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JUNE 3, 2023


  • Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske, led the Chevrolet teams in the Firestone Fast Six to finish second with his lap of 1:02.1592, and will start from the front row for tomorrow’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the streets of Detroit.
  • Only 0.300 separated NTT P1 Pole Award winner Alex Palou and the Bowtie brand driver of McLaughlin.
  • McLaughlin’s Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet, joined him to battle it out for the pole award in the Firestone Fast 6.
  • Team Penske’s Will Power and Arrow McLaren INDYCAR’s Felix Rosenqvist transferred from Group 1 in Round 1 to the top-12.
  • McLaughlin, Arrow McLaren INDYCAR’s Pato O’Ward, and Newgarden transferred from Group 1 in Round 2 to the top-12.


Pos.  Driver

2nd    Scott McLaughlin

5th     Josef Newgarden

7th     Will Power

9th     Felix Rosenqvist

10th   Pato O’Ward


Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“Just didn’t quite have the pace in the Gallagher Chevy, but look, we’ll have plenty of pace tomorrow in the race. I think we’re already good on tires. I love this track to be honest. A lot of fun. First Detroit Grand Prix and a lot of energy here, so really excited for what’s ahead. Full credit to Alex (Palou) and his team – great job. We’ll see. It’s going to be hard on the outside into (Turn) 1 and into 3, but we’ll just put the elbows out and see what we get coming out of three.”

Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“We didn’t think we had another lap. We started the lap. No, that wasn’t (a miscommunication). It was my mistake. I made a little mistake into there, aborted the lap, and the realized that is my last lap. And then we had another shot at it. We certainly had the pace. Seventh ain’t bad. It’s on the inside. It’s pretty bumpy there on the out, the other side. But yeah, we’ll see. You don’t know how these races are going to go. It’s a pretty wild track. Sometimes it doesn’t matter where you qualify. It’s all good, it’s all good. The Verizon Chevy crew has done a great job all month. I made a little mistake in Indy and I made a little mistake there. Just a super competitive series.”

If you had to look at the race tomorrow, how do you think it will play out?

“I don’t know. Sometimes you think it’s going to be yellow and it doesn’t. I would say it’s going to be pretty hectic. We think like Nashville potentially.”

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“A bit disappointing. We felt really good in practice, and just, we couldn’t go faster for some reason. We’ll look into it. We probably missed a little bit on pressures, or tire warm up, but yeah, we definitely didn’t have a ½ second in there.”

What do you think this race will be tomorrow? Will it have the chaos everybody is predicting?

“I think it’ll be about survival, yeah. Is it going to be as crazy as Nashville? I don’t know. Does it have the potential to be as crazy as Nashville? Absolutely. I think tomorrow is all about survival. I think it’ll be tricky with the blend line where it is, and when the yellows fall, people taking it or not taking it, I think it’ll be definitely interesting.”

Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“The car was quick. Maybe not as quick as some, but I think we didn’t execute. I didn’t feel happy with my lap. I kept making mistakes in Turn 2 and Turn 7. I just didn’t really get the proper corner and, you know in this field if you want transfer, you can’t be doing that? I’m a bit disappointed with myself and just wasn’t really vibing with a car, too many mistakes. Something we have to work on. But anyways, starting P9 is, you know, top-10 is not too bad. Don’t want to be in the back, don’t want to be P15 or be 20th. So that’s good. I think anything can happen here, especially with strategy and stuff and short-term planning and we’ll open up for some interesting strategies. We’ll see where we can go from there.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“It’s disappointing to miss it by that much. On that last lap there, I brushed the wall out of Turn 2, so that for sure cost us as well. It’s disappointing. I feel like the Arrow McLaren Chevy has been good this weekend. Practice 2, we didn’t really get a read on anything so went into qualifying a little bit guessing. We should have transferred. Unfortunate, but we’ll just have to make up for it tomorrow.”

With traffic, and the course overall, is this one of the toughest and most challenging qualifying sessions of the year?

“No, I don’t think so. I just think it’s going to be tougher for everyone, not just me. With really not having a Practice 2 to get an understanding the car. That’s what makes this one challenging, but it’s a joy to drive this track. Everyone has done a really good job to get it to the level it is at.”

Conor Daly, No. 20. Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“It’s our best street course qualifying this year so that’s a good step forward for us. When you’re fighting Alex Rossi right there, we’re in good company. We just haven’t had any clear laps all day. So the entire first session, I never did one lap where I got to go fast through (Turns) 6 and 7, so that was the first time I got to feel what the grip increase has been like. The team gave me a great step forward of grip and balance for this session which was nice. We feel like we can work from there. It’s going to be crazy tomorrow, and hopefully you can just stay out of the chaos.”

Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“The 1,000th of a second is not pace, that’s just a little bit of speed, more speed in one corner or hitting a bump differently. I mean, it’s so tight, it’s not pace-representative. We should have the pace to transfer. It was hard getting everything out of the tire because yesterday the track was so much different when we ran greens (alternate) and also this morning, there was more traffic than actual clean laps. Pretty proud of the effort, though. It’s good to be that close to advancing, and especially to those guys. Pretty happy, car felt pretty good so good job to the guys coming to a new track. We’ll pass some guys tomorrow.”

Looking at that and on paper, it seems this team is trending the right way on road and street courses. Do you feel that way?

“Yeah, we’re trending in the right direction. It’s been a tough season, but I think there’s a lot of positive energy from the (Indianapolis) 500, though the race could’ve ended a bit differently. Proud of the guys. It’s a long season to go and they put a lot of effort in. We’re going upwards.”

Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“I don’t think it’s bad, we just have a lot to learn with the damping, I think. I think we know that, which is good. It’s good and bad; it’s good because we know where to look, and it’s bad because it’s really hard to adjust on a race weekend. We’re working really hard. We closed the gap now down to half, with three seconds off yesterday we’re down to 1.5. This race is going to be interesting. I don’t know necessarily how much pace you’re going to need because you could have a race like we had in Nashville in 2021. Just work hard into morning warm up and see what we’ve got.”

You’re in a unique pit stall, first one in on driver’s right. Is that going to be a disadvantage for you tomorrow?

“It’s a huge disadvantage regardless. The whole right side of this pit lane, you have to go under the pit limiter to make the turn, so everybody is checking up. The pit start zone is way too late for us. I’m already in neutral when I come around that corner, so I’m going about 25 mph coming around there, and everybody else who’s going to the left side’s got to be on the limiter in 40. Assuming we don’t get run over in the race tomorrow, hopefully we’ll have a good one.”

Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“Tremendous recovery in qualifying. We’ll start P19. Definitely the best the car has felt since we showed up. We rolled out of the truck pretty far out of the window, but managed to get ourselves back in honestly a very good car. Qualifying felt very good on my part with nailing every lap. It was the best we could get out of it. We’ll keep improving. We always seem to find even more pace for the race. It’s going to be an exciting race tomorrow.”

Callum Ilott, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“We’ll have to look after this. It’s just so tight, this session was very close to get in it. I felt like I put in a good time, but I guess it’s just not enough. We got four clear laps in two practices, which is kind of a waste. Otherwise, it’s alright. We’ve worked with it. I think we have a good car. Seems competitive here, just missing a little bit.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“A good day. Qualifying with no problems. Of course we want more, but anyway, it’s a good job for the team, Ricardo (Juncos), and the car. Thanks for the for the job from yesterday. The practice was insane, in qualifying it was okay, but I think the track is really tricky, and we have a really difficult race tomorrow.”

SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet – End of Day Press Conference:

THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up qualifying. Currently joined by Scott McLaughlin. First front row start of this 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

How was your qualifying session? Pleased with it?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, yeah. Full credit, Alex, that was a bad-ass lap, man. Good job on the older tires there.

Pretty happy with P2. I’ve had a pretty average month of May in my standards. Nice to bounce back here in Detroit. New track. Rebound with a P2 to start tomorrow.

But see how we go.

THE MODERATOR: All of a sudden your attention turns towards tomorrow, what it may look like. Who knows, right?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, you don’t know. It is what it is. Same for everyone. Hopefully just everyone, cool heads prevail, but you just never know.

Yeah, we’ll go in with the same aggression, see how we come out. It’s not the track I’m worried about, it’s just the outside. Everyone on the outside line, it’s going to be interesting.

We’ll be all right. With the track, there’s been a lot of noise I’ve seen in Twitter, from other drivers and stuff. At the end of the day this is a new track, new complex. I think what everyone has done to get this going, like the vibe is awesome. Belle Isle was getting old. We had to do it.

Yeah, first-year problems. It’s always going to happen. It’s just going to get better from here. The racetrack for the drivers is a blast. We don’t even know how it races yet. Everyone is making conclusions already. They probably just need to relax and wait for tomorrow. I just had to get that in. Sorry.

THE MODERATOR: At least we know how you feel.

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: We’ll take questions.

Q. Curious, with the 1.7 mile lap, how many times are you playing with the tools, brake bias?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Not much at all. In the practices, yes, because you’re trying to get a balance, a feeling. But once you’re out there, sort of wheeling, trying to figure out where your car is, trying to maximize that lap from what you’ve learnt in the first two practices, for me, I’m just locked in trying to do a lap, dealing with what we did.

We made changes during the session that made the car better. I don’t think I was a P2 car to start the session, and we ended up P2. I think we made some really good changes between Q1 and Q2.

Q. (Indiscernible)?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I think a lot of it’s going to come down to your right foot, controlling that more than anything. It’s going to be a lot of patience, looking at the tires. Like I said, that’s a lot of self-control in that department.

Q. Pit lane was a talking point. Through two days, what is your assessment about that?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I have no idea at the moment. We’ve rolled out after a couple red flags together. At the end of the day there’s a blend line. Gets to the point that dash line at the front, if you’re not in front of the car that’s behind you or beside you, you should get out of it. If there’s any gentlemen in this field, which I highly doubt, you can probably back off and let the other guy in front of you be okay.

But I think, yeah, it’s always going to be self-control, self-discipline. Like I said, they’ve done a very good job. It’s a very good pit lane, it’s just tight, it’s different. Who knows till the race.

I think it will be eventful for the fans. We’ll just have to figure it out.

Q. Was there any extra preparation or things you did special for this weekend? Very good so far.

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, no, the same. New track, so… For me, Belle Isle, I actually felt very good there last year. I just got screwed by a few red flags, whatever. Same old, same old. Stupid story.

This weekend is just a new track. Just prepare like I would go anywhere else. Yeah, feel very good.

Q. From practice on Friday to qualifying, how much did you have to flip the setup to perfect it?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: We went back to our practice one setup. I was hoping it was going to work, and it did.

Q. If you watched the INDY NXT race, what kind of prediction do you have for tomorrow?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I watched it. I watched all of it actually. It was carnage. At the same time what’s exciting for me is if you got a fast car, you can make moves. You can come through.

It’s going to be all that tire life, tire life is going to be key. One thing that’s good about this track, it’s a lot of stop-start corners. If you get better runs than others, use the push to pass, I think it’s going to race similar to Nashville.

Everyone says we crash a lot in Nashville. I think it’s going to race very well. It’s just going to be up to us with the etiquette of the drivers to leave it up to us and figure it out along the way.

I think it’s going to race very similar to Nashville. Looking at it, there’s going to be a lot of passes, I think opportunities. Hopefully I only have to make one.

Q. Do you have to remember where you are at every moment on this track? With the bumps and stuff, how tough is that to keep that concentration along with racing?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I have Google maps in my steering wheel (laughter).

No, you just follow the walls. You don’t hit the walls, you just follow them.

I feel like the first practice session, we did a lot of simulator stuff beforehand, so I already had the numbers and stuff down pat. I think now it’s knowing where the bumps are.

There’s bumps on the track you haven’t felt before, you won’t feel till the race, they will feel different with old tires and fuel.

Tomorrow is about attrition. It’s about making no mistakes, good pit stops and hopefully a fast car.

Q. From the simulator work you did to practice and qualifying, what was the biggest surprise?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: How good the simulator actually is, yeah. What we learnt on the sim, we rolled here with that car. Like I said, we went back to our baseline car for the start of qualifying. I’m pleasantly surprised. Yeah, it was nice.

Q. With Chevy being the presenting sponsor, how much pressure does that add to you?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Look, it’s an important race for Chevy. World headquarters. I’ve always said it, I always put more pressure on myself than anyone could put on me. It’s not just Chevy, it’s Roger Penske. Home race. A lot of partners here this weekend. I’m sponsored by a very big company that has a massive presence here, Gallagher, with Detroit Tigers. It’s a big town for them.

Doesn’t change how much I want to win this race or the pressure to win every race that we go out in.

Q. I wanted to know by comparison to yesterday, has the track evolved? Rubbered up? Still very much a concrete surface?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: In places there’s low grip, for sure. Potentially where you could pass tomorrow is low grip. Anything off the line right now. That will rubber up pretty quick. Yeah, it’s taking a lot of rubber. Even from practice to qualifying, after the INDY NXT race, it already took a ton of rubber, as well.

It’s nice, though, ’cause the first session I felt like it was pretty green. It was hard to get a bearing. But now that rubber is going down, it’s turning the racetrack into a lot of fun. It’s a great racetrack to lay a lap down. It was a blast.






JUNE 2, 2023


  • Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, led first practice with his fastest lap on the streets of Detroit course at 1:03.0773.
  • O’Ward’s teammates Felix Rosenqvist, driver of the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, and Alexander Rossi, driver of the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, joined O’Ward in the top-six of the session, finishing fifth and sixth respectively.
  • Callum Ilott, driver of the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, finished the session ninth with his lap of 1:03.7984, 0.7211 behind leader O’Ward.
  • Chevrolet had six drivers and teams represent the Bowtie brand in the top-10 of first Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit practice.


  • Pos. Driver
  • 1st      Pato O’Ward
  • 5th     Felix Rosenqvist
  • 6th     Alexander Rossi
  • 7th     Will Power
  • 9th     Callum Ilott
  • 10th   Scott McLaughlin


Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“It was a good day for us. The XPEL Chevy is pretty decent but we just couldn’t get a clean lap. There was just a lot of traffic out there today, but it is to be expected a bit on a tight course. Everyone is trying to figure out what their optimal lap is and not really worried about getting out of the way. I’m sure that will sort itself out when it’s time to race.”

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“It’s definitely a unique track. I think it has a lot of characteristics from all the other street courses that we go to in terms of, like, pavements, certain type of corners. We rolled off strong. I think there’s a lot of first times, first time here, first time with the double pit lane. I think that’s going to be interesting in the race with the blend line where it is. I think the pit exit is going to be something to look out for in both qualifying, like impeding. I don’t know if they’re going to mark it as impeding but it definitely gets you out of place if someone is sent there while you’re on a flyer. A work in progress. Probably not a lot of space to work with. I know everybody is doing their best. It’s a challenging track, I can tell you that.”

Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“Very different kind of. You’re not, like, using the wings of the car really here. It’s very mechanical grip track. Pretty much every corner is first gear except for the one leading onto the back straight. You’re just kind of, like Kyle said, the car is always doing something weird. It’s dancing around, bouncing around, and at the same time you’re trying to keep it off the wall. It’s busy from the driver’s standpoint. It’s very busy. It’s probably going to catch people out in the race, I think. I think it will be really interesting to see going into the hairpin ’cause I was never really close to another car. But to try to make a pass, like how that’s going to work with a bump there and braking. It’s going to be for sure entertaining. Yeah, new challenge. I think the goal is to roll out and see how it is, try to make it good. As Pato (O’Ward) said, we rolled off pretty strong. We’re definitely in the window.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”It’s always crazy coming to a new place. There were a lot of theories of what it would be like, so it was nice to finally get out there. I think we’re starting from a pretty good place from a balance and performance standpoint. Certainly, everyone’s going to improve a lot overnight, and we just need to make sure we stay on top of the development of the track.”

Gavin Ward, Race Director with Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“Decent start on a new track. You always have to find your way a little bit, but obviously our cars are all up there in the mix. Now is when the hard work starts. We have a lot to do to try and squeeze every bit of performance out of the car for tomorrow now that we have some real data to chew on. I have full faith in our team that we’re going to make steps overnight and we’ll be in the mix.”

Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“We just started off the weekend on something that was a hypothetical set up we couldn’t change in session. It just didn’t work for either car, so obviously, we’ll go back and start building on what we were learning from Long Beach.” 

Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“Tricky first session. Obviously, we were pretty far off with what we thought was going to work. But we have a great team around us. We have a lot of data to look at overnight, and we’ll do our best to make some big improvements for the next practice.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“I damaged the car on the right side, so our session is done (early). It’s a shame because we are doing a good job at the moment.”

PATO O’WARD, No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, and FELIX ROSEQVIST, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet – End of Day Press Conference:

Q. Pato and Felix, Chevy had six of the top 10 spots in the first session. Winning is important everywhere, but is there any additional emphasis on this race around the Chevy than being on Belle Isle?

PATO O’WARD: I mean, obviously it’s a huge event for our partner in Chevy. Out of an Indy 500, this is for sure another race that they want to win.

It’s good to say, but it’s too early to tell. It’s so competitive. In some sessions I think you’ll see being dominated by maybe one manufacturer, but the next session can shift. It really depends on how hard you work with your engineers to kind of get the thing to your liking, obviously work with your manufacturers, in our case Chevy, to really try to maximize.

The bumps make it a challenge in downshifting, upshifting, power-downs, all those different scenarios. It’s definitely a strong start, but it’s too early to tell. We need to keep our heads down and keep pushing because everybody is going to make their car go faster.

Q. Can you give us some early predictions on how you think the split pit will play out, how pivotal that will be?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I mean, I always felt when the sessions started, there were quite a lot of cars coming in, four-wide, into how do you say the funneling section? It’s kind of unique in that way because you have the pit speed limit off section is way further, like after the funnel. We’re going to have to figure out who’s going first in there. I think there’s going to be some situations where people probably don’t want to lift.

Yeah, I mean, that’s kind of what INDYCAR is, that we battle it out on track. I think that’s pretty cool. Yeah, let’s hope it doesn’t crash us in pit lane.

Q. Felix, Scott Dixon described with the lack of mechanical grip on these cars, the cars have a tendency to feel fat and top-heavy. You mentioned you’re using mechanical grip. Do you see that as being the biggest reason why the cars are moving around so much on this track, and what can you do to compensate for that?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I think this track is probably the most important in terms of damping. That’s pretty much the biggest tool we have to work with mechanical grip. Yeah, we don’t have, I don’t think I’ve even talked about aero today with my engineer, front wing, anything like that, because there’s only one corner where you really feel it.

It’s a different challenge. I think these cars, they have quite a lot of downforce. Normally there’s a lot of emphasis on making the things efficient with downforce and drag and such things. But here it’s just like the more mechanical grip the better. It’s kind of back to go-kart days in that sense.

Q. Pato and Kyle (Kirkwood), does the car feel that much different to you here than it does on any other street course?

PATO O’WARD: I personally think these slow-speed corners are way better than, like, a four or five, six, seven, eight in Nashville. It doesn’t get worse than four through eight in Nashville.

In these, to me, it reminds me a lot of turn five from Belle Isle for some reason. Four and five, I don’t know if you guys agree. But, yeah, they’re obviously —

KYLE KIRKWOOD: The grip level, you mean?



PATO O’WARD: It is what it is, right? But obviously these cars, I mean, the wings are there to help us, but when you’re going in first gear, they’re not doing much. That’s where we start getting all the ugly stuff, rear locking, all that stuff.

It is what it is. Obviously the bumps aren’t going to help either. Yeah, it’s not very different to other places, street courses that we go to, slow speed.

Q. With the number of red flags today, all the guys in the runoff, how important is getting an early banker in qualifying going to be?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, I mean, it’s going to be pretty huge, I think. I have to say everyone was well-behaved this session. When you go long, that’s part of the game, when you try to find lap time. Sometimes you end up in the runoff. People stalling was an issue. I didn’t see too much on TV. Seemed like almost everyone kept it out of the wall, that was pretty cool.

Obviously, such a short track in qualifying, you’re probably never going to go a perfect lap around here. You have to get a banker in and see if you can improve it and take what you get just to transfer.

Q. Probably your engineers can answer better, but you weren’t out on full fuel loads. Do any of you see a possibility of bottoming out? What do you do for that?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: It’s only really end of the straight that is a challenge. Actually on average, we don’t bottom a lot here ’cause everything is slow speed. If you take Nashville or most of the road courses, like you’ll drag the floor of the car all around a lap. Here it’s only one section.

You probably have to deal with it a bit there, but the rest of the lap it will be fine.

Q. Because we’re not at Belle Isle, we’re here, is it a lot hotter in the car? How is it going to be throughout the race?

PATO O’WARD: To me, the worst I’ve ever felt is Nashville with the 90-something percent humidity.

I felt fine.

Q. Pato, compare this track to Belle Isle in terms of how rough it is, also how physical the lap is.

PATO O’WARD: Belle Isle I’d say is easier. There is a lot more fast corners in Belle Isle.

Here there’s really one, and that is turn two. It really isn’t that fast. Like Belle Isle turn one and two, the last corner, those are fricking fast corners to be in a street course, with a lot of bumps.

I’m a very big fan of Belle Isle. I was very sad to see it leave the calendar. But it’s a different track. It’s a new track. It’s going to be a great event.

Yeah, I mean, I feel like Belle Isle has a lot of very different corners that get the circuit together. Here we’ve got nine corners, one chicane, a lot of very similar kind of first speed corners I’d say, one hairpin, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: Is it rougher here?

PATO O’WARD: Yes, yes. I mean, it is, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary, yeah. It’s drivable, for sure.

Q. How do you think traffic is going to be over the course of the weekend and the race?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I mean, it’s probably going to be among the worst on the calendar ’cause you have probably the shortest lap I think. It’s a 50 —

PATO O’WARD: It’s going to get tight if you want to get by somebody in the race. I can tell you that.

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I think normally in qualifying it’s fine when you split up the groups. It will be among the worst to get a gap.






JUNE 1, 2023


DETROIT (June 1, 2023) – Returning to the streets of Detroit for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear, the NTT INDYCAR Series heads to the Bowtie brand’s backyard at the original home of open wheel racing in the Motor City. It is the first time in over 30 years Indy cars will race around downtown Detroit.

With the series competing on famed-Belle Isle from 1992 to 2022, the Team Chevy drivers and teams have their eyes set on capturing Chevrolet their potential ninth win since 2012 in Detroit in the V6 2.2-liter twin turbo direct injected era.

“Coming off an exciting Indianapolis 500 win by Team Chevy, Josef Newgarden, and our engineers, our Chevrolet-powered teams are prepped and ready for our hometown race on the Streets of Detroit,” said General Motors IndyCar Program Manager Rob Buckner. “I am so happy and proud of our staff at GM Motorsports and our partners at Ilmor Engineering for their efforts and results in the year’s biggest event.

“Moving from the familiar Belle Isle to the unknowns of the Streets of Detroit presents a new and different challenge,” continued Buckner. “With our history of success on other street courses, we feel as prepared as possible for the race. The split pit lane will add a new twist to the event and excitement for the fans. It will be an all-new event, and our Chevrolet teams and drivers are ready to bring home another win for the hometown fans.”

After racing to his first Indianapolis 500 victory, as well as capturing Team Chevy’s 12th in history, Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, said of this weekend’s Detroit Grand Prix, “I think the event is going to be A+. I can’t deny I loved Belle Isle, but I really think from an event standpoint it’s going to be a home run. If you’re there for the fans, the engagement, the community, what they’re doing is going to be amazing,” exclaimed Newgarden. “It’s really going to be amazing. [The track is] short. It’s technical because it’s mostly tight corners. It seems like Nashville, if anything, but it’s also different than Nashville. They’re not totally similar, but if there’s any track that it’s most close to, it’ll be that.”

The 1.7-mile, nine-turn street circuit will race counterclockwise along Jefferson Avenue, Bates Street, Atwater Street, St. Antoine, Franklin Street, and Rivard, with 100 laps, or 170 miles, determining the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix victor. Adding a new twist to the event is a split pit road for drivers to navigate, adding excitement for race fans and Chevy-powered teams alike.

For fans attending the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in downtown Detroit, the Chevrolet Racing display, featuring 2023 models as well as t-shirt giveaways, will be open throughout the weekend starting Friday, June 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. The display will then be open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, and Sunday race day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear kicks off with Practice 1 Friday, June 1 at 3 p.m. ET, with Practice 2 starting Saturday at 9:05 a.m. ET. Qualifications and the Firestone Fast Six also take place Saturday, starting at 1:15 p.m. ET. A final warm-up will start race day Sunday at 10 a.m. ET. All practice and qualifying will be live on Peacock, INDYCAR Radio and SiriusXM Channel 160. The 100-lap, 107-mile race Sunday, June 4 will take the green flag at 3 p.m. ET live on NBC.


Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“I’m thrilled to be here. It’s always nice to get back racing right away. Indy is always a tough grind for everybody, so we’re dragging a little bit coming into this weekend. But I think once we get on track, we’ll all be excited to be racing again. A new track is always a great opportunity to learn something quicker than everyone else, and try and prove yourself for the inaugural event, and I think the team has done a tremendous job. Excited to represent all of our partners, which most of them have a strong connection to Detroit. Thankful for all the effort that has gone in to move this race downtown.”

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“I’m actually really, really excited. The track actually it’s very different than what we are used to. We’re going to be in a new spot, so it’s an opportunity to hit the ground running and be quicker than most. I’m excited. I think it’s going to be cool, and a new rejuvenated race for Detroit.”

Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“I’m really excited to get on track this weekend. It has a lot of bumps, a lot of off-camber corners, great long straight, and I think you can’t get too wide in the hairpins. You won’t know until you get out there, but I think it’s going to race really well. The pit lane is pretty cool. For all the people who are in the chalets above are going to enjoy if we have a full course yellow and pit under that caution. It’s going to be interesting out of pit lane when everyone gets off the button. I think it’s really cool we’re racing around the Renaissance Center. It’s Chevrolet’s backyard, and I think the guys have done a great job with the track – the grinding and resurfacing. Pretty special, and I hope we get a massive crowd with half the track being free. I’m looking forward to getting out there on Friday.”

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“This is our first time going to downtown Detroit. It’s a new track for all of us; everybody starts from zero. I’ve always enjoyed going to Detroit because I get to see a lot of the Latino community there. I’m certainly going to miss Belle Isle, but I’m sure the event this weekend will be awesome, so I’m looking forward to it. There are 11 races to go to chase this championship.”

Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”It’s awesome to go to downtown Detroit. I’ve been looking forward to hitting the streets all year. I think it will be a bumpy and challenging track in pure Detroit fashion. It’s also a new challenge as no one has raced here before, but that’s exciting for us. We will try to roll out of the truck as good as we can.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”I’m looking forward to getting right back on track in Detroit this weekend. I know the amount of effort from the series and promotor that has gone into making this race a reality, and I cannot wait to get started. It is a completely new track for all of us, so everyone will start with a blank slate. I know the team is hungry to continue the success from the month of May.”

Gavin Ward, Race Director at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“New circuits always make for interesting weekends. We’ve done as much homework as we can to roll out with good cars from the start here, but with the many unknowns, we’ll adapt to what we learn in practice and try to give Chevrolet a big win in their home race and keep building up points towards the championship.”

Conor Daly, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“Chevrolet has a lot of momentum going into Detroit. Team Chevy won the Indy 500, so everyone will be very excited to get to this new track. We will do our best to make the Chevy family proud, as well as BITNILE.COM!”

Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“Detroit is going to be a lot of fun! I have driven it on the simulator and I cannot wait to get started there. A new track is always a great challenge! We had a great car at the Indy 500 and I am excited to turn right again.”

Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“I’ve always enjoyed going to Detroit. It’s where I started my IndyCar career (in 2018) and I’ve usually run pretty well there. I think I’ve grown a lot (as a driver) since then. Actually, I was going to have a top-10 in the first race but I got hit and put in the wall. And then the second race I crashed coming out of the pit but I still finished tenth.”

Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“I think since Detroit will be new for everyone it will level the playing field in a big way. While I was in INDY NXT, we went to a new track for everyone – Nashville – which will be like what we will experience in Detroit this week. At Nashville I was fast and picked up quickly, so I am confident we will do the same thing this weekend. I know Foyt has some great street cars and will work hard to achieve some great results.” 

Callum Ilott, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“Detroit is obviously a brand-new track, and I understand that it’s going to be a challenge as it’s quite tight. It will be new for everyone, which means that it will be a level playing field and we will try to maximize our chances from that. I’m looking forward to getting a first look at the track, where we can hopefully continue the momentum from last week’s INDY 500. The data from our previous street races at St. Pete and Long Beach could potentially be useful this weekend. However, everything will be unique so until we turn some laps, we won’t know.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“We are going to a new circuit for everyone, which is good for me since in my case, they are always new and this situation allows me to be less at a disadvantage. A difficult circuit is expected, but we have no information so far, so we will have to find out from Friday in the first practice. The objective will be to try to finish the race in the best possible place, as always, to continue learning within the category.”


Wins in Detroit (all on Belle Isle since 2012 in the V6 2.2-liter twin turbo injection era): 8

2014: Will Power (Race 1) and Helio Castroneves (Race 2)

2015: Sebastien Bourdais (Race 2)

2016: Sebastien Bourdais (Race 1) and Will Power (Race 2)

2019: Josef Newgarden (Race 1)

2021: Pato O’Ward (Race 2)

2022: Will Power

Pole Awards in Detroit (all on Belle Isle since 2012): 10

2012: Will Power

2014: Helio Castroneves

2015: Will Power (Race 1) and Juan Pablo Montoya (Race 2)

2016 Scott Dixon (Races 1 and 2)

2019: Josef Newgarden (Race 2)

2021: Pato O’Ward (Race 1) and Josef Newgarden (Race 2)

2022: Josef Newgarden


188: NTT INDYCAR SERIES races as V6 engine supplier since 2012 return to INDYCAR. 

109: Wins in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES since 2012. 

121: Earned poles since 2012. 

7: Manufacturer Championships since 2012. 

7: Driver/entrant champions since 2012. 

12: Indianapolis 500 victories by Chevrolet at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

5: Indianapolis 500 wins by Chevrolet since 2012 in the V6 2.2 liter twin-turbo direct injected era.

26: Wins by Will Power since 2012 – all with Chevrolet power – most of any driver with the same manufacturer. 

14: Consecutive seasons with at least one win by Will Power, including the past 11 with Chevrolet power. 

9: Wins from the pole by Will Power with Chevrolet power since 2012, most by any driver. 

44: Pole starts by Will Power since 2012 in a Chevrolet-powered car, most of any driver.

*Will Power’s career total of 68 poles makes him the all-time pole winner in INDYCAR.


Source: Manufacturer PR

INDIANAPOLIS (May 28, 2023)–Josef Newgarden has won the Indianapolis 500. After leading a total of five of the 200-lap race, the driver of the No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske Chevrolet drove into the most coveted Victory Lane in motorsports.

After qualifying 17th, Newgarden methodically worked his way to the top-five the majority of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. 

It was a one lap shoot-out after two consecutive red flags after incidents on restarts with Newgarden second at the green for the final lap. With an incredible run out of turn two to take the lead down the backstretch and hold off defending champion Marcus Ericsson for his first Indianapolis 500 win.

Today’s victory is second win of the season for Newgarden and the 27th of his career.

It is the 19th Indy 500 win for team owner Roger Penske, and the ninth for team president and strategist for the No. 2 team – Tim Cindric

Today’s victory is the third of the year for Chevrolet in the NTT INDYCAR Series. The BowTie brand’s fifth Indy 500 win in the V-6 era and 12th historic on the famed 2.5-mile oval. It is the 109th V-6 era victory for Team Chevy


“This is just amazing. Regardless of where you’re sitting in America, driving a car, you’re working on it, or you’re out here in the crowd, you’re part of this event and the energy. And so thank you to Indianapolis. I love this city. I grew up racing cars here when I was a kid. And I’m just so thankful for Roger (Penske) and him and everybody has been a part of this. You know, I just felt like everyone kept asking me why I haven’t won this race. And, you know, they look at you like you’re a failure. If you don’t win it, and I wanted to win. It’s so bad. I knew. I knew we were capable. And I’m so thankful the shell. Team Chevy, everybody is a huge team effort, as everybody knows. So just so glad to be here.

“You know, I always tried to stay locked in, buy I was emotional, the whole last 10 laps because we were I knew we were in a position to fight for this win at the end. And I knew it wasn’t gonna be easy. We’re gonna come to some last laps here now, like it always is these days, which is exciting, but stressful. But just been thinking about all the work. You know, I can’t talk highly enough about the team. You know, they’ve worked so hard all month. It’s so long to get to this point. We’re here for weeks. We’re gonna grinded on this thing just for this one moment. And that’s what makes it so demoralizing when it doesn’t work out. But I can tell you, we’re gonna enjoy it tonight. It’s gonna be amazing when we get to celebrate.

“Second is where you want to go you want to be dedicated and you know it actually worked out great that I got to run on the back stretch. I knew if I could just get him and clear him in the three then maybe we could hold onto the line but he was so quick on the straight that it wasn’t guaranteed. I was just trying to do everything I could to keep it back and then it was a fight. It was just a big fight is is not easy to win. This race has been so difficult right in the world to win.”






MAY 26, 2023


  • Will Power of Team Penske led the Chevrolet drivers in the final practice session before Sunday’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500, finishing third on the charts with his fastest speed of 226.953 MPH and turning a total of 82 laps.
  • INDYCAR Series Rookie and Argentinian phenom Agustin Canapino finished the Carb Day practice session sixth with a fastest speed of 226.532 MPH.
  • Team Chevy occupied four of the top-10 spots on the leaderboard.
  • In the finals of the Carb Day Pit Stop Challenge, Team Penske driver Will Power finished second behind Scott Dixon.
  • Carb Day fans were treated to an Ice Cream Social after practice by Chevrolet drivers, handing out 3,300 ice cream sandwiches provided by the American Dairy Association of Indiana.
  • The 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will air live on NBC starting at 11 a.m. ET Sunday, May 28, 2023. Coverage can also be found on Peacock, and through both INDYCAR Radio and SiriusXM Channel 160.


Pos. Driver

3rd     Will Power

6th     Agustin Canapino

9th     Josef Newgarden

10th   Scott McLaughlin


Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”We spent the session just dialing in our race car. We ended pretty happy, so I’m pleased with the changes that we made and with how it’s feeling. Obviously, race day, you never know if it’s going to be identical to this or not, so I think it’s a good start for sure. We’re starting in the middle of the second row, so that’s a definitely a good position.”

Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”I thought it was pretty much where we wanted to end. It was a smooth Carb Day. The car felt good in traffic and it felt good up front. We did a full run and it felt like we had a good car over the stint, so we said let’s not risk it. We parked it and did some pit stops and cut the session short a bit. So it’s a good feeling going into the big one.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“First of all, it’s amazing to see so many people turn out on a Friday morning for practice. The fan turnout the past two weeks has been amazing, so thanks to everyone. From our side, we got through our program. The car feels really nice, and I think we’re all cautiously optimistic about what we can accomplish on Sunday.”

Tony Kanaan, No. 66 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”We went through some pit stops and tried a couple things to fine-tune the car for Sunday. I think we’re happy and ready to go.

“The crowd at Carb Day today was unbelievable, this is back to the old days. It’s amazing. We keep saying this, but we fought to grow this series to the way it used to be, and now it’s back.”

Gavin Ward, Race Director at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“Well, that’s practice done. I think everyone finished in a pretty happy place. That’s what you want here. You want to be able to kind of put it away and go racing. We went through our program, tried a few different downforce levels, and got some hot stop practice with the crews for pit stops. So, let’s go.”

Callum Ilott, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“It’s our final day of driving before the big race, the big event. Had to work a lot with the car. We it into a much better window, which is nice. It’s just tough we don’t have more running on track to get there. But looking good. Looking forward to it. Should be massive this year. Should be lots of people coming, the biggest since the 100th Running. But yeah, within the team looking good. Agustin (Canapino) is looking good, too. We’ll see.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“We finished Carb Day P6. Really, really good day for us. Of course, we need to improve a lot our pace. We have some work to do on pit stops. But at the moment, really good. We are continuing our improvement, and we will do our best on Sunday.”


Joined now by Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske Chevrolet, who starts 17th on Sunday, finished ninth in today’s two-hour practice. What did you get done today?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: We just tried to sort of practice race, literally. Kind of seems self-explanatory, but I think everyone approaches this last session differently. We just try to do a dress rehearsal from our end and really get into the rhythm of what we’re going to do on Sunday, and I feel good about our car.

I think the Shell car is quick. I think it feels comfortable. We got it really good at the end there. We’ve just got to be solid on race day as always. Can be no mistakes here, good execution. That’s what it’s going to take.

Q. Since you drive for Team Penske and with you also being sponsored by Shell, between now and race day, what will your week be like in terms of all the personal appearances and everything that you need to do not only for Roger and Tim but for Shell?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s been busy, but I wouldn’t say abnormally busy. It’s just always jam-packed today. Tomorrow is very jam-packed. But I will say one of the greatest things about driving for Team Penske is they don’t request anything from us on race day morning, which is lovely. I just think it’s fantastic. We get everything out of the way on Saturday. It’s a busy day, but then we can wake up for race day and be free and clear, just get ready for the race. That’s our only commitment.

Yeah, not a big deal from my end. It’s great to be here with Shell.

It’s fun to drive the Shell car because of what they’re doing. This is a big year for the series. Obviously we’re touting it Powering Progress, and the whole field is powered by Shell. We’re all running sustainable fuel, and with INDYCAR and its positioning on sustainability with Firestone and everyone else, I think Shell is doing a tremendous job, so it’s fun to be carrying that flag on race day.

THE MODERATOR: Also joined by Tony Kanaan, driver of the No. 66 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, who starts ninth on Sunday. 11th quick today. What did you get done today? Happy with it?

TONY KANAAN: Yeah, went through some pit stops and tried a couple different things that we’re just going to guess what we need to do Saturday night and Sunday morning, but yeah, fairly happy. I think it’s been a very smooth month. So time to go now.

Q. How do you think you guys will perform on Sunday in traffic?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I don’t know that it’s going to look tremendously different to last year. I think it is easier to stay close, but in the train, everyone is kind of utilizing the tow. Until you get to the back half of a stint, there’s probably going to be a little bit of sitting, but certainly up front, it’s easy to make moves in that situation.

So I think the race for the win will be exciting as always.

TONY KANAAN: The same, like he said.

THE MODERATOR: Alex Palou is joining us, who happens to start from the pole on Sunday – not to be rude – driver of the No. 10 the American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, starts from pole, fourth quick today. Your thoughts on that?

Q. For any of you but specifically Tony, you said on the radio on coming in, “It’s too crazy out here.” Was today’s session abnormally obnoxious?

TONY KANAAN: No, I mean — no. It’s been crazy. We saw what happened the other day. But when I saw three wide into Turn 1, 20 minutes to go, why do you want to do that? So I’m like, I’m out. I don’t need this.

Some of us are starting fairly in the front, so I said, all right, I’m not planning to have 20 cars in front of me; hopefully that’s not going to happen, so I’m not going to run out there in the back, and that’s exactly what happened. Somebody is trying to go to the back, and some of these guys are — I don’t know. It’s not a big deal, but I’m like, I don’t want any part of it.

Q. Did either of you think today’s practice was aggressive?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think there was parts of it, but you always get that on an aggressive end to a session when it’s like a Happy Hour or specifically today. Everyone was really racing today, and like Tony said, there was probably some moments where it was unnecessary.

But I think the intensity was up. Everyone was kind of race running today, trying to really practice what it was going to be like, which is good, but there’s probably a couple moments you just don’t want to insert yourself into.

Q. I asked Herta this, as well. Ganassi, McLaren, Penske, is there anyone that we’re overlooking that people are not really paying attention to? I can tell you who Herta said.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Who did he say?

Q. Canapino.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: All year, man, Canapino.

TONY KANAAN: Yeah, I think Santino can be fast if they all get it right in the pits and stuff. He finished up front here in the past, he ran up front, and he has a really good car, so I think he’s going to be tough.

Canapino maybe 20 laps to go, he’s going to get the welcome to Indianapolis.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think you put Canapino in position at the end and, ooh, he would go for it.

TONY KANAAN: He would go for it.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: He’s got Argentina on his back, the whole country.

No, he’s been impressive. I’m not knocking Canapino. He’s very, very impressive this year and people wrote him off before he even started. He’s done tremendously well for no experience. I can’t speak highly enough about it.

But to answer your question, I think it’s hard to really single anyone out these days. Obviously you have favorites and reasonably so. You’re mentioning the top teams. But INDYCAR is just so competitive nowadays, and we say it every year, but it is continually getting closer.

Anyone can win this race, genuinely. The strategy can flip on its head with 50 to go and all of a sudden the front runners are in the back and vice versa. You just don’t know how it’s going to shape up. It could be a normal day, it could be a crazy day. It’s always a guess when you come into these things. You have a plan, but you’ve got to be able to move from your plan.

Q. Josef, Alex was saying the other day that starting on pole, you can’t really control the race here (indiscernible) sort of rush to the front. Starting from 17th what’s your mindset? Is there more urgency to get in the mix and then know that things sort of unfold —

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, no, there’s no rush with 500 miles. I would say that. Certainly not in the first stint.

When there’s an opportunity to make passes to start the restart, those are your best opportunities so you’re going to try and maximize that. But there’s not a hurry, I think, starting 17th. I don’t think there would be a hurry if you’re starting 25th. You’ve just got to have a really good consistent day and march your way forward. We started pretty far back last year and had the same trajectory going that I think you need to have and then we had a bad pit stop in the middle of the race and it totally derailed the race for us.

No, I don’t think there’s urgency. I’d much prefer to start up front next to my pickleball teammate, but we are where we are, and we’ve got to make the most of it, and I think we’ve got plenty of time to get up there.

Q. Everybody has been talking about how tight this race is going to be, but does it have the potential to be a slugfest, lots of wild passing throughout the race?

TONY KANAAN: No. I think it’s going to be competitive, and just yeah, you can look at it both ways. You can say this is boring because nobody passes or I was inside or trying to set up a pass, and passes will be happening late if not, but I think it’s going to be tough. It’s not going to be easy.

I mean, if you’re not in the top 5 the ending of the race, I don’t think you have a chance.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I agree with these guys. I just don’t think it’s going to be that different from last year outside of the very front. The first two cars, it is easier to follow. We have more downforce. But the effect behind the first two cars is sort of similar to where we’ve been, so I don’t think that’s going to be drastically different.

Q. Drivers have been saying that at the white flag they want to be second with the opportunity to make the pass on the last lap, but how can you position yourself to make sure you’re second?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: You have to watch to find out.

TONY KANAAN: Same. Watch it. Different times. Last year I was third and I couldn’t do anything. Especially with the zigzag new model of racing that we created in the last two laps lately, it’s tough.

Q. TK, what’s your experience been now that we’ve got a big crowd today, big crowd tomorrow, big crowd Sunday, parade? We’ve talked to you about your race, we’ve talked to you about your own approach, but now that it’s getting real, what’s this like with the people?

TONY KANAAN: It’s awesome. It takes a lot longer for me to go from A to B. Everybody has something nice to say, and I’m just taking it in.

It’s really cool. I mean, I don’t think none of us here started racing to be famous or to be recognized by fans. We just race because we love. But then see the impact and how much people appreciate what I’ve done, it actually honestly feels quite nice.

I’m enjoying it. I have big moments of happiness and then I cry, and I’m happy again. But I knew that was going to happen from today on, tomorrow the parade, and I don’t know how I’m going to hold myself at drivers’ intro, but after that we’ll just go what we need to do. We’ll leave it all out there for one last time.






May 23, 2023


THE MODERATOR: We’ll get started here this morning. Joining us today, Dennis Reinbold, owner of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing; on the far side Don Cusick, Cusick Motorsports team owner, and a special guest there in the middle. Dennis, we’ll turn it over to you to make the announcement.

DENNIS REINBOLD: Okay, I guess this is not a shocker right here, but Graham is going to replace Stefan in the car for us the rest of the week and coming Sunday. That is our announcement. I guess we’re all done.

No, it’s been a whirlwind. I don’t have a script, so that’s kind of consistent with how the last day has gone. We’re excited to put Graham in the car. It was a tough deal, we had the month going really well with Stefan. He is getting further evaluation today, I know, going in for X-rays here soon to sort of determine the path of what’s best for him.

You saw the release yesterday that he was ruled out and what happened with all that.

We had to do a lot of work yesterday afterwards to get things put together with Graham, and there were a lot of hurdles involved, and Graham can speak to some of those.

A lot of things what I want to touch on is just how much the INDYCAR community really, in a situation like this, rallies around each other and all the help that we got from everyone in the paddock and elsewhere. We even had Mike and Sandy Fink, longtime friends, showed up with dinner for us last night as we were working to get our backup car prepared for Graham.

It just goes all the way through the paddock, and it’s really a touching feeling that so many competitors can come together and work together. A lot of credit to the Chevy guys who we talked with.

There’s just so many conflicts and things that we had to work through to put this together that — it’s the Indy 500, and people come together to make this event special and make it great like it is.

I don’t know, I’m rambling on, but that’s kind of how I feel. It’s really been a moving experience, a lot of emotions through the last 24 hours, and just really touched by all the support that we’ve had.

THE MODERATOR: Don, just your thoughts about the last 24 hours?

DON CUSICK: Yeah, first I’d like to let everybody know I did speak with Stef this morning. Obviously he’s fairly crushed emotionally but supportive of what we’re doing here, and we can’t wait to get him better and get him back out here.

He really appreciates all the outpouring and concern, and yeah, hopefully get him back here on Sunday and walk down the track with him.

As far as all of this craziness goes, definitely a first for us. Definitely a first for me. Didn’t really expect to be sitting here having this conversation. But here we are.

Very, very thankful to Dreyer & Reinbold, Dennis and Brett for putting this together, and super thankful that Graham was able to do this, as well.

We’re excited for Sunday. It’s going to be a little bittersweet, obviously, but glad we can go forward and do it, and super appreciative of INDYCAR, the racing family and the individual sitting over here to my right.

THE MODERATOR: Finally, Graham, to you. Now you’ll be hopping in the No. 24 DRR/Cusick Motorsports Care Keepers Chevrolet. Your thoughts.

GRAHAM RAHAL: First off, I think as everybody said, I certainly feel for Stef. I know how much he puts into this, year in and year out, to get the opportunity to be here and to see what happened to him is never good.

I know emotionally the roller coaster he’s on right now, unfortunately. I’ve just lived it, as well, and I know that he’ll be back really strong and better than ever.

That said, too, the Wilson family certainly in my life has had a very strong impact. As I said yesterday, I told AC, everything in life happens for a reason. Sometimes it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but when I got the call from Dennis yesterday afternoon, right away I felt compelled that this was, for some reason, my calling was to be here, to be able to help as best I could and to fill in.

Clearly this is Stef’s ride. It’s his seat. He’s done a great job to get it to the point that it is. It was an honor for me to receive the call.

To Dennis, to Brett, to Don, everybody that made that happen, I certainly am very grateful.

I must say, Dennis mentioned Chevy, and equally so Honda, for allowing me to do this. I think I told Dennis when he called me, I said, I’m not really sure I want to waste your time. I’ve spent my entire career in a Honda. I’ve never driven anything other than that. I’m not really sure that we’ll be able to get the releases in place to be able to make this happen.

They really came together, two manufacturers, to allow this to take place, to allow us to go race on Sunday, and hopefully get this car moving towards the front and have a really, really strong run.

It’s also kind of special for me in a way to come back. I drove for Dennis 13 years ago at Iowa. We had a really strong run there. Always admired what he’s been able to do with his team, and Chase, I think the entire organization does a great job, as proven this month. They came out with Ryan — I texted Ryan last Wednesday night, and I was like, damn, dude, you’re going to win this thing. It was the best car I thought I saw all day.

Trust me, I’m excited at the opportunities ahead, as well. Make no mistake, I’ve made it clear, this is certainly Stef’s ride, and I’m fortunate to be able to be in the position to be able to help and fill in, and like I said, hopefully we can have a really, really great Sunday.

Again, it’s kind of a weird thing, as well. Care Keepers, which is the primary, Gary and Dina Tennyson, who own Care Keepers, have been very, very close friends of ours and supporters of our foundation for six, seven, eight years. Again, how this world works sometimes, it doesn’t make sense at the time, but I remember when Gary called me about seven, eight months ago saying he was going to do this, I was thrilled for him. This is kind of a lifelong dream for him to work with Don, to get the opportunity to have his logo on a car here at Indy, and look where we are today. Who would have known.

Sometimes weird things happen in this world, and as I said, you don’t have the answers for them up front, but we’re fortunate to be here.

Q. You were very close to Stefan’s brother, he was your teammate when you came into the Champ Car series in 2007. I imagine you’re pretty good friends with Stef, also. When you think of that familial bond that you have with the Wilson family, you talked about a calling. Is that really something you reflected on?

GRAHAM RAHAL: Oh, for sure. I think about Justin a lot. When the call came, right away it was an immediate connection. Frankly, I think in many ways, Justin helped — in more ways than one kind of shape my career, not only as a man and who you should be, how you should act, all that stuff, but also I remember in 2006 I was in Formula Atlantic. Of course I don’t know why, but we had a joint autograph session with the Champ Car guys. We were in Portland. I was still dreaming that hey, maybe someday Formula 1, and Justin Wilson was the guy who told me that it was way too political and I didn’t have the right filter to enter Formula 1.

If it were not for him, I probably would have kept chasing a different dream. In many ways, he did help me, but I do know as a teammate, too, when I was with him at Newman/Haas and then again with Dennis at Iowa, he’s just a tremendous, tremendous guy, and Stef is right there with him.

As I said, their entire family I have the utmost respect for, and in a scenario like this, I felt very — had it been something different, I don’t know how compelled I would have been, particularly with the storylines of the last couple days.

Trust me, for me it was a little bit of a bittersweet moment, do I do it, do I not, is it appropriate, is it not, but in this circumstance with Dennis, with Don, with Gary, with Stef, it just felt right.

As I said, I can’t thank Honda and Chevy and all the sponsors. It’s been a tough week for our sponsors, as well, and for everybody who’s been able to make this possible to release me to come over here. I’m super grateful.

Q. Also from the depths of despair that you felt Sunday, hugging your daughter and crying into her face, knowing how you’re back in the race, how do you describe the lowest low and now a very high?

GRAHAM RAHAL: Well, the positive, she’s two years old so she doesn’t really know what it was all about. All she told me when I hugged her was ooh, daddy, you’re wet. I was like, of course, I’ve been sweating for an hour.

No, I felt every emotion over the last couple of days. But as I’ve always said, and Dennis knows this well, that’s Indy. It can put you through a vicious cycle, and you never know what’s going to happen, how it’s going to take place. We don’t know how it’s going to end up in five, six days’ time.

But at the end of the day, when an opportunity like this comes, you certainly are honored to get the call. For me, I won’t lie, I really did feel excited to have the sense that another team had the respect at least for me to call. It was a great opportunity to come out here and try to perform and be able to race this Sunday.

You go through it all, the highs, the lows, and I still, as I said, don’t want to step in and take over here. It is Stef’s role. He’s put this all together, he and Don and Dennis and everybody have put this entire program together.

It’s a very unfortunate situation. I feel for him.

When I saw the accident, I was very concerned for his back right away, when I saw the angle of the accident, and unfortunately I’m aware of those things because of being a taller driver. It is an issue we I feel like have a little more frequently.

I feel terrible he’s in the role he’s at. But as Don said, I’m sure he’ll be back stronger than ever and come back here next year and put on a great challenge.

Q. Graham, you mentioned you’ve been tied to Honda for as long as anybody can remember. Can you take us through what those conversations were like, and also conversations with your sponsorship over on that side?

GRAHAM RAHAL: Well, Dennis will tell you, too, when he called, I had said to him, I don’t really want to waste your time; it’s probably best that you just speak to Dad. Because again, while I was very appreciative, I knew the hurdles were going to be massive. This wasn’t just as easy as saying yes.

You know, I think we both, last night we were sitting there at about 10:30 and going, I can’t believe this actually happened, that both Honda and Chevy allowed this to happen. So we’re very, very appreciative of that.

Frankly, that would be a better question for Dennis and Dad to answer than me because I knew that the challenges were far greater than me, and I needed to step aside because contractually I don’t know what all is said between RLL and Honda, RLL and our partners. But I know that this guy here to my right is a high-class individual, and I know he and dad spoke and worked things out right away.

I’m surprised, but it was certainly exciting for me to hear late last night that we were going to be able to make this happen.

Q. Any idea what it’s going to feel like going against your team on Sunday?

GRAHAM RAHAL: Well, I think we start at the back, right? Isn’t that the rule?

DENNIS REINBOLD: I think we do.

GRAHAM RAHAL: I’ll still be starting. Jack hasn’t gotten rid of me yet. But look, it’s going to be very unique for me. This situation is super unique. I will go from here to sit in the car. You’ve got to think, everything is different. I’ve been in the same place for 12 years now.

For me, steering wheel — literally I haven’t changed my steering wheel in 12 years. I still run the same base wheel that I’ve run since the Newman/Haas days, took it from Newman/Haas to Ganassi to RLL.

The whole thing is going to be a very unique situation, obviously to drive with the Chevy power plan for the first time. I do know that Hunter-Reay already texted me and said hey, make sure later we need to talk about the yellow map and we need to talk about — because it’s different. It just is. The way that people operate. I’ve been so programmed and tuned into the Honda side for so long that this is going to be a unique scenario.

But to compete against them, look, I wouldn’t come here if I didn’t think we had a chance to win and go forward. I think these guys will tell you, they’ve had a very strong car all week, and Ryan is going to be a great partner. He’s probably been my closest friend in the sport since I came into the sport. My first year here he was driving for my dad, and so Ryan and I have always been very close, so I’m excited by the opportunity. We’ve talked for years about eventually working together, and the situation is certainly unique, but I’m still excited to get to be with Ryan and see what we can do on Carb Day and make this thing go forward.

I wish my team at RLL the best for sure. I certainly want to see them succeed. But I also wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t want to go win with Don and Dennis and Gary and this entire organization. That’s my job. So that’s what we’re going to try to go do.

Q. Graham, you kind of touched on it, but what are the next couple of days leading into Carb Day going to look like for you?

GRAHAM RAHAL: I thought they were filled with golf and kids. But you know, it’s right back to work. There’s a lot. There’s a lot to learn.

But I feel we’re in good position as far as the individuals — obviously Jeff, who’s the engineer, I’m familiar with. Todd, Ryan’s engineer, was with our team at RLL for a long time, so I know Todd. Chase I’ve known forever, obviously the Selmans everybody knows, so I’ve known the whole family for quite a long time. There’s a lot of familiar faces there.

Going to jump in, be a little bit of a quick learning experience, but it’s nothing that we haven’t done before. Just got to settle in here over the next couple of days and really make sure that we’re comfortable with all the switches and all the mapping and all of the things that are going to be of high importance.

Clearly when it comes to feeling the car out for the first time, that’s going to be Carb Day, and there’s not a lot of time to do that. But luckily on Sunday, there’s 500 miles for us to — if the car is not in the window, get the car closer. But as I said, I feel like they’ve been — everybody has been very, very — Stef and Ryan have been very, very strong all week, so I don’t anticipate any major challenges there.

Q. Do you need to not have debriefs with RLL drivers for the first time in a long time, I imagine. With this being a unique partnership, and I don’t know who’s best served to answer this, but from a sponsor’s standpoint, how is that going to work? Are any of your sponsors going to be on the car, coming over, crossing into the car?

DENNIS REINBOLD: I tried to pass the buck there. From the start of this yesterday afternoon, Bobby immediately came over and spoke to me, and we put our heads down to try to figure out how we could make this happen, if we could. A lot of the concerns he had were with Graham’s sponsors, and we have some flexibility, and he stepped in, Bobby stepped in and really made it work out to where we could do different things and shift things around, and I worked with Don in that regard, as well.

It’s just been a group effort to try to figure out what we can do, so yeah, our car will look a little bit different to accommodate some of those things in order for us all to work together and just get to the end goal.

This was a dire situation for us. Graham had his situation Sunday. We’re trying to turn it into a win-win situation, hopefully win-win-win, being Sunday with the final win. That’s what we did. We just rolled up our sleeves and went to work.

Yeah, we’re going to do some different things sponsorship-wise and accommodate what we can do. We’ve got some other announcements coming with Ryan’s car, as well. Both cars will look slightly different and tweaked and things like that. Working on it still.

Q. Was Graham the first choice, and did you have a backup?

DENNIS REINBOLD: Yeah, Graham was the first choice. A lot of it was we — well, it just was so sudden that there wasn’t a lot of time to think. For Don and I, sat down pretty much immediately and started thinking — once we found out Stefan couldn’t be cleared to run.

There’s a short list because not a lot of guys are approved. And to be able to come out and just run without refreshers and things like that. Graham obviously doesn’t need a refresher. But my whole goal is to win this race, and Don and I talked about it, and we both agreed immediately that if we could somehow pull it off — I don’t know that we were optimistic we could, but we thought we would go down the path and explore the possibility of putting Graham in the car, so that’s how that evolved.

DON CUSICK: I’d just like to say that for us, we replace one really class act with another one. That makes a difference, too.

Q. Is the plan still to use the backup, the two-year-old chassis as the backup, and if so, I know Graham’s car wasn’t exactly fast on Sunday, but was there any consideration of using an RLL chassis instead of trying to get a backup prepared?

DENNIS REINBOLD: No, it has to come from our stable. We’ve prepared our cars equally across the board, and so yeah, to go to the backup car is something that it was pretty much ready to go.

The guys are in there working on it now, and as soon as we’re done here, we’ll go get Graham fitted and things like that.

We’re really not going to miss too much of a beat in that sense.

Q. Graham, when you first got the call, did any thought go through your mind, like wait a minute, our driver hit your driver, why are you calling us? I’m not trying to be macabre there, but it was an interesting irony, right?

GRAHAM RAHAL: Leave it to the Columbus, Ohio, guy to ask the question.

To be honest, it’s an interesting situation across the board. I certainly don’t — as I’ve made clear all along, I don’t feel good about filling in for an injured driver. I feel for Stefan. I’ve said that numerous times here. I feel for him tremendously because I do know how much this means to him and how much work he puts in year in and year out to be here.

Unfortunately in racing, things happen. Look at the last 48 hours in my life even; it’s been all over the board.

As I said, and this is the truth, in some other situations, I don’t think that it would have excited me as much, but being that it was Stef and being that it was a Wilson, and in the situation that it was in, I just felt like it was my calling to jump in and help.

I was very fortunate that Dennis and Don and everybody at DRR and Cusick Motorsports called me. It’s that simple.

I was honored because on a personal level, too, as I said already, I felt it gave me a boost personally to get the call because I have driven for my dad for so long, you always wonder what everybody else thinks of you, so to speak. So it was a blessing.

I want to make sure, like I’ve said all along, that for me, my job is to go out there and make everybody here proud, and that includes Stef. I can’t imagine what’s going through his mind, as Don said. I’m sure emotionally this is a very, very, very tough time for him. We just want to be there to support him as best we can and perform as best we can no matter what the scenario was or how it all took shape yesterday.

Q. You were talking a while ago about getting up to snuff with the car itself. Will you just sit in the car and run through the buttons on the steering wheel, for example, things like that? Is there any kind of simulator you can jump in at this point?

GRAHAM RAHAL: No, really just sit in there and speak with Ryan mainly to try to get his input because he’s been through a few different teams and stuff, so to get his input on how things work because everything is a little bit different team to team, the way the weight jackers work or the fuel mixers or trim switches and all these other things, where the radio button is, do they use a drink bottle or do they use a pump. There’s a variety of different scenarios there.

But as Dennis also said, I do think that Dad and Dennis have been tremendous in working together, and I know a lot of my stuff, seat-wise, belts even potentially, all that stuff from RLL will be able to carry over, the chassis are all pretty much built the same by Dallara, so should be able to jump in and get going.

The steering wheel is not one you can switch easy because the programming and the wiring and everything is pretty specific to the team. So we’ll sit in there and study as best we can, probably take a photo so that I can go home and look at the wheel and get the buttons memorized. All those things are going to be critical.

But in this situation as a veteran, you’ve got to be a professional, and that’s what you’ve trained to do for years and years and you’ve got to be able to jump in and do it.

Q. I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, but I think you feel like you’re stepping into a quality race car, too, right, based on their performance?

GRAHAM RAHAL: Oh, yeah. There’s no doubt that it’s a great opportunity. These cars have been very, very strong. For me, I feel good about that, about our chances this weekend, and to move forward and put on a heck of a show.

We’ve got 500 miles to do so, try to play it as we always do, put ourselves in a good position come the last couple stints of the race, and be able to move forward and hopefully make these two proud and Stef and everybody associated with the program.

Q. Not trying to sound melodramatic or anything, but do you feel resurrected?

GRAHAM RAHAL: I don’t know. This is a weird situation for me. I mean, it just is. My wife was just asking me, and I told her, I’m very excited at the opportunity, but I feel terribly for Stef, too. It’s a very unique situation to be in, but ultimately, as I said inside, it was exciting and it was an honor for me to get the call.

I know the list of guys isn’t super long of drivers that could jump in and do it, but I also know some of the other names that are probably on that list are guys that are very, very, very qualified to go out there, who have a lot of experience and can do a great job. So for me to get the call, to get the opportunity, yes, it’s very exciting.

Q. To follow up on that a little bit, I know when you were interviewed yesterday afternoon during the practice, you spoke about how you planned on going throughout this week and helping Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing get everything best positioned for Sunday with the knowledge that you have of being in the car and the experience with the team, experience of this race, et cetera. Did any of that play through your mind when you were deciding whether to take this opportunity? Did you feel at all compelled to turn it down and stay back with the team, given everything you guys have gone through?

GRAHAM RAHAL: Well, you know, I certainly won’t lie that — yeah, I mean, things change in a hurry, don’t they?

But for me, yes, there was a part of me that thought, when you look at RLL and where we were as a team, can I have more of an impact to try to help Jack and Christian and Kat perform better on the weekend, and of course even in their debrief session after. I always try to give them information and experience, but I felt compelled to give them a lot more right after the session and try to help them from what I could see studying their film and all that stuff.

Of course now it’s a little bit of a different situation. Our focus and attention is completely dedicated to Dreyer & Reinbold and Cusick Motorsports to do the best that we can in the 24 car, and at the end of the day we’re competing now. That’s the reality of this situation.

Things in motorsports — I tell people all the time, motorsports is one of the few sports where there just are no guarantees ever. Things can change immediately. That’s the situation that we’re in, and we’re going to go out there and do the absolute best we can to get in Victory Lane. It’s been a dream of mine my entire life. I think we’ve got a great opportunity to do so with Dreyer & Reinbold and with Don, and I’m excited by that.

Q. Dennis, I know you’ve touched on it a little bit, generally speaking, but can you tell us a little bit more about how you and maybe more specifically the folks at Chevy and Honda were able to make this work, given Graham’s long ties at Honda?

DENNIS REINBOLD: Well, it probably started with Don and I discussing it, and then we brought Bobby into the circle, and I had discussions with the Chevy guys to get their feel for it, and Bobby took over the Honda discussions, as well.

We just kind of went off on our separate paths with this goal in mind to explore and to see if it was possible. They came back, and a couple hurdles later that we crossed, it started looking good. We kept crossing off things on our checklist that had to happen for this to be a possibility.

There were a lot of things involved, and we spent a lot of time yesterday and into the night last night going through those things. I don’t know if that answers that, but it was a bit of a whirlwind, so I can’t keep it all straight in my head at this point.






MAY 21, 2023


  • Rinus VeeKay, of Ed Carpenter Racing, has been the best qualifying Chevrolet for the Indianapolis 500 for four years in a row.
  • This is also the ninth front row start in 11 years for an Ed Carpenter Racing entrant, all with Chevrolet.
  • This is Felix Rosenqvist’s, driver at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR, first front row start at the Indianapolis 500.  
  • This is the best starting position for an entry from AJ Foyt Racing since Robby Gordon in 2001.
  • Legendary driver and now-team owner AJ Foyt won two of his four Indianapolis 500 victories from the fourth starting position, the same starting position as AJ Foyt Racing driver Santino Ferrucci will start the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 from.
  • Pato O’Ward, of Arrow McLaren INDYCAR, will start in the middle second row of the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500, qualifying fifth in the Firestone Fast Six.


Pos.  Driver

2nd    Rinus VeeKay

3rd     Felix Rosenqvist

4th     Santino Ferrucci

5th     Pato O’Ward


Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“I got everything out of it but I wish I had just a little bit more. I got tight and I should have let it run a little bit, but I mean, it’s it’s so close. You know, the whole group really had a shot for pole position. I am a bit spoiled to say that so starting second, and still very happy. We don’t win anything with this you know, this is only the start to the race. We’ll get them held next week.”

Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“I didn’t really feel like we had the same speed as far as the previous one. I’m not sure why, we’ll have to look at the data and see what it was. But anyways, it’s phenomenal to be on the front row and keep us where we are–super quick. I think anyone can grab this pole and it’s so tight that the front and that last one just seemed like some guys find a bit more than we did. I’m just super proud of the team. It has all been awesome and everyone’s just been helping everyone and like this one team was behind us and I tried to get everything out of this beautiful number six car and it’s great a great car.”

Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“I’m really proud of this. I mean, we’re the underdog here to be fighting for top six and the biggest race of the year, and the biggest race in the world is pretty awesome. And like I said before the race matters. So we’ll just have to pass some people…that’s about it.

“Yeah, I feel great about it. I mean gratulations Alex (Palou). I can’t thank my team enough. I mean, these guys worked so hard last couple of weeks and months to prepare this car and to start up front like we are knowing that we got a great race car and shot to win this thing. I’m so proud of the guys.”

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“This is awesome. My first Fast Six. And it’s just it’s awesome for the team. I mean, I’d love to just to get on the front row. I love how these current loops that we came out with. Really, really cool, but we also have to share the front row which is okay.

But, I don’t know man and Palou has been really strong. VeeKay has as well. I think the No. 6 car has a lot of speed is good enough for front row and that’s what I’m hoping I’d be… But I think yeah, man, I mean, this is good,”


THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, wrapping up qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2023 setting the field for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500. Felix Rosenqvist will also join us here in just a bit.

But joined now by the young man that will start second in the race a week from today, Rinus VeeKay, 234.211. That’s the second closest gap one-two in 500 history. It goes back to 6 thousandths of a mile an hour versus what Ryan Briscoe did with James Hinchcliffe in 2012, and that was three thousandths of a mile an hour. That’s how close it was between one and two.

Rinus, driving the No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, the third straight front row start for Rinus. He was the fastest Chevy driver four years in a row how, and ECR, Ed Carpenter Racing, now with their ninth front row start in 11 years. Rinus, it was that close.

RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, it was very close. Wow, very happy, but also a bit bummed. We had that shot, and I wish we could have done it. It would have been so great for the team. But also I’m bummed to be starting the Indy 500 second.

Not bad, definitely, but yeah, I think it just has to sink in a little bit. What is in my head now is I lost, but no, I will enjoy this one, and it’s my best starting position so far in the 500, which fourth, third, third and second, we all know what comes in my car number after second, and that’s a 1.

Just very proud of the team, also. We had a tough morning, kind of went downhill for a bit, and we still — the team still made it happen. The only thing I had to do was stay flat for four laps, and the ECR Bitnile crew gave me the best possible car for this moment.

Q. Do you think back lap by lap where maybe you could have picked up a tenth or a thousandth here or there, or was that a perfect four-lap run for you?

RINUS VEEKAY: I’m not sure how much better it could have gone. The car felt the best it’s felt in qualifying trim, and yeah, should have had a bit less lunch. I think that’s it.

Q. You mentioned the emotions that go into today, knowing you’ve got to make two attempts, throw in what happened in that practice this morning. Talk about not getting too high or too low throughout the day and the emotions that were brought out of your today.

RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, it’s a long day, actually longer than last year because there was a big break between the two, the Fast Twelve and the Fast Six. But I think I was the least nervous for the Fast Six because I already made it that far — I’m sorry, worst-case scenario I’m starting sixth. So emotions were pretty good, and also within the team was very chill.

Just very happy to have it done now and focus towards the race.

Q. You probably know the F1 race was canceled due to bad weather. Do you think you can now beat your countryman Max Verstappen for popularity in Holland?

RINUS VEEKAY: It’s definitely nice that — not nice; it’s terrible what happened there. But it’s good that all eyes are on INDYCAR this weekend.

I wish they’d move Monaco next weekend a bit, but at least, yeah, there’s a lot of people tuning in. That’s very nice. I hope the popularity for INDYCAR grows very fast in the Netherlands and all over the world.

Q. Rinus, of course there’s tomorrow’s practice, Carb Day. You’re sandwiched with McLaren and Ganassi in the front row. What’s going to be instrumental to get that car and in order to get Ed that big win over the next few days?

RINUS VEEKAY: I think definitely the most important thing is staying out of trouble, having a clean race, and making sure we’re there when we tune it up at the end of the race.

I know looking at the practice rounds we’ve done that the car is maybe even better in race trim than qualifying trim.

I was very happy on Thursday in our last traffic run, so yeah, just very excited to show that in the race.

Q. Was there any impact to not having a teammate this year in the Fast Six compared to having Ed the last couple years to maybe do some setup changes between?

RINUS VEEKAY: I think it definitely helped out like to have a teammate in there. It’s always nice to have someone with the same setup, same exact car, do a run before and making some little tweaks.

But yeah, I wish Ed was in there and I could have battled with Ed or Conor. But I think for the underdog car in there, it was nice to have a good shot at it and almost hitting the bull’s eye.

Q. The other morning we talked and I asked how you’d grade your season so far, and you said 4 out of 10. Does a day like today help morale?

RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, definitely. This is the best qualifying result for the team since I’ve joined, so definitely not bad, and yeah, just very, very happy for the team that we got this, and I think it definitely helps morale, not only for me but for all the three car crews.

We’re going to work as hard as we can. We’ve just got to find the grit and the determination to make it happen. But it’s a great group, and I’m excited that we’re going to be in the race, albeit last. We’ll do our best now.

THE MODERATOR: Also joined by Felix Rosenqvist who will start on the outside of row 1, driver of the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet with his first front-row start. By the way, once again, for the second straight year, this is the fastest front row in Indy 500 history, making up, once again, the fastest field in Indy 500 history.

Again, Felix, congratulations. Your thoughts about starting on the front row.

FELIX ROSENQVIST: It’s mixed feelings right now. I think overall it’s a very good day for us. I think these two found something in the Fast Six that we didn’t find. We felt like we were kind of on top of it going into it. We were not confident, but we felt like we put the best possible scenario on the car, and big thanks to all the group for Arrow McLaren and Team Chevy, as well. I think the whole team came together for this final run where we threw everything we had at it, and we missed out, and it’s the second time in not so long I’m sitting here and missing pole with I think one or two thousandths. It’s what it is, but overall we have to be proud to have all the cars in the top 12. It’s just been a phenomenal month for us so far.

But yeah, big congrats to Alex and also to Rinus. That was a hell of a run. We couldn’t match that today.

THE MODERATOR: Fastest field in history, 232.184 miles an hour, breaking the record last year we set, 231.023.

THE MODERATOR: For Felix, fast guy yesterday, fast guy in the Fast 12. Were you a little bit surprised that you didn’t have the speed there at the end when it looked like the track conditions were probably the best they’d been all weekend?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, I don’t know. It didn’t feel like it. I could feel on the run pretty much on my warmup lap that it didn’t feel as sporty as it did earlier today, so kind of had to look what went wrong. Obviously we didn’t change a bunch on the car. We were pretty sure what we put on was the best we’d done all month.

But man, it’s tight, and if you don’t get it 10 out of 10, there’s going to be two other boys sitting next to you with better lap times.

I think anyway, it’s just been incredible, and just to have the privilege to drive a car that looks that good and is that fast I think is — yeah, it makes it pretty cool.

Q. Felix, back in Europe the 500 feels a bit further away and the focus is on more circuit racing type stuff. Can you kind of talk from the background that you grew up in what the kind of qualifying what you did today means and how big an occasion the 500 qualifying is just based on everything that’s happened today?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, it’s huge, man. I remember when Kenny Brack, who was the first driver I grew up watching actually before F1 or anything, and he had a big shunt, he came back, and I think he set a really good lap time after his injury, and that was a big deal in Sweden, and that was kind of my first memories of racing. So it’s a big deal, and in Sweden it’s huge because he won the race, and now obviously Marcus won it last year.

So Sweden is pumped in this race right now. There’s a lot of Swedish flags out there already, and everyone is sitting back home and watching late at night.

It’s incredible to see the interest has grown, and I think people in general get a better understanding of the ovals. When I came over here, it was like, what’s the difference, like how do you go quicker on an oval. You hear that question a lot. And now people are already looking at ambient temperatures and humidity and wind, and everyone is becoming like experts at analyzing the drivers and lines and stuff.

It’s cool to see. It’s definitely on the upward trend.

Q. Rinus, I believe you started on the front row already, but what’s it like outside front row going into Turn 1? You ought to be a master at it by now, and the fact that you start so far up has to give you a really good strategic edge or tactical edge in the race.

RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, definitely helps. I feel like even if race running when we did that in the beginning of the week, you definitely feel there’s a bunch of cars in front of you, more than three, it gets very hard to pass. This way if you are in the top 3 you can basically save fuel and focus on that kind of stuff to move your way forward. That helps, that definitely helps, and we’ve got to make sure we stay in there for the last part of the race, and then I think everyone tears it up.

Q. Felix, this is a pretty big accomplishment for you starting on the front row of the Indianapolis 500. You’re having a great, great weekend so far, great week, a lot of speed. I know you’re probably living in the moment a little bit, but your future is a little bit uncertain right now. You’re sitting next to the guy. How much confidence does that give you even about your career, about how you’re doing this week, and even maybe going into next year, do you think this is a time where you can really build that resume up and show everybody, not just Arrow McLaren, that hey, I belong here, this is what I’m meant to do?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I mean, it doesn’t hurt. We always try to be quick, and I feel like most of the time we are. INDYCAR racing is not easy, and it doesn’t always go the way you want, but no, I feel like it’s been a good year so far, even with two DNFs to start the year. It’s obviously super difficult to crawl out of that.

But on top of that, it’s been great. Everywhere we’ve gone, we’ve been quick. We’ve been qualifying up front. We’ve been good in the races, good strategy.

The whole team has just come together so well that I just feel like there’s quite a lot in store for us for the rest of the season, and obviously now we’re here again on the front row in the second race in a row.

It’s awesome. We just have to ride the wave, and I feel like that way is going to get bigger as the year goes on, and what happens for me in the future, I don’t know, and I don’t really think about it right now. I just try to be in the now, extract everything I can every race, and I always tell myself things work themselves out if you just focus on what you do in the car.

Q. What is it like, most people will never, ever get a chance to drive a car like this, hanging it out. What is it like out there? Do you feel raw emotion, or is there a little bit of scared going on when you’re hanging the car out? What is going on, Felix, when you’re out there in a run like that with everything on the line?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: For me it’s like the most focused you can be. You’re just very — it’s like a very high level of discipline, and knowing yourself, knowing the car, trusting the car, trusting your engineers, trusting your mechanics, but at the same time you kind of just have to shut everything off.

But it feels cool, man. Yeah, it feels quick. I don’t know how else to explain it.

You’re so focused — Not scary, but you know it’s big consequences, and when you feel the car start sliding, you kind of have to just bury it and do some changes to your tools, and then you’re just hoping it’s not going to be the same in the next corner, and it’s kind of a funny thing, but like one press wrong on that button can be the difference of being P1 or being in the wall.

It’s a fun dance, I guess, and it’s fun when you’re out there, but when you’re done, you’re also quite happy.

Q. You’re touching so many buttons, making all these adjustments through a run like that, does it take away from the fun part?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, it’s so tight now, man. It seems every time I’m here for qualifying, it’s a record of some sort. It’s the tightest field or the tightest for pole or we have the tightest Fast Six on the GP here a couple of weeks ago.

I think we just have to exploit everything we can get our hands on. If there’s a button to press and you go a bit quicker, we’ll press it.

I feel like it’s getting busier and busier as the years go on. Like you see a couple of runs from the past where maybe you could analyze as well with simulation and computers and stuff, but you just kind of hang on, and now it’s more like being on the very, very fine limit which you can do when you have all the resources that both our teams have, and then when you’re there, you just have to extract every little thousandth out of it. I think it’s pretty cool. It’s sporty, and I think it makes it harder.






MAY 21, 2023


INDIANAPOLIS (May 21, 2023) – The Fast-12 round of qualifying provided an equal amount of drama and excitement as the first round on Saturday.

Four Chevrolet-powered drivers are moving on to the Firestone Fast Six to contend for the pole of for the Indianapolis 500: Arrow McLaren drivers Felix Fosenqvist (1st) and Pato O’Ward (6); AJ Foyt Rading’s Santino Ferrucci (2nd) and Rinus VeeKay from Ed Carpenter Racing (3rd) will make their final run later this afternoon.

Four Team Chevy drivers will start in rows three and four for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing: Alexander Rossi and Tony Kanaan, both from the Arrow McLaren Chevrolet stable will start seventh and ninth respectively. AJ Foyt’s Benjamin Pedersen will roll his Chevrolet off in 11th position, and Will Power of Team Penske will start 12th, on the outside of the fourth row.



“It was a great lap. It’s tight-the field is tight. It always is tight. It was a great team effort. There we just didn’t quite get the balance right for these conditions, which is an excuse, you know, six other cars did but you know, seven is a good starting spot. And we’ll see. We’ll see what next week brings but you know, overall, just a huge effort from Arrow McLaren and hopefully, one of the cars lands on the pole.”


“First, I had to get to the other guys to help them out because we want to put this team on the pole. The drop off was big, but we have between the three cars, a responsibility to help my two teammates with the track changes so that they have a chance to change stuff on the line. That last run was okay. Now this part is over.”


“We did the best we could and I was happy with what we ran given the conditions. Hats off to all team members for working so hard making sure every little detail is as a Indy 500 special as possible. All the engineers, everybody is working together. So, yeah, I’m very fortunate to have the car like I do for being a rookie. We’re here we’re in the Fast 12 run. Now we get ready to race.”


“We had a big push on second lap and I got close to turn one wall and had to lift. But apart from that it’s pretty solid, maybe got the gear wrong shifted down a gear too early, but I got the lights for it. So maybe too much soft limiter is looking like it’s gonna be super tight. the car has been really good in race trim. There’s a lot of other guys that are really good too. The car has been really good in race trim. There’s a lot of other guys that are really good too. Really even, just as tight. But in qualifying it was the same






MAY 20, 2023


  • Arrow McLaren INDYCAR’s Felix Rosenqvist topped the leaderboard in his No. 6 Chevrolet with a four-lap average of 233.947 MPH.
  • Rosenqvist’s last run of Saturday was the third fastest four-lap qualifying average in Indianapolis 500 history.
  • Rosenqvist’s teammate Alexander Rossi, in the No. 7 Chevrolet, finished his four-lap average second with a speed of 233.528 MPH.
  • Chevrolet captured eight of the top-12 positions at conclusion of the Saturday’s Indianapolis 500 qualifications.
  • The two entries by AJ Foyt Racing, Santino Ferrucci and rookie Benjamin Pedersen, continue to shine, qualifying in the top-12 and setting up to start amongst the first four rows of next week’s Indianapolis 500.
  • Pedersen’s qualifying attempt of 232.739 MPH was the second fastest four-lap average by a rookie behind Tony Stewart in 1996.
  • Pedersen also clocked the fastest single-lap speed by a rookie with his first lap at 233.297 MPH around Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • A record number of 84 qualifying attempts were made by the 34 vying for a qualifying spot at the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500, breaking the single-day record of 73 set in 2019.


Pos.  Driver

1st      Felix Rosenqvist

2nd    Alexander Rossi

4th     Rinus VeeKay

6th     Tony Kanaan

8th     Pato O’Ward

9th     Santino Ferrucci

11th   Benjamin Pedersen

12th   Will Power


Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“We’re just trying to make it into the next show tomorrow, and the Fast 12. Unfortunately, I think that’s just what we had today. We really went aggressive, about as aggressive as you can go, and it just wasn’t there. I’m really proud of the team for really giving an effort. You’ve got to do that. You’ve got to try. We were close enough to give it a try, and unfortunately, we were a little short. I think we’ll have a great racecar. I’m really proud to drive the Shell car. Everybody is fueled by Shell in this field with a completely renewable fuel because of Shell, so it’s a big deal in the INDYCAR series, be the first U.S.-based motorsports championship to say that. Proud of Chevy too. I think Chevy has done a great job this weekend. Just bummed we’re not going to be there tomorrow, but we’re going to work towards next weekend.”  

Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“I can’t believe how tight this qualifying session was today. Before our last run we trimmed the Verizon 5G Chevy and changed gears, and ran basically the same speed. It’s an incredibly fierce field. This No. 12 team has done a great job, but it’s a very competitive field. It shows just how tough INDYCAR is, and I think it’s great.” 

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“I think we lacked a little bit of downforce. I tried to hold on as flat as long as I could and everyone was pretty solid, you guys you guys would be all over the replays. The Pennzoil Chevy was tight but you got to hold it in Indy 500 qualifying and it was fine. We will go back out and try to get cranking speeds in the car. It’s amazing.”

ON SECOND RUN: “When I was on the first lap, I thought we had something but then every lap, it was just too stuck (too much downforce). We had to go for more speed to make it in the Fast-12, but it was not there.  We had four really fast and consistent laps but it wasn’t there.”

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“Definitely a super strong run and that’ll be enough to get to the top-12. Not saying we’re not going to come back out and see we can make it a little bit better for preparation you know for tomorrow. But that was a really, really solid run–very happy with that. The winds are getting a little gusty here and it started getting a little wiggly there in turn four but I’m very, very happy with that.”

Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“Man, it did (surprise me). I have no words. Phenomenal run. Big thanks to Arrow McLaren, Team Chevy. Every time we’re out there, we’re learning something. The first run wasn’t optimal. I wasn’t super happy with it but it was clearly quick enough. We said let’s go out again and learn something for tomorrow and kind of be the same conditions, or hotter. I thought it was good experience, and then like I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was unreal. We trimmed the car out a little bit and tuned up the balance. But I had no idea I was going to be that quick. Definitely puts a smile on my face.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“This is INDYCAR and knowing how this works probably not another run for us. An amazing team effort from Arrow McLaren and Chevy brought some amazing horsepower this month which is which is awesome and the balance every day it’s been getting better and better. This team is unbelievable. So happy with that first one for sure. We’re in the show.”

“An amazing team day. I don’t have enough to say about the whole group. To get four cars in the top 12 – I can’t put into words how challenging that is. It’s really special to be a part of. Tomorrow’s going to be an amazing day, and hopefully one of us can be on pole.”

Tony Kanaan, No. 66 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“I don’t know if it’s a drama. We started the day a little bit more conservative. We just kept digging. I need to thank definitely my teammates for it. They’re all in. They kept supporting me, asking me, You got to do it again, you got to do it again. We finally on the last run nailed it. Great team effort. It was nice. It was unexpected, especially I don’t think I’ve ever done that many qualify attempts in this place. I guess because it’s my last one they kept sending me out, so it paid off.”

Gavin Ward, Race Director at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“Saturday qualifying for the Indy 500 is, I think, the coolest day in motorsports. It can go either way on you. Today was a good day. We wanted to give each of our cars a shot at the pole, and we’ve got that – all four in the top eight and the two quickest of the day. Tomorrow is the day that counts, though. Strong day for the team. Let’s have some fun tomorrow.”

Conor Daly, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“Fast enough. I mean, we’ve got good cars three good cars. Pace, as usual, is just faster than us. So tough to say. But I mean, it’s the most comfortable I’ve been here in a while qualifying. So we got to run again and try to get our way in there. But I’m not sure how much more raw speed there is in the car. Yeah, so we’ll see. What differences can you make? What changes? What are you looking for? For that second round, it will just be small changes. And you know, you got to drive it out of control here to be fast, so we just have to get it more out of control.? It was most comfortable because we just dialed in the balance but the problem is comfortable, too slow. So we got to be able to control and we got to add a little bit of a headdress that was coming out to during that run so hopefully we can tie it all together when we get back in the car.”

Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“To be honest, I’m most happy when it’s over. But I mean, this team gives me gives you a great car where, you know, I was barely making any adjustments. It was all in all very, very detailed work. But that was a great car to drive. I’m very happy and yeah, I mean, look at Chevy, you know, they’ve upped their game, so, yes, really good day. I think we’re hanging in there confidently. today. So, you know, you want to drive the least possible especially me, maybe the team wants to go out but I don’t think so. Anyway, great job by the team great performance and yeah, very proud to drive the car. It’s always nice to have them around and they are as excited as it gets, especially my dad. You know, I’m, I’m afraid his heart’s gonna stop sometime because it’s blood pressures through the roof. But you know he’s the best that I could ask for at the racetrack. And of course, my mom was there to calm him down. But now they’re the great parents. Very solid.”

Ed Carpenter, No. 33 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“I think there was one awkward shift there that did it. So that’s how tight it is right now in the NTT INDYCAR Series. I am disappointed for my team and BITNILE.COM. This isn’t what we are accustomed to, but – got a ton of confidence and what we’ve been doing the whole month-just keep doing those things. The race cars are really good. I felt as strong as I have in a long time.  I’m just gonna have to do some more work this week. We have Rinus (VeeKay) in the Fast-12, so we will all focus on helping him advance to the Firestone Fast Six. Then Monday, we all go work on our race cars and the final two practices.”

Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“Good run for us. I will work to keep our momentum rolling! Driving for AJ Foyt I think it makes it even more special. It’s a relief to be honest. you know, I’m just happy where we are today. I think it’s a huge testament one day at a time for this team, but I will tell you right now, I think we have a better race car than we do a qualifying car. That will make it more exciting for us.  So I think we will go out again around 4:00 PM because I guess that’s what you are supposed do.”

Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“It’s helpful but at the end of the day, you’ve got to get in the race car and go. But man, it was a pretty good car. You know, there’s little things where I could have done that a little bit better. But honestly, it was a really good run and yeah, it’s it’s fast. It was my first but my best ever qualifying here but that’s because it’s my first ever qualifying here. So the presence here is amazing. The vibe everything AJs presents being right over my shoulder with running on track is very special.”

Callum Ilott, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“We made the race. First of all, great. But it was looking a bit difficult, especially a week ago, coming here. Not easy, and we’ve been through some wars. We had to change the chassis last night, then a big unknown going into today. Bit of an impossible task, but we pulled it off. Obviously, there’s a bit more to achieve. We’ve got to get the racecar in a good window, but yeah, I’m super happy to be making the race. It’s a lot of hard work that everyone behind the scenes has been working to achieve, and thanks to Juncos, big thanks to Chevy.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“We have finished qualifications on the first day. I am very proud of my team. I am very, very happy to be in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in my life. Now, we’ll focus on the race. We’ll do our best to finish in the best possible position.”  

Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 23 Chevrolet at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing:

“Qualifying was harder than I thought it would be with the first run. Usually, it’s pretty straight forward. Not sure why we slowed for the second two laps. I didn’t see that coming with the handling. The whole car just took off to the wall in turn three. That wasn’t a clean run for us. We lost the consistency in the balance of the car. That really hurt our average speed. We will wait and see how the other speeds go throughout the day. We found a problem with the first run. So, we fixed it and the second run was much more consistent. We picked up six sports. Maybe we’ll go later in the day if conditions remain the same. We wanted to run four consistent laps and get an overall faster speed for qualifying. It’s a lot of work with a new team and new crew. This team is very good, but everything is new for me. And I am new for them. It takes time to blend everything throughout the month of May.”

Stefan Wilson, No. 24 Chevrolet at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing:

“I was very nervous going out later as the track was getting hotter. Sun was beating down on the track. It was a good run, but I made a slight mistake on the third lap. I thought we would have the No. 24 DRR/Cusick Motorsports/CareKeepers Chevrolet higher on the speed charts today. The car felt great and I’m ready to go out for another run soon. It seems so easy to just be turning left for four laps, but there is so much going on in those four laps for a driver. You are always making adjustments during the qualifying run. I’m very proud to be part of Team Chevy this year. This is my third year with a Chevrolet engine. Seems like every year Chevy just gives us more power.”

Dennis Reinbold, Team Owner, Dreyer & Reinbold:

“We know we have good race cars after this week’s practice runs. We were a little disappointed in our first qualifying runs for both drivers. We had some speed fall off in the last two laps for both guys. We know what happened there, so we look to run again with those adjustments. We believe we can be more consistent with all four laps again and improved our four-lap averages.”


THE MODERATOR: We are going to go ahead with our news conference, wrapping up day one of qualifying. Felix Rosenqvist P1 today, as well as Tony Kanaan, Santino Ferrucci, and Josef Newgarden will also join us.

Already joining us here up on the stage is Callum Ilott, qualified 28th. That’s where he’ll start. 

THE MODERATOR: Also joined by Tony Kanaan, sixth quick after some late drama in qualifying. Also joined by Santino Ferrucci.

Tony, some drama there for you, got kind of emotional as well.

TONY KANAAN: I don’t know if it’s a drama. We started the day a little bit more conservative. We just kept digging. I need to thank definitely my teammates for it. They’re all in. They kept supporting me, asking me, You got to do it again, you got to do it again.

We finally on the last run nailed it. Great team effort. It was nice. It was unexpected, especially I don’t think I’ve ever done that many qualify attempts in this place. I guess because it’s my last one they kept sending me out, so it paid off (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: We’ve never seen this many qualifying attempts before. Today set a record for single day qualifying attempts for the Indy 500.

Also joining us Felix Rosenqvist. Felix, P1 today, which is great. Doesn’t mean anything for tomorrow. But you advance to round two tomorrow.

FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, I think it’s still a pretty big day for us. I mean, we’ve been good here the last couple years. Today to have all the cars in the top eight, in this competition, it’s really hard. We saw with Tony today, even if he’s doing a perfect job, still things that can outside factors that can play in, it can become really difficult in this field.

Super proud of the whole team for executing. That last run we did was just phenomenal. Almost in a 234 average. That was pretty mind-blowing how we found so much speed. We weren’t super happy on our first run, so we had two or three reasons to think we were going to go quicker. We kind of put them all together, wow, what a run.

Team Chevy as well, great job. Yeah, just a fun time to be in Arrow McLaren right now. Everything kind of resets for tomorrow, but we definitely feeling good right now.

THE MODERATOR: Callum Ilott, after the drama yesterday, you’re in the show. How much of a relief is that?

CALLUM ILOTT: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know where to start with that. It’s been a tough week, a tough month actually from the open test. We changed chassis middle of yesterday. I was kind of given an almost impossible task from what some people said. Just tried to keep the confidence high.

The first run wasn’t great. I don’t think my engineers would even look at the video because they were scared to watch it. We just managed to turn the car around into something that was fast, managed to scrape four laps out of it.

THE MODERATOR: Santino Ferrucci joins us, getting into round two, the top 12. How excited is the team and you?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Yeah, I think it’s a pretty impressive feat for the team. To see the 14 up the front, my teammate right there as well who went earlier in the day, it’s been pretty awesome. To see us up there is pretty sick, man.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up for questions.

Q. Santino, when we talked to you out there in the bullpen, you were trying to get in on the Fast 12. Now that you’re officially in the Fast 12, to have an A.J. Foyt Racing driver in the Fast 12 at the Indianapolis 500, how big of an honor is that? How much do you feel you want to go the extra distance and get it for A.J.?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Yeah, definitely. Like I said, the goal here is to bring home A.J.’s sixth win, sixth 500 victory. I actually feel a lot more comfortable in the race car than I have been in the qualifying car. To be in the Fast 12 and have a shot at pole tomorrow I think is huge.

Our car definitely has some more in it. It’s getting really tight up top there. Inches are going to make the difference. I’m excited to see what we can do tomorrow.

Q. What did A.J. say to you when you got out of the car?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: I think he’s really happy to see that car up on top. I think he’s more thrilled that both cars are equally competitive. I think he believes in what we’re doing. He believes in the program. It’s just one of those things where he’s ready to see what we can do on race day.

Q. T.K., you’re a McLaren guy now, but you’re a former Foyt driver. How big a deal is this?

TONY KANAAN: C’mon, it’s a big deal. The team doesn’t have the budget of all the other big teams. They work really hard. It’s a big family there. They’ve been through some tough times lately with some personal stuff.

I’m glad to see. Really happy to see them there. I’m pretty sure A.J. is laughing pretty hard, but going to give Santino a run tomorrow again so he better be on his toes.

Q. It seemed kind of effortless that Arrow McLaren has been able to put all four in the Fast 12. Can you describe what it’s like being on the inside watching that happen?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, I think the team is really maturing. We’re still a fairly new team as the current structure. But you really feel a difference. There’s a lot of young guys. When I joined the team, a lot of young guys on the team now becoming pretty experienced, being up front for many years, still not a championship, but we’re up there lurking all the time now.

You really feel that the confidence is growing in the team, I think both on the engineering side, driving side. Now especially with Tony and Alex joining, it’s just a good environment.

We’re having fun. I feel like we’re able to attack. When we have tough days, we’re pretty good at bouncing back quickly which normally puts us in the mix. To do it four cars as well. I think already on the 7 car this year with Alex, it’s really impressive with what they’ve done because it’s pretty much a completely new group. Then you have Tony’s car on top of that. I think a couple of months ago we were like, what people are we going to use for running these cars? Here we are in the top eight, all of us. It’s really remarkable.

As I say, it feels not effortless, but it feels like we’re vibing, it’s a fun group.

TONY KANAAN: Yeah, I mean, it’s a tough job. I mean, I was in the shop in January, and we didn’t have probably between the 7 car and my car half of the people yet. I walked in, Where is everybody?

They said, This is everybody.

I’m like, Whoa.

It’s a big challenge. It gives a lot to Gavin making a best out of people, Barnhart, all the group there. It’s a really good environment. They give you the freedom. Gavin is really good picking up who is good at what. Doesn’t mean if you’re not good at one thing he will place you somewhere else. I think it has shown how strong this team is.

I think between the driver lineup, it’s the same thing, we have an awesome combination. We have two young kids, they’re fired up. Alex is there with his experience, then I come. It’s a really good environment. They’ve been doing it.

It’s not a surprise. Look how strong they start the season. It’s a work in progress. It’s not easy, especially adding a fourth car. It’s remarkable. I think it’s something. Props to everybody there.

THE MODERATOR: Also joined by two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden.

You went for it there at the end, trying to get something to happen for you.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, no doubt. I couldn’t be more proud of my team. This is what Indy is all about. We had to go for it and try. Unfortunately we just weren’t good enough. I really wish we had just a little bit more. We were really, really going for it.

I felt like we were as aggressive as we could reasonably be at the end there. We definitely gave it a good attempt. It just was still not quite strong enough.

Unfortunately we got to work towards the race now. Feel really confident that we can put together a good day next Sunday. Just sad that we’re not going to be in the fight tomorrow. But we are where we are.

We’ll be working towards hopefully a great race day with Shell and Chevy. Team Chevy did a phenomenal job today. I don’t think we were lacking anything there. Really proud for the whole group.

Q. Callum, after the first run you said as long as you could get some clean laps. 231, that’s where you ended up. Did you pretty much have the second run just fairly smooth?

CALLUM ILOTT: First two laps were good. I think I put two 232 twice, then dropped off big-time, just super loose.

We kind of undershot it the first time with the car, then overshot it the second time aero-wise. Made it quite difficult. I got it across the line, so…

Q. For the Chevy drivers, it definitely has a Chevy heavy day today. Marco Andretti, one of the first things he said was that Chevy was holding something in their pocket all week. Do you feel you are the advantaged engine right now?

TONY KANAAN: Yes, the grass is always greener on the other side.

I think it’s pretty tight. I’m talking about it because I’ve driven a Honda a year ago, then I switched. I really think both manufacturers have advantages and disadvantages in some areas.

I really think it’s pretty tight. It’s not like we are holding things up. We did not. Maybe we did a better job at ballast. If we look at how tight this field is, how many attempts of qualifying, how close we were.

One thing I would love people to realize, if you would convert that to lap time, you will see how close it really is. I don’t see it. But I’m not good at math so…

Q. Santino, you told us the other day you didn’t like qualifying. Have you changed your tune on that? Felix, how do you celebrate this?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: I’m still never a fan of qualifying. I’m a racer through and through. Getting these four laps out of the way was amazing for us and the team to be as fast as we are. It’s incredible, a major feat. To have to go out and do it again tomorrow against once again the same super competitive top 12, obviously it’s something that I’m looking forward to as a team because it’s something new for everybody.

Personally as a driver, yeah, it’s definitely something I’m happy to check off the list, happy I don’t have to pass as many cars come Sunday. But, yeah, I’m more looking forward to the race than anything else.

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I mean, I think in this field when you get a run like that, it’s always special. We’re fully aware that this doesn’t get any points. It gives some good memories, though. I think it was a phenomenal day for us as a team. I think we have the right to celebrate for a couple of hours, then kind of resetting tomorrow.

Tomorrow, the wind might be different, the humidity, the track, the engine. Everything changes. I think that’s the beauty of it. Also everything that goes into every time you’re out there, I only did two attempts today, but some poor guys, like this fella, had to go out like five, six.

CALLUM ILOTT: I only did two (laughter).

FELIX ROSENQVIST: It sucks if you have to do that.

TONY KANAAN: I think my engineer was trying to make me match every single qualify I’ve done in this place in one day. We’re doing 26 today (smiling)?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: All the commitment it takes, when you get a run like that, you’re pretty happy with it. We wake up tomorrow, it’s a new day.

Q. Josef, where do you feel like you sit after the end of today? As a team, how do you feel it’s gone today? How can you reflect on that?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, perhaps as the rumors have stated we’re just holding something in our back pocket. It’s a very interesting strategy I guess, but…

Look, there’s no place to hide. We’re just not fast enough. We really weren’t. It’s unfortunate. I feel terrible for our team because I’m front and center of being able to witness the amount of effort that has gone into this place. It is just not from a shortage of effort.

We’re obviously just missing something else. I don’t know how we’re missing it. We’ve worked hard, all of us collectively. We’ve tried to have no ego about it. It’s just not enough.

I think we’re still short. Unfortunately the weird thing was I think we were more in the mix yesterday. I think the wind plays a big factor into that. Maybe we’re missing something in these type of conditions that we saw today.

Any way you want to slice it, we just weren’t good enough. We’ve got to go back and really assess again. Unfortunately we’ve been doing that every single year here. What’s most important now is we’re going to focus on the race. I do believe with how tight the field is, as Tony talked about, there’s opportunity anywhere. If you qualify for the race, there’s opportunity anywhere to win this event. We have to put our focus to that now and be able to collect ourselves after the 500 and see what we can do better. I have strong confidence we have great race cars and can be in the fight on Sunday.

Q. Santino, four Ganassis and four McLarens in the top 12 in qualifying. You’re making it up with them. Does that give you any sort of boost or enjoyment that you’re up there with those guys?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: It’s pretty funny. You sit there going against two four-car teams that have an insane budget, up front like this for a long time. McLaren is new, but you guys have been doing a fantastic job. To compete with them is definitely something special.

I think we’ve definitely been there more on the racing side of things, at least I have in the past few years. To see us up there on raw car speed is pretty cool.

Q. Callum, the last 24 hours has been a whirlwind. What can you share that you’ve talked to your crew about in the run you had today?

CALLUM ILOTT: Sorry, the last part of your question?

Q. What did you say to your crew and everyone that put your car back together?

CALLUM ILOTT: To be honest, I obviously was there when they were rebuilding it. This morning it was a big thank you. Then it was hard work, trying to stay in it because it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t a nice car to drive at first. But we managed to make it drivable and fast. Then at the end there when we knew we made it through, that was another big thing. I’ll buy them dinners at some point soon, but I’m going to have a quiet one on my own and destress a bit.

Q. How important is the Monday practice going to be to get your car ready for the race?

CALLUM ILOTT: Yeah, I mean, today included, we just found so many little quirks with this car that we obviously didn’t experience with the other chassis that we had or we never got to experience because of how bad it was.

That’s going to be interesting to fine-tune as we come to the race with different speeds and that. But again, even though it wasn’t perfect this morning, I was so much more comfortable with it than what I had. Honestly I think we know where to target now, now that I’ve got something.

Credit to Agustin because he’s kind of had to do what I did the whole of last year, which is go on your own and go for it. He led us into our starting point this morning. Yeah, it wasn’t perfect, but we didn’t stray too far away from it and that was more because of the quirks of our car.

Hopefully now we can build as a team, and Monday and Friday get a quicker race car.

Q. Felix, talk about the last run a little bit, how hairy was it.

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I mean, it was one of those runs where you have kind of like a perfect balance. You feel the rear sliding, but you’re not reacting that much on the wheel. You’re just putting in less wheel. You get a perfect arc, which is great. You’re not shaving off speed on any axle really. I was kind of able to keep that balance for the whole run. Got a little bit spicy on the last lap.

The speed was just there. Actually when I looked down at my dash the first time on lap three, I saw a 33.7, I actually thought it was stuck from lap one. I didn’t even know I had done a 234 at the time. My steering wheel was like a Christmas light for most of the run, which normally means you’re going quick.

Yeah, that’s just awesome. It’s fun. I wish I broke into the 234, but we can try that tomorrow.

Q. A lot of athletes when they’re getting ready to end their career, they want to still have something on the table rather than the sport necessarily. Pretty obvious you still have a lot left on the table.

TONY KANAAN: Yeah, I mean, I guess, but I never doubted I could still drive. To come back next year, the following year. But I think it’s time. I have other goals, other projects that I want to pursue.

Every year, let’s face it, it gets tougher and tougher. I had a really good year last year, then I got this opportunity. Once I did that, I was like, Hmm, maybe let me call it before somebody else decides that.

I’m not leaving or quitting INDYCAR racing because I don’t think I’m competitive or anything like that. I just think it’s time. I love being with the team. I’m enjoying other parts of somehow a new role. I still get to race all the type of cars.

Yeah, I mean, I’m okay with the decision. I am not coming back, so people keep making fun of me.

TONY KANAAN: Yeah, somebody can come with an offer. That’s what happened last year.

Q. Josef, you mentioned you have tried the last few years to get back in. McLaren second straight year has all their cars in. Do you feel as the Chevrolet camp, have they passed Penske?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think there’s no doubt that they’ve done a tremendous job. They’ve just excelled. We fell short today. There’s no hiding it. We did not do a good enough job. I can’t speak highly enough about Chevrolet. I think they’ve been tremendous this whole season, particularly tremendous today.

You can see that by evidence of everybody that was up there. We weren’t missing anything from that side. They’ve been a great partner for us.

We seem to be able to figure out most situations, but for whatever reason this cruel mistress, she’s just tricking us. I don’t understand how so. I think all of us don’t fully understand it.

You don’t stop working. I think for us, we’ve just got to continue to put in the work and not have an ego about it. We weren’t good enough, let’s figure out why. Indy is not easy. This is not an easy place to just succeed. I don’t care how many Indy 500s you have, what team you are, there are no guarantees when you show up here.

We don’t have an ego about it. We have to work hard, come back, do a better job.

Q. Tomorrow as close as it is, how do you balance making even a subtle change between now and tomorrow?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: I’m having a good dinner, go to bed (laughter). Driving the same car tomorrow. Nothing I’m changing.

Q. Callum, given the courses of the last 24 hours, to know now you’re going to race tomorrow, does that make this entire experience a little bit more special for you knowing it was not a guarantee 24 hours ago?

CALLUM ILOTT: Last year was the first experience for me at the 500. There was no Bump Day. It was quite an easy process. Made life a lot more relaxing. You still want to do better. Made it easier.

48 hours ago, I even put bets that I wasn’t going to make the race basically because you just knew it wasn’t going well. At that point then it becomes a pit of a panic, desperation. For sure for me, I was probably the first to be quite desperate as soon as I drove the car on Wednesday. But we had time to work with it.

Coming into today, I was really confident. Honestly I just knew if we just got a clear couple of runs, the car had pace.

So yeah, super special. In some ways it’s kind of one of those never-give-up situations, prove people wrong on that side. At the end of the day kind of feels like a win even though you’re 27th or something. That’s life sometimes.

Q. Santino, A.J. Foyt Racing looks good. You and Ben are in the Fast 12. He’s a rookie, you’re done this many times. How is that dynamic?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: It’s actually been a pretty interesting couple of days this week between the two of us. We both rolled out really good. He was a lot happier in the open test than I was. I wasn’t comfortable. Things weren’t going well. Came here, it was a complete reset. Rolled off the trailer, car was super comfortable.

We made two, three changes this entire week. We’ve just been there. The car has had pace all three days. Benjamin has actually had pace all three days. He’s trying to get his footing in traffic, which is understandable as a rookie. Today was no exception.

He rolled out first and I was actually relying on his comments, feedback. Everything felt good for him. He was actually a little stuck. I went out with exactly the same car, conditions obviously changed slightly, the air got a little bit thinner. I was able to go quicker.

If you put the cars back to back, they’d run the same time.






MAY 19, 2023


  • 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.


Pos.  Driver

3rd     Rinus VeeKay

5th     Pato O’Ward

6th     Josef Newgarden

7th     Santino Ferrucci


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.”

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