announced today.

Richmond Raceway will return to the NTT IndyCar Series schedule for the first time since 2009 and will be the only new addition on the 2020 schedule. The three-quarter-mile Virginia oval will play host under the lights on Saturday, June 27, and be the 11th race on the season.

CLICK IT: 2020 NTT IndyCar Series Schedule

“We are pleased to return to the Mid-Atlantic region, one we know to be full of INDYCAR fans,” INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles said. “We’re also excited to return to historic Richmond Raceway, which was recently reimagined with a $30 million redevelopment project that modernized the infield for a better fan experience.”

The two-day race weekend will fall on the same weekend utilized for the previous nine NTT IndyCar Series races at Richmond dating back to 2001.

“Richmond Raceway’s history in motorsports dates back to 1946 when the track hosted two AAA Championship Car events,” Richmond Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier said. “After hosting INDYCAR from 2001-2009, we now look forward to the return of the NTT IndyCar Series for our fans at America’s Premier Short Track as part of a Mid-Atlantic festival of speed on June 26-27, 2020.”

The 2020 season marks the second full season with the NBC Sports Group, which will air the races live on NBC and NBCSN in addition to programming on NBC Sports Gold. The coverage will feature eight races on NBC, including a crescendo to the finish and NTT P1 Award qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. The remaining nine races will air on NBCSN.

For the 10th consecutive year, the NTT IndyCar Series season will kick off on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, on Sunday, March 15. The opener on the scenic waterfront 1.8-mile temporary street circuit in the Gulf Coast city first hosted Indy cars in 2003 and has continuously since 2005.

The season will conclude for the second consecutive year at the historic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca road course, where the championship-deciding race will be held Sunday, Sept. 20 – again on NBC.

Other nuances to the schedule:

  • The Circuit of The Americas race, which was the second race of this season, will move to the fourth slot and be held Sunday, April 26.
  • After running the oval race at Iowa Speedway (Saturday, July 18), the series will have a three-week break as NBC and NBCSN focus on televising the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course returns to one of its traditional weekends, moving from Sunday, July 28, this season to Sunday, Aug. 16, next year. This will begin NBC’s crescendo to the finale, with three of the final four races on network television (Mid-Ohio, Portland and Laguna Seca).
  • The break between the final two races of the season will be reduced from two weeks to one. The Grand Prix of Portland will be held Sunday, Sept. 6, while the Monterey race is set for Sunday, Sept. 20. Both will air on NBC.

The NTT IndyCar Series showcases a diversity of tracks with a schedule comprised of seven held on permanent road courses, five on temporary street circuits and five on oval tracks.

  • The centerpiece of the schedule will be the Month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, featuring the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24. The month will open with the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the speedway’s 2.439-mile road course on Saturday, May 9. Qualifying for the 500 is set for Saturday, May 16, and Sunday, May 17.
  • The street race in Long Beach (Sunday, April 19) returns in April for a 37th consecutive year, which is second only to the Indianapolis 500 for most years in succession of Indy car races on the current schedule. Toronto’s Exhibition Place, another tenured event on the schedule, returns for a 36th year with its race on Sunday, July 12.
  • After celebrating its 10th INDYCAR race earlier this year, Barber Motorsports Park will host the NTT IndyCar Series on Sunday, April 5.
  • The Raceway at Belle Isle Park will host a doubleheader for the eighth consecutive year (Saturday-Sunday, May 30-31), both of which will be televised on NBC.
  • Texas Motor Speedway continues its tradition dating to 1997 of hosting a Saturday night summer race (June 6). In addition to Richmond, the NTT IndyCar Series will race Saturday night at Iowa Speedway (July 18) and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Aug. 22).
  • Road America again offers the season’s largest track at 4.048 miles, with the race set for Sunday, June 21, on NBC.

Broadcast times will be announced at a later date, but all track activity and additional exclusive content will be available on NBC Sports Gold, the direct-to-consumer product that brings subscribers closer to the NTT IndyCar Series than ever before.

‘What They’re Saying’ from Grand Prix of Portland Qualifying

Top-10 Qualifiers

1st – COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda): “I am so happy! We left it right until the end, so everyone was all tense and I think that made it much sweeter. Before I knew we won the pole position I went on the radio and heard everyone cheering, so to find out that way was really cool. This is awesome. We have really great race pace, so I think we can take the No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda car to victory lane!”

2nd – WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The lockup screwed me. Flat spotted the tire. Any left-handers, you really paid for it. But still happy to be P2 in the Verizon Chevy.  It was my fault for not warming the brakes a bit more.  It is tough when you have to pump them out straight-away. P2 – you can definitely win from there.  We need a win. We will go for it tomorrow. Colton owes me a win from COTA so maybe he will let me go.”

3rd – SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “Honestly the biggest struggle we had was going from set to set of tires and making the adjustments. We nearly got knocked out of the second qualifying segment. We had some additional understeer later on in the runs. Obviously, we have a good starting spot and the top three in the championship aren’t up there with us, so we have to make the most out of every point we can grab tomorrow from them in the race with PNC Bank car.”

4th – JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda): “We are a part-time team, so to get into the Firestone Fast Six, it’s a really great accomplishment for everyone at Meyer Shank Racing. We have learned some really great things this weekend and we have progressed really well and the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM car has been fast. We had a good race brewing here last year, but a yellow flag hurt us. We put ourselves in a good position to try to replicate last year’s race. I’m proud of what this team has achieved and hopefully we can finish a couple of spots better tomorrow and end up on the podium.”

5th – FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It was a tough and close qualifying session. Every stage there was just thousandths of a second separating everyone. I didn’t really feel 100 percent with the car and with my driving. It didn’t feel like we had a pole car in the NTT DATA Honda, but we have a great starting spot to get to the podium.”

6th – RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “I think we had a pretty good day all-in-all. We made some gains in the car going into qualifying. In Group 1, we were up there in the front and then in Round 2 we advanced to the (Firestone) Fast Six, so that was good. In the Fast Six, we thought just for the sake of being different, rolling the dice and trying to go for a strategy that was different than the others and went for (Firestone) black primaries. It wasn’t the flavor of choice this afternoon. The other five in the Fast Six were all on the (Firestone) Reds. We were kind of the sitting duck on Blacks. It is what it is and we tried to go for it. Tomorrow the DHL team is going to put forth 110 percent and go for the win.”

7th – ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “We made some changes ahead of the second session. We wouldn’t have made those changes if we didn’t think it was the right decision to get us in to the Firestone Fast Six. I think missing out on advancing is an indication to how close the NTT IndyCar Series is and you have got to nail it every lap of every session. We missed it but we will get after tonight and make the car better.”

8th – JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda):“Honestly I’m pretty disappointed with eighth. I think we had a lot more in the No. 5 Arrow car. That second set of red tires [Firestone alternates] had way more understeer than we were expecting. The balance was a little better in the first round… we even added front wing to try to take care of it, but the fronts just didn’t hold on for us. With how close the times are, you have to be absolutely perfect. We set our best time on Lap 3, the tires were definitely better on Lap 2, so it was just getting used to the handling of the car. Unfortunate, but we can certainly race from there.”

9th – CONOR DALY (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I am honestly just super happy. This has been a tough battle for me obviously getting used to this car and the track. I think we can be super proud of that. The Arrow SPM engineers worked with me on making the car more suitable for me and the way I prefer to drive. It’s a team effort, this game, and we’re in the top 10 which is awesome. I’m just really thrilled to be a part of this operation this weekend and I can’t wait for the race.”

10th – SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet): “We definitely made some improvements today and had our best session of the weekend during qualifying. All of the practice sessions were tough, but it’s encouraging we moved in the right direction when it counted. We still have a few things we want to improve on and get better at, but overall we are pleased with where we will be starting.”

Remainder of Drivers (alphabetical – with qualifying position):

MARCO ANDRETTI (Qualified 16th – No. 98 Oberto Circle K / Curb Honda): “It’s like we have been just on the wrong side of that tenth of a second that put us out. The whole field is so competitive and the times are just so tight. The lap time that I did [in Round 1, Group 2] was actually faster than some of the [Firestone] Fast Six times [from Round 2]. We are just on the wrong side of that tenth. We’ll have some work to do with the Oberto Circle K car tomorrow, but we’ll fight hard and work to gain some spots.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (Qualified 12th – No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “We were working a P2 qualifying lap when we had a fuel issue. We’re not sure what caused it, but it wasn’t engine-related. The No. 18 SealMaster Honda had good pace. The guys did a good job. We had a Firestone Fast Six car. Things happen, that’s racing. We’ll get after it tomorrow, do the best we can and get the best result possible.”

MAX CHILTON (Qualified 20th – No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “We obviously aren’t happy with our qualifying result today for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. It’s difficult because I felt like my fast lap was one of the best laps I’d done in a long time. The car felt really strong and I was honestly surprised when they told me where we’d ended up. We just need to have a look tonight at all of the data and try to find what’s missing and what we need to do work our way to the front tomorrow.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI (Qualified 14th – No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): “Qualifying went well but we just didn’t have enough in our No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda today. We’re trying really hard, but the margins are so small here between all cars and we didn’t have what it takes to move into the next round. We’ll start from 14th and just have to pass some cars. Our race cars have normally been good all year, so I’m not too worried about it for tomorrow.”

ED JONES (Qualified 23rd – No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet): “It is a disappointing qualifying result, for sure. We had expected to be much higher up and it’s surprising how it ended up. We will definitely have our work out for us tomorrow, but hopefully we can have a good strategy and get back towards the other end of the field.”

TONY KANAAN (Qualified 19th – No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “It’s kind of bittersweet because if you look at the lap times, we’re only a tenth-and-a-half from the top 12. That’s the closest we’ve been all year. We improved the car a lot but it’s that little bit. I’m happy because the boys did everything right, we timed qualifying right to have the right tire choice. We went quicker than we went in the morning, so it was a step in the right direction. I’m excited. I think we’re coming from a great momentum, everybody’s uplifted (from Gateway) and I’m excited for tomorrow.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (Qualified 22nd – No. 23 Carlin Chevrolet): “I’m disappointed with our qualifying result for sure. I don’t think Max or I like being 20th or 22nd, but I’d say we’ve gotten more competitive over the course of the weekend. I really appreciate all of the work the (No.) 23 Carlin crew has put in, especially getting me back up to speed with turning right and making the No. 23 Carlin Chevrolet better and better every session. We definitely have more to show for tomorrow. We were able to come from 25th to seventh last year, so I’m confident we can go from 22nd to the top 10 again this year. It’s just going to come down to smart strategy calls and good speed when we need it.”

MATHEUS LEIST (Qualified 21st – No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Practice 3 was actually decent and gave us some direction and some things to think about. In qualifying I think my black tire pace was pretty good, but we didn’t have a good run on the reds and that was it. We’re going to work on the reds (setup) for tomorrow and see if we can have a good race.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (Qualified 13th – No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “I knew it was going to be tough. You just can’t make a mistake and I made a couple of them there. I got wide on the curb coming off of (Turn) 7 and probably dropped a tenth (of a second) on one lap and dropped another tenth on the final corner on the next. It was going to be close, and you just can’t afford a tenth. That’s Portland – that’s how it was last year. I knew it was going to be the same way this year, but our Hitachi Chevy is good. It was fast all weekend and Chevy has done a great job. We’ve just got to race hard.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (Qualified 18th – No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “We just don’t have the speed – we lacked a little bit of speed there in qualifying. It’s about putting the lap together and I think it was very difficult to do so. It’s a shame. You don’t want to be here but that’s the way it is. You’ve got to fight your way and we’ll fight strong in the race in the Menards Chevy. We’ve got a really good car on long runs. I’ve got a fantastic crew on the pit stops and an amazing strategist. Anything can happen – you saw it last year. You’ve just got to fight.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (Qualified 15th – No. 15 One Cure Honda): “We go on about impeding progress and that’s a big thing in qualifying. The first lap, second lap maximum are where these tires are their best. To start my first flyer, I was six seconds behind him (Veach) and to finish it, I was under one second.  To be five seconds off on your first flyer is ridiculous and it killed our run.  And the lap was solid, it was a low nine (57.9), so I knew I had to finish it but then I was up his gearbox and that was it. I’m disappointed. On the blacks (primary tires) in particular, I thought our car was very good. I think we were less than a tenth off.  The One Cure machine is going to have some work to do tomorrow. I think our race car will be good though.”

TAKUMA SATO (Qualified 17th – No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “We tried to have a good qualifying (run) but it seems that we didn’t have enough speed to get into the next round. The field is extremely tight. We’re talking about two-hundredths of a second to make it to the next segment.  We thought we had quite a good car today so it’s a shame that we didn’t move on, but I feel very positive for the race. We will try to make tomorrow a good one.”

ZACH VEACH (Qualified 11th – No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “Qualifying was a pretty good session for us. This morning we made changes that we weren’t really happy with and ended up 16th. We unloaded in qualifying with a car that was much better and it just kept coming to us. I feel bad for the guys because we were on a lap that should have put us in the (Firestone) Fast Six. We were well past the point we needed to be at for the Fast Six, but I kept pushing for more and dropped the wheel and lost three or four tenths (of a second). It’s my fault that we are starting 11th when we have a car that should be starting in the top six or at least the top 10.”

Herta claims NTT P1 Award for Grand Prix of Portland

A trio of NTT IndyCar Series championship contenders facing challenging starting positions in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland was the only thing to possibly upstage what rookie Colton Herta did at Portland International Raceway.

Herta, the second-generation Indy car standout driving for Harding Steinbrenner Racing, put his No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda on the pole for the second time this season. Herta won the NTT P1 Award by besting pole whiz Will Power of Team Penske (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) with a final lap of 57.8111 seconds (122.302 mph).

Power, who said he flat-spotted his tires on the next-to-last lap of the Firestone Fast Six round, settled for a lap of 57.8303 seconds (122.261 mph) as the two drivers exchanged the top spot three times in the final seconds of qualifying.

RESULTS: Grand Prix of Portland qualifying

“We left it right until the end, so everyone was all tense, and I think that made it much sweeter,” Herta said. “Before I knew we won the pole position, I went on the radio and heard everyone cheering so to find out that way was really cool.”

Herta, 19, became the youngest pole winner in Indy car history when he topped qualifying June 22 at Road America. He became the youngest race winner when he took the checkered flag March 24 at Circuit of The Americas.

Meanwhile, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda) was the only member of the four championship contenders to reach the Firestone Fast Six. He qualified third at 57.8355 seconds (122.250 mph), meaning the top three qualifiers had best laps separated by 0.0244 of a second.

The top three in the standings — Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet) and Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Chevrolet) of Team Penske along with Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) – all struggled in qualifying. Newgarden and Pagenaud didn’t advance from the first round of knockout qualifying and will start 13th and 18th, respectively, in a 23-car field. Rossi qualified seventh.

Given the narrowness of the 12-turn, 1.964-mile circuit and its imposing first corner, all three must be alert to first-lap trouble that has collected so many talented drivers in the past. Last year, a crash in Turn 3 collected five cars, including Dixon, who somehow kept his engine running and emerged from the heavy cloud of dust to stay on the lead lap. He finished fifth even with a pit road speeding penalty.

“You always have to believe – and you have to fight,” Pagenaud said. “Anything can happen; we saw that last year.”

Newgarden enters Sunday’s 105-lap race with a 38-point lead over Pagenaud. His margin over Rossi is 46 points, and 70 ahead of Dixon.

“I knew it was going to be tough,” Newgarden said of qualifying. “You just can’t make a mistake, and I made a couple of them there. I got wide on the curb coming off (Turn) 7 and probably dropped a tenth (of a second) on one lap and dropped another tenth on the final corner on the next.

“It was going to be close and you just can’t afford (to lose) a tenth. That’s Portland. That’s how it was last year; I knew it was going to be the same this year.”

Rossi missed advancing to the Firestone Fast Six by 0.0277 seconds.

“It’s another indication of how close the NTT IndyCar Series is,” he said. “You’ve got to nail it every lap of every session. We missed it, but we’ll have to get after it tonight and make it better.”

Sunday’s live race coverage on NBC begins at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT local) with the green flag at approximately 3:45 p.m. Live radio broadcasts will be available on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM 205, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970).

The Grand Prix of Portland is the penultimate race of the NTT IndyCar Series season. The 17th and final race will be the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 22.

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