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Juan Pablo Montoya Will Lead Field to Green Flag at NOLA Motorsports Park as Weather Cancels Qualifying

* Persistent lightning storms forces Verizon Indy Car Series to cancel qualifying
* Field for the inaugural INDY Grand Prix of Louisiana set by entrant points following St. Petersburg race
* Team Chevy drivers occupy seven of top-10 starters for the 75-lap/205.5-mile race on the 2.74-mile, 13-turn permanent road course

AVONDALE, LOUISIANA (April 11, 2015) – Team Chevy’s Juan Pablo Montoya will lead the field to the green flag for the Verizon IndyCar Series inaugural race at NOLA Motorsports Park. Severe lightning storms delayed the start of and eventually canceled qualifying for the INDY Grand Prix of Louisiana that resulted in the Series setting the starting field by entrant points after the St. Petersburg race.

Starting alongside the driver of the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet is teammate and defending IndyCar champion Will Power, No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

The remainder of the top-10 starters, are Tony Kanaan, No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet starts 3rd; Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet rolls off 4th; Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet will start 5th and Sebastien Bourdais, No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cig – KVSH Chevrolet starts 6th.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (Honda) – 7th; Jack Hawksworth (Honda) – 8th; Luca Filippi, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing-9th and Marco Andrettii (Honda) 10th.

The Verizon IndyCar Series Warmup: 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Sunday, April 12. The
green flag for the race will fly at approximately 2:45 p.m ET. Race TV/Radio: 2:30 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Network, Sirius 213/XM 209, indycar.com live timing and scoring)

DRIVER QUOTES:

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, STARTS ON POLE: “We were lucky, but at the same time that’s why you need the points, when you have days like this, it will pay off. ”

WILL POWER, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, STARTS 2ND:
“You hate to start an inaugural race with a rain-shortened qualifying session, but you have to give credit to INDYCAR. They did everything they could to get qualifying in. I was fairly happy with the Verizon Chevy in the wet and would’ve liked to finish all the rounds. We will start the race from a great spot, though, and we will deal with whatever Mother Nature throws our way tomorrow.”

TONY KANAAN, NO. 10 NTT DATE CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 3RD: “The No. 10 NTT DATA Chevrolet has just been so good all weekend here and it’s disappointing that we weren’t able to continue with qualifying to see what it could do in the rain. I’ve had some luck in the past driving in the rain on race day and I expect that’s probably what it will look like tomorrow, so I’m ready to go. We’ll still start third tomorrow which isn’t bad at all, but I really wanted that pole position here and I felt like we had a really good shot at it.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, STARTS 4TH: THIS HAS BEEN A VERY FRUSTRATING RACE WEEKEND FOR YOU, WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING? “It was wet. So we had issues with the dry and in wet. The team is doing a phenomenal job. The Hitachi car was actually very consistent, but unfortunately it was consistent in the back. The good news is, it sounds like the race is going to be wet and we have some stuff we could have done. For me, I couldn’t see very well. I was actually following Juan Pablo (Montoya) until he spun out and I said OH, no man, you were my reference. It is just one of those things. We have two of our boys in the hunt. Roger will have to throw very good strategy on Sunday and see what happens.”

SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 PENSKE TRUCK RENTAL CHEVROLET, STARTS 5TH: “I really hate it for the fans that came out today because they didn’t get a chance to see a full qualifying session. Once the lightening came it was pretty apparent that we wouldn’t get back out as it was really starting to rain at that time. If we race in the rain tomorrow I feel really good about my Penske Truck Rental Chevy, based on how it drove today. We still have a few things we can do to better prepare for the wet. We’ll do our best to control the things that are in our control.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 11 TEAM MISTIC E-CIGS – KVSH RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 6TH

LUCA FILIPPI, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA CFH RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 9TH: “Again the result of St. Petersburg and starting the season well becomes even more important. Regarding today, I think the right call was to do what they did and cancel the rest of the session. From my point of view we have a good car on the wet, so if tomorrowe have a wet race, I am confident and looking forward to having a good race.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 67 HARTMAN OIL CFH RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 12TH : “It’s a shame we couldn’t run the whole session, this is actually a very fun track in the rain. There’s just some drainage issues. It’s a little difficult with the pooling of water in areas, so you get some hydroplaning. I think our car was great. We’ve had good cars here since rolling off the truck and I think they were good in the rain. If it rains tomorrow, we would be alright as we were pretty quick. It’s just a matter if we would be able to make the race work with the drainage. But hopefully we don’t get any rain tomorrow and it just makes it a lot easier on everyone. I think we’re in a good position to try and attack and get a good result tomorrow.”

SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 BRITA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 15TH: It’s really a shame we didn’t get qualifying in today. The weather just hasn’t been cooperative for us this weekend here at NOLA. Our Brita car was fast though. We paced the practice session and were in a position to advance in the limited qualifying session we ran so I guess we did the best we could today. Hopefully the weather is better for tomorrow and we can get the race in for the fans.”

SAGE KARAM, NO. 8 COMFORT REVOLUTION/BIG MACHINE RECORDS CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 19TH: “I thought the COMFORT REVOLUTION/Big Machine Records car was good today. We had a great practice session finishing P5 and I was excited for qualifying. With the rain we obviously didn’t get to show what the car was capable of but I guess the silver lining was that we know we have a fast car. We’ll just have to use that speed tomorrow, pass some cars, be patient with traffic and have a good result.”

STEFANO COLETTI NO. 4 VARIABLE BORE RAMS – KVRT CHEVROLET, STARTS 20TH

CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 83 NOVOLOG FLEXPEN CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 21ST: “I’m mostly disappointed for the fans that we couldn’t make it all the way through qualifying. NOLA Motorsports Park has done such a great job of making sure they’re putting on a good event for the Verizon IndyCar Series. The Team Chevy aero kits ran really well in the rain and we had great grip. There were some puddles where we were hydroplaning, but any time you get cars this fast on a wet surface that’ll happen. Overall I was happy with the car and Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing. It’s unfortunate that we have to start on entrant points, but if there’s one thing my team does well it’s fighting back to overcome obstacles.”

POLE SITTER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
An interview with:
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET
THE MODERATOR: We’ll get started with today’s postqualifying press conference. We’re pleased to be joined by Juan Pablo Montoya driving the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet for Team Penske. Juan, it’s been a pretty wet track throughout the past couple of days. But tell us a little about starting from the front and being able to continue your strong start to the season?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Oh, I mean, we were lucky, but at the same time that’s why you need the points, when you have days like this, it will pay off. You know, we try something a little different for qualifying, and we made a mistake there with the setup, but it is what it is.
I think our car was actually pretty good. I didn’t get to run the entire practice session in the morning. Like I put new tires on my fast lap I got you know, the red flag came out, and on the lap I was actually up to the point I was running I was on pace with Simon, and Simon was T3 or whatever he was, so I thought we had a pretty good car.
You know, I still feel like to win the race I feel like we need a tenth or two to be a little quicker. Going to make some changes for tomorrow, and we’ll see what happens with the weather now. That is the big question mark. I think IndyCar did a great job today making an effort to run the qualifying. I think that was a ballsy call, and I think that’s what it takes. I think it was great.
To be honest with you, after I spun, when they were bringing me back and they found more water already from those two minutes, it was incredible how much more water was sitting. I don’t know how much this is going to last, and it kind of gave me a bit of a smile, but it is what it is.
THE MODERATOR: It seemed like the track time might give you a little more confidence knowing Team Penske was so strong in St. Petersberg and does seem so strong above the other teams. Would you say that’s true?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think on the street courses we definitely seem to have the upper hand. For some reason we’ve been really strong. We’ve been really good in all the testing. This is the only place we didn’t do a lot of I mean, we tested with the old car, and it was tough the rest of the year. So I think everybody was getting used to it. And we came here the first day with the aero kit. I think personally we’re a little behind from where we needed to be. But, hey, it is what it is.
Q. You have no control over the weather, but it’s got to be something you think about when you’re doing the race setups and debriefs with the team. So how does that kind of change the whole thing when you meet with the team tomorrow?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Well, at the moment you’ve got to look at the two things. Okay, if it’s dry, where are we going to run? And if it’s wet, where are we going to run? You have to look at the two scenarios. If it’s dry, we’re going to go with this. And we’re going to try to run here, here and here. And if it’s wet, then you’ve just got to wait to see what the weather does, and how much rain are we going to get tonight? Are we going to have a warmup tomorrow? There are a lot of unknowns.
The hard thing is we keep going every time back to a green racetrack. Every time we’ve run there is a green racetrack. So the track hasn’t really rolled. So the question is, okay, we kind of know what it’s going to do from testing, but is it going to really evolve enough? We have a lot of entry issues with my car, for example, that we know when it rubbers up, they’re going to go away. But every time we go out there, the first time we’re like hanging on for dear life.
Q. How well did the track drain water? Did you see any trouble spots developing?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: There is, I think turn 9, the fast chicane, the rightleft, and that lefthander there is going to be a lot of standing water there. I’m sure there are a couple more spots. I mean, I think five was a little bit, six. The new asphalt on six was slippery, but it’s not standing water, so it doesn’t matter. There are a couple of apex’s where there is lots.
But the thing is if we can keep running, it’s okay. Once you stop, you’re done. I mean, the first group was lucky enough to run when it wasn’t too wet. I mean, it was wet, but there was not so much standing water they could actually start clearing the water. The car starts clearing water, and you start seeing the two like you go into the corners and that’s awesome. You’re looking for the two groups where you want to run the front tires. When that goes away, then you’re in trouble.
Q. Juan, I know you’re more worried about your car, but this is the first time you’ve been here. Can you express a little bit of the disappointment from the fans standpoint? The people that came out here today?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah, it is what it is. We all want to have a beautiful sunny day, we do. But that is the only thing we can’t control is weather, you know? I think the event has been pretty good. To tell you the truth, I’ve watched a couple of races, that little Miata race, that was pretty cool. You look at that last lap, I mean, they were going at it. I mean, I was entertained watching it.
People see the cars and trucks all days. It was weird we were sitting just waiting for it to run. I mean IndyCar made a big effort even yesterday to try to clean the track, and they went too far, and they went, oh. So, we told them, hey, try to dry it more so we can run, and they did.
We were not even sure if we were going to run. I told the guys, IndyCar made the effort, we should make the effort, and we all ran and it was good. I mean, we’re here to put a show and make a good show for the fans, and I think we have done that. Are we disappointed with the weather? Yeah, everybody is. But you can’t control that, you know what I mean? A week ago we knew it was going to be raining or ten days ago. Tomorrow supposedly it looks a little better than it used to be. But it looks better because it’s not a hundred percent chance of rain. It’s like 60 or 70, so that’s better.
Q. You can run in the rain, but how much rain can you run in and feel comfortable that you’ve put on a competitive race?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I don’t think anybody knows that. Because there was a lot of rain in that second session, and the problem with the rain is it’s when you have thunder, like today. You can’t control that. But, I mean, I think you can run in more water than they think they can. It would be really slow, but everybody will be really slow.
I mean, if you know there is a big puddle and you need to slow down, if not you’re going to aquaplane, well, then you slow down. You know what I mean? You’ve just got to know how far you can go.
Q. Are there any benefits that you can see with your driving style racing in the rain, if that is the case? Is?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Normally I’m really good in the rain. Today we struggled, but, I mean, it is what it is. You know, we kind of think we know what happened, and we made a change on the basis of what happened. How you’re thinking it’s going to be good here, and it wasn’t. But, you know, I’m a big boy. I’ll take it as it is. What can you do? It is what it is.
Q. A lot of these fans were witnessing qualifying openwheel sessions for the first time. The very first time this Session 1 came around the turns and they saw the unbelievable rain from the water on the track. The question I kept hearing over and over was how can you see?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: You don’t.
Q. That is my question. The visibility, how do you see?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Normally there are a lot of reference points, and you normally look to the side of the track. Instead of forward, you guide yourself from the side. But that’s kind of normal in an openwheel. That’s nothing. The hard thing is it’s hard because you haven’t driven enough on the wet. You don’t know where the markers are, and you don’t know if the guy in qualifying that first stop, did the guy lift it or keep it wide open? If he lifted and you’re going wide open, you’re going to have a massive so you kind of the first time you go, oh, and everybody does it. When I was in Formula 1, I remember the style was like that when you went to the top of the hill, and after a rooster and the long strait in the wet, or the old Hockenheim, those long straits. I remember once in Hockenheim in the Junior Formula, like 3,000 in the Junior Formula, I went to the grass to avoid somebody, and I started 14th. When I made it back to the track out of the corner because I went like 300 yards in the grass, and I was P2. So how that happened, I don’t know. I didn’t hit anything.
But it is what it is. You know what I mean? You learn. But this place is pretty open. With the wind, it clears pretty fast.
Q. Juan, with the introduction of the aero kits and all the undertray changes they made, was the spray any better, any worse, no difference?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I would think it’s probably less because the parts are bigger, but it’s massive. Doesn’t matter.
Q. Juan, we heard some talk about there be a threestop race. With the rain coming and the cars being slower, do you see it changing to a twostop race or will it still be three?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I have no idea, because the fuel mileage gets a lot better in the rain. So milliondollar question. To be honest with you, I haven’t really paid attention to that yet. We’ll look at that tomorrow morning while we’re out there after this.
Q. Tomorrow you’re going to start alongside your teammate who is usually very fast here.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I don’t know, we haven’t raced here.
Q. True. Can you use your push to pass on the start?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: We all do. Like every restart we’re like honestly, you’re waiting, as soon as you get wide open, you think, oh, and get on it and keep going, you know? It is what it is. That’s kind of normal. Like every time you’ve got a long strait.
Q. (No Microphone)?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: You can get even more than several. Think about it, it’s wider. It’s pretty wide. I mean, the track is wide, plus that extra space behind the curve, so it’s really you have some wide to really wide.
Q. How is the visibility in the rain different on a permanent road course compared to a street course since the walls are much tighter?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: In street courses the speeds are so much slower, the water it’s not as bad. You saw it get a little on the strait but it’s not as bad because, I mean, you’re going to slow. Like Toronto last year in the long strait you couldn’t see anything. Like zero. You go wide open, and you’re just going through the gears, just, hmmhmm. Now I think I’ll start getting on the gas maybe here. That’s how you do it. At least this is how I do it.
Q. Do you think that not just you, but maybe Team Penske as a whole got a bit of a break based on how the other cars were practicing?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah, I mean, but it’s the way the rules are. You know, they give you the rules to play with, and that’s what it is. Were we strong enough to be up there? I don’t know. I think in the drive we would have been okay. Were we dominant? No. But I think Simon looked really good. Will looked really good, and I thought I had probably close to the same pace as Will.
But that is what it is. It’s the rules that we play with. If we would have struggled on some speed, then we would have started in the back. Sometimes it goes your way. Sometimes it goes against you. Look, Dixon’s been really quick, and where is he starting? There you go. He was going to start where I was supposed to start, but we swapped. Thanks. We did.
Q. Who do you consider the best drivers in the series in wet conditions?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It changes. I think I’m really good in the wet. I think Bourdais is really good in the wet. I think Will some days when things click for Will, he’s really, really good. But when it doesn’t click, it’s not. I mean, there is not a happy medium. Helio is really good in the wet, but we were really good here when we came to test the first day with the aero kit, we were really happy and our balance is nowhere near what we had before.
THE MODERATOR: Good luck tomorrow. Thank you.

Chevrolet IndyCar V6 Drivers And Teams Prepare For Inaugural Run At NOLA Motorsports Park

* Chevrolet V6-powered driver Juan Pablo Montoya opened the season with a win on the Streets of St. Petersburg
* Team Penske earned the first victory for the all new Chevrolet Aero Kit
* Montoya’s victory marked the seventh consecutive victory for Chevrolet in Verizon IndyCar Series competition
* Chevrolet’s winning streak extends back to the first race on the Streets of Toronto in 2014
* Chevrolet’s Tony Kanaan has finished on the podium in six of the last eight races

 

DETROIT (April 8, 2015) – Major league motorsports has not visited the state of Louisiana since 1995. But all of that changes this weekend at NOLA Motorsports Park (NOLA) when the Verizon IndyCar Series takes to the track for the running of the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana. All 12 of the Chevrolet IndyCar V6-powered drivers and teams have tested their Chevrolet Aero Kit IndyCar V6 2.2 liter cars at NOLA to prepare for the challenge of a new venue – a 2.74-mile, 13-turn permanent road course.

Chevrolet opened the 2015 Verizon IndyCar season two weeks ago on the Streets of St. Petersburg with a solid debut of the Chevrolet Aero Kit. Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya brought home the victory and was followed by a precession of Chevrolet V6 powered drivers sweeping the top sixth finishing positions and bringing home seven of the top 10 spots.

“A new venue or track layout always adds an element of excitement to the competition by requiring additional simulation and preparation, said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager for the Verizon IndyCar Series. “The addition of NOLA Motorsports Park to the schedule for 2015 is no exception. Our Chevrolet teams and technical partners conducted a number of tests at NOLA during the preseason so we feel well-prepared for this track with its long straights and high speeds. It should provide a great opportunity to highlight the integration of the Chevrolet engine and aero kit.”

Armed with confidence and preparation the Bowtie Brigade is ready to take on the task of the uniquely designed NOLA Motorsports Park.

“You have to acknowledge what an amazing job Chevrolet and all of the engineers at Team Penske have done in the off season, said reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power. ” They have a lot to be proud of with the way we performed as a team at St. Pete. There is no reason to think that it won’t carry over to NOLA this weekend, not only because of the testing we did there in the off season, but we have typically run very well at the new venues over the last couple of years.

“NOLA is wicked fast, and what it takes to get around that place really suits my driving style, continued Power. “The grip is very tight and it should promote great racing. To me, it’s really impressive that the fans can see the entire track. That’s a cool aspect of NOLA that not many tracks have. New Orleans knows how to have a good time, and I believe everyone that comes out to the track this weekend will certainly have one. Hopefully we can get our first win of the season in the No. 1 Verizon Chevy. It’s going to be a hard-fought race because I know everyone is going to want to be the first winner at NOLA.”

The 75-lap/205.5-mile contest just outside the “Big Easy” should prove to be a historic battle as the recently debuted Chevrolet Aero Kits continue to be put to the test. Twelve Chevrolet V6-powered teams will try and be the first to hoist the trophy down by the Bayou and make it eight straight for Chevrolet in Verizon IndyCar series competition.

2015 Verizon IndyCar Championship

Driver Standings
1. Juan Pablo Montoya – 51
2. Will Power – 44
3. Tony Kanaan – 35
4. Helio Castroneves – 33
5. Simon Pagenaud – 31
6. Sebastien Bourdais – 28
7. Ryan Hunter-Reay – 26
8. Jack Hawksworth – 25
9. Luca Filippi – 22
10. Marco Andretti – 20

Team Standings
1. No. 2 Team Penske – 51
2. No. 1 Team Penske – 44
3. No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing – 35
4. No. 3 Team Penske – 33
5. No. 22 Team Penske – 31

Manufacturer Standings
1. Honda – 70
2. Chevrolet – (-92)

Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana (all times CT unless noted)
* Verizon IndyCar Series Practice 1: 12:15 p.m., Friday, April 10
* Verizon IndyCar Series Practice 2: 4:15 p.m., Friday, April 10
* Verizon IndyCar Series Practice 3: 12:30 p.m., Saturday, April 11
* Verizon IndyCar Series Qualifying: 4:15 p.m., Saturday, April 11
* Qualifying TV/Radio: 5:00 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network, Sitius 213/XM209 and indycar.com live timing and scoring
* Verizon IndyCar Series Warmup: 11 a.m., Sunday, April 12
* Race: Green flag 3:37 p.m ET., Sunday, April 12
* Race TV/Radio: 2:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 12 (NBC Sports Network, Sirius 213/XM 209, indycar.com live timing and scoring)

Juan Pablo Montoya Wins for Chevrolet on Streets of St. Petersburg

Chevrolet IndyCar V6 Drivers Score Top-Six Finishing Positions and Seven of the Top-Nine in First Race for the Chevrolet Aero Kit

ST. PETERSBURG (FLA) – March 29, 2015 – Juan Pablo Montoya delivered the first win for the Chevrolet Aero Kit today in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The victory is the fourth consecutive win on the Streets of St. Petersburg for the Chevrolet IndyCar V6, and the 34th win in Verizon IndyCar Series competition since the Bowtie Brand returned to the series in 2012.

The victory for Montoya comes in race one of his second year back in the Series after a 13-year hiatus, and is the 13th in his Verizon IndyCar Series career which includes an Indianapolis 500 victory in 2000.

“Juan Pablo’s great drive and his crew’s consistently quick pit stops were a powerful combination today on the Streets of St. Pete. And his win was also an exciting way to debut the new Chevrolet Aero Kit,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “The Chevrolet aero kit development was a team effort, so it was exciting to see drivers that represented three different Chevy teams finish in the top six finishing positions.”

Montoya’s Team Penske teammate and defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion, Will Power, No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet, was second at the conclusion of the 110-lap race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.

Filling out the all-Chevrolet podium was Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan, driver of the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet.

“Will Power’s second place finish was a strong way to start his title defense,” Campbell continued. “Congratulations to Tony Kanaan on filling out the podium with a third place finish. As this first race weekend winds down, we’ll quickly focus on preparing for the next race at NOLA.”

Helio Castroneves, who gave the Chevrolet V6 IndyCar its first-ever Verizon IndyCar Series win in 2012 in St. Pete, brought his No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet to the finish in fourth position. Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet, completed the top-five finishers.

Sebastien Bourdais, No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet, was sixth at the finish, and Luca Filippi, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet finished ninth to give Chevrolet seven of the top-nine finishers in the debut of the Chevrolet Aero Kit.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (Honda) finished seventh, Jack Hawksworth (Honda) finished eighth and Marco Andretti (Honda) completed the top 10 finishers.

A total of 12 Chevrolet drivers started today’s race, and finished as follows:
12. Josef Newgarden, No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet
15. Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
19. Sage Karam, No. 8 GE LED Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
20. Stefano Coletti, No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
21. Charlie Kimball, No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Next on the schedule is the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports in Avondale, Louisiana, on April 12, 2015.

POST RACE QUOTES:

CHRIS BERUBE, CHEVROLET RACING PROGRAM MANAGER, VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES: “Congratulations to Juan Pablo Montoya and Team Penske for a solid win today at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. the Team Penske preparation and execution was first rate all weekend and all four Chevy teams finished in the top nine today. We are very proud of this result for the competitive debut of the Chevrolet Aero Kit, and the fully integrated Chevrolet 2.2L Twin Turbo V6 engine package. This first win is a tribute to the extensive efforts and integration put forth by our technical partners and teams working together towards this first race. On to NOLA Motorsports Park for the next venue to exercise the new Chevrolet IndyCar package.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER: YOU SAID ONE YEAR AGO YOU HAD TO BE SO PATIENT, BUT NOT TODAY. TAKE US THROUGH YOUR RUN: “Today was a good day to be honest with you. The car was really good on black tires and that was the key. The tires were not falling off and right there at the end I was just running slow to look after them. When I needed to push I could push. Everybody with Verizon and Team Penske did an amazing job – Chevy as well. This aero kit is amazing to drive.”

DID YOU SEE WILL POWER TRYING TO MAKE THE MOVE UNDER YOU IN THE MIRRORS? “I saw him make the move but he was way too far and I wasn’t going to give him the position. If he was beside me I would have said, ‘okay, go ahead’. When I got to the turning point he wasn’t even close. It is a shame we touched, but it’s all good, it’s racing.”

ROGER PENSKE, OWNER, TEAM PENSKE: YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCE BY TEAM PENSKE THIS WEEKEND: “Well, I will tell you it was a fight between our two guys in front there. It was just an amazing weekend. The guys worked hard in the offseason on the aero kits and thanks for Chevrolet and Verizon for the support. But to come back this year with the fast times in qualifying and win this race 1-2, and four drivers in the top-six – wow, what a day.”

WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU SEE TWO OF YOUR GUYS BATTLING AND THEY HAVE CONTACT LIKE THAT? “Well, we said at the beginning let’s take care of ourselves but at the end we have to go racing. Will was trying to get by, and Juan didn’t want him by. So I am sure they understand that and we will move on to the next race. But what a great day for all the people at Team Penske.”

WILL POWER, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 2ND: : ON FINAL ATTEMPT TO PASS JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: “If I hadn’t damaged my wing, maybe I would have had another shot. It is hard to close with these cars, it really is. But it is a great day for the Verizon car, it really is going to be a battle between teammates for the championship. It was my only chance. He was very strong on the front straight and my exits weren’t very good. That was really my only chance. I thought maybe I would catch him off guard there. You don’t expect someone to pass there, so, yeah, I gave it a shot. It was tight there, no doubt. I was surprised at how aggressively he turned, but he wanted to win the race and so did I.”

I CAN’T SAY YOU DID NOT GIVE IT YOUR BEST EFFORT TO MAKE THAT PASS ON JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: “Yeah that was the only place I could kind of get a run on him. He was very good in the last corner so the only chance I had was to try and get a run on him there. I think he kind of saw me and then…….it was kind of optimistic because if he had given me some, I would have taken it. He did what anyone would have done. So yeah, he was phenomenally fast and I couldn’t drop him on that stint before and he was very quick on the reds there.”

WAS THAT AN ALL OR NOTHING MOVE? “Yeah, it was kind of my only chance. If I had not damaged my wing, maybe I would have had another shot. He had to save a bit more fuel too, so I was counting on that but it’s hard to get close with these cars, it really is. But it’s a great day for the Verizon Chevy team. It was like we thought it would be with a battle between teammates and a battle for the championship I am sure.”

TONY KANAAN, NO. 10 NTT DATA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD: “Chip told me to bring the NTT Data car back in one piece, he didn’t want to see a scratch apart from the marbles. We tried to stay out of trouble. The Penske guys were definitely tough today. On that last stint there, we had to save a little bit more fuel, and not having the pace, I had to drop back. But we will take third, It’s good points, and we have to work from here.

“It was a really fun race for us and I’m just so happy that I was able to get NTT DATA Racing a podium finish in the first race out. We still have some things to work on to get better as a team, but I’m pretty happy with today’s finish. I have to give so much credit to the guys on pit lane – they just did such a great job today. This is a nice way to start the season and after this third-place finish I’m even more motivated to continue to do better.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 4TH: “Really proud of the Hitachi Chevy guys today. They did a great job and we battled hard throughout the race. The car was fast. We didn’t end up where we would have liked to be but overall we had a good day. Really happy for Juan and congratulations to him on the win and to Will on his podium finish. Great way to start the season for Roger with a 1-2 finish.”

SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 PENSKE TRUCK RENTAL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 5TH: “The Penske Truck Rental boys did a great job today. I am happy and you have to take it step by step. You just can’t walk onto a team and push your teammates out of the way. I didn’t want create a mess at the start of the race, which I thought was a smart move but it was too cautious, which cost me a position during the race. P5 is a good start to the season and I’m excited about the next race already coming up in NOLA.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 11 TEAM HYDROXYCUT -KVSH RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 6TH: “It was a solid result for the Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing team, but it was a bit up and down. Initially, it felt like we had something special going. I got TK (Tony Kanaan) and the car had good pace. Then I made a couple of mistakes and a restart didn’t go my way. After that Sato hit us and we lost three positions. It was one of those races where you controlled the damage, but you don’t feel you have achieved what you were capable of. I am satisfied with the result and happy for the team, they did a good job. It’s a good start to the season. The pace was good when we got clear air, but it is definitely is hard to follow other cars and get a run on them. We will keep digging, keeping working on starting higher up on the grid and see where we end up.”

LUCA FILIPPI, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9TH: “I am happy with that. Obviously, so many things are new to me. On one hand we want to have good results, on the other hand we know that we have to learn a little before we can really fight for the podium. The team did a great job, they gave me great pit stops and we can build on this. This is a good start for the season, from here I can just get better and better.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 67 HARTMAN OIL CHEVROLET, FINISHED 12TH: “It was a really strong effort from everyone to try to keep us in the fight. All the CFH guys were awesome, as they always are. I have to say thank you to Ed (Carpenter), Wink (Hartman) and Sarah (Fisher) for everything that to do to make this happen. Twelfth is not the best finishing position, but we can only go up from there. I think we had a car that was able to challenge for a top five finish, but we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Right when Charlie (Kimball) got spun out in Turn 10 it was a bottleneck, I got into the back of (Sebastien) Bourdais and damaged the front wing. It sort of hurt us; we struggled to fight with everyone after that. We lost a lot of pace then did what we could to finish as strong as possible. Twelfth was the best we had today, but I think we have more for the future.”

SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15TH: “It wasn’t the day we had hoped for in the Target car today. We had some early issues with the air jack and couldn’t get the car off the ground during our pit stops. It seemed like the front would come up, but the rear end would stay on the ground. The team did the best they could on our stops but in reality you can’t be competitive in this type of racing when your stops are taking that long. We just never seem to have the best luck in St. Petersburg but we’ll keep pushing for the results we know we’re capable of.”

SAGE KARAM, NO. 8 GE LED CHEVROLET, FINISHED 19TH : “It was funny, I came into the pits after the race, took off my helmet to debrief with the guys and noticed I didn’t use any tear offs from my helmet! A rookie mistake I guess. I was so focused on taking care of the car and running good laps I totally forgot. But all in all I just tried to do what the team told me to which was keep the car in one piece and run all the laps. That was the plan today. Although I wished we would have finished higher I know that this is a learning process. I spoke with Dario after the race and we talked about saving fuel and how crucial that is in these races. I know we’ll get better and I had a good first experience in the GE LED car in my first road and street course in the series.”

STEFANO COLETTI, NO. 4 KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 20TH: “The KV Racing Technology team gave me a great car today, but unfortunately we didn’t have the result to prove it. The car was fast and I overtook a lot of people. Every restart I overtook several cars, improving three or four positions. Obviously, I am disappointed with the final result. I had some issues and had to make up a lot of positions so I used a lot of fuel. As a result I had to pit with four laps to go. At least I had fun today in my first Verizon IndyCar Series race and hopefully the result will change when we race in New Orleans in two weeks.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 83 NOVOLOG FLEXPEN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 21ST: “Obviously it’s a disappointing result for the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen guys. Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing has worked really hard over the winter. We had great pit stops, and I got taken out by some dumb driving. We ended up fixing the rear wing and when I was in clean air the car was really fast. I guess that is the frustrating thing really. The result wasn’t there but the speed in the car was. I can’t wait to get the car back to NOLA where we had a good test at the beginning of the week, and then to Long Beach.”

Will Power Puts Chevrolet on Pole for Verizon IndyCar Series Season-Opening Race on Streets of St. Petersburg

Will Power Puts Chevrolet on Pole for Verizon IndyCar Series Season-Opening Race on Streets of St. Petersburg

Competitive Debut of Chevrolet Aero Kit Nets Eight of Top-10 Starting Positions

 

  • Five Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers transfer to Firestone Fast Six in competition debut for Chevrolet Aero Kit
  • Team Chevy drivers claimed top-four starting positions, five of the top-six and eight of top-10
  • Will Power broke the 13-year-old track record with a lap of 1:00:6509 seconds to capture his 5th St. Petersburg pole and 37th career Verizon P1 Award
  • All four Chevrolet IndyCar Series partner teams are represented in top-10 starters for Sunday’s season-opening race

 

  1. PETERSBURG (FLA) – (March 28, 2015) – Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power started his 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season with a track-record shattering lap to capture the Verizon P1 Award for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the first competitive event for the Chevrolet Aero Kit.  With a blistering lap of 1:00:6509 seconds, Power scored his fifth pole on the Streets of St. Petersburg and the 37th of his career behind the wheel of his No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

“Hats off to Will Power and Team Penske for winning the pole today with a new track record on the Streets of St. Petersburg to kick off the 2015 season and cast the first official result for the new Chevrolet Aero Kit,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager Verizon IndyCar Series.  “The race tomorrow will be the real stage for the new competitive landscape and we are very proud to have all of the Chevrolet teams represented in the top 10 to take the green flag. We expect the racing to be intense and the fans should be in for a real exciting battle.”

 

Joining Power on the front row is the newest member of the Team Penske Verizon IndyCar Series team, Simon Pagenaud, driving the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet.

 

Row two is also a pair of Team Penske drivers with Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet, turning in the third fastest time, and Juan Pablo Montoya starting fourth in the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet.

 

Five of the six Firestone Fast Six drivers were powered by the Chevrolet IndyCar 2.2 liter V6 turbo charged direct injected engine.  Sebastien Bourdais, No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet was sixth in the final qualifying session to fill out the third row.

 

Tony Kanaan, No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet will start seventh with his teammate, Scott Dixon, No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, starting from the ninth position on the grid.

 

Josef Newgarden gave CFH Racing a presence in the top-10 with a lap that placed his No. 67 Hartman Oil Chevrolet in the 10th starting position.

 

Takuma Sato (Honda) completes the Firestone Fast Six securing the fifth starting position.

 

Sunday’s 110 laps/198 mile race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street course is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. ET.  Live television coverage on ABC will begin at 3:00p.m.ET.  IMS Radio Network will provide live coverage will be broadcast on Channel 213 on Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Channel 209.  IndyCar.com will have both live radio and real-time timing and scoring.

POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:

An interview with:

HELIO CASTRONEVES

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA

SIMON PAGENAUD

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS

WILL POWER

 

THE MODERATOR:  We’ll get started with today’s post qualifying press conference.  We’re pleased to be join by our third-place starter and also our fourth-place starter, Helio Castroneves starting third and Juan Montoya starting fourth.

Helio won pole here in 2007, also won the race in 2006, 2007, 2012.  Tell us your thoughts on qualifying and what we might expect tomorrow.

 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  The Hitachi car has been pretty consistent, I have to say.  We basically worked a little bit harder than what we thought.  I have three other very good guys in the team which is good because each one tries something different.  In the end of the day, you just pushing to the limit.  So it’s a perfect testament of great teamwork.  Having 1, 2, 3, 4 shows we’re pushing to the limit, all four of us.

I think each one want to be in front, but at least for the team is a good problem to have, having all four guys fighting for the pole position.

I’m very exciting at this point because we work in a way that hopefully we going to have a result like that.  That’s our goal.  Our goal is to go out there and try to win a race.  Best day for each car.  We will find out tomorrow.

 

THE MODERATOR:  Your teammate, Juan Montoya, is starting fourth tomorrow.  Started 18th in last year’s race, finished 15th.  How are things going?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  It’s good.  I’m kind of disappointed with that lap, to be honest.  It’s funny because from my previous session I was 3/10ths up coming to turn 10.  It’s the last corner.  Just had to lift on the exit.  Mad, but still ran a decent lap.

I don’t know, for the team I think it shows how hard we work over the winter.  I think it shows as well having Simon onboard and being a four-car team, I think it’s been really, really good.  Running the Verizon car has been amazing.

I don’t know, like we said yesterday, what could be better 1, 2, 3?  It was a 1, 2, 3, 4.  To be honest, I think all the year is going to be like that.  We just got to make sure we don’t beat each other.

 

THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

  1. Why are you guys so good here for a decade and more?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  For him it’s been great.  For me I did one Fast Six all year.  Fast Six, qualifying on road course, I did one last year.  It was in Detroit.  We did two set of tires to make it to the second round, reds.  Somehow I nailed the lap.  I made it to the Fast Six.

It’s good.  I’m really happy.

 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  You already matched last year.  That’s a good thing.

 

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  One for one so far (laughter).

 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Each track sometimes favors one team.  I mean, you can go around and you can see some of the places that other teams do extremely well.

I believe at this point it suits the work that we done, the preparation that we do.  Basically so far it’s been working well.

We don’t want to change what things are working.  There are tracks that we maybe are not so successful, we want to beat the other teams up.  But at this point I feel it’s a great beginning.  Like Juan said, I hope we’ll be like that the whole season long.

 

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I’ll tell you something.  I think one of the funny things in testing, I think we push each other so hard, we really don’t look at anybody else, we just look at each other.  Having four good drivers, you look at the data, they’re always quicker than you somewhere.  They’re trying to get where you are in the good places.  It just keeps raising our level.

We look at ourselves, our videos, Oh, my God, he’s good there.  Look how late he brakes there.  It just helps, you know what I mean?  Even from qualifying two to three, I looked at the data with Will, he’s better here, I need to make sure I picked up two and a half seconds doing that.

 

THE MODERATOR:  We’ll quickly introduce your Team Penske teammate, Simon Pagenaud, starting second in tomorrow’s race.  A new best start for Simon.  His previous best start was 14th in 2014, where he finished fifth.

Simon, we were talking about the strength of Team Penske.  How has that been noticeable to you as a new member of the team?

 

SIMON PAGENAUD:  What Juan said actually is very true.  There’s four of us, four really good drivers, great equipment, similar equipment.  It’s easy to look at the data and improve yourself personally in this corner if you’re not the best there.  It just makes you stronger every session.

It’s a good dynamic.  We’re having a good time actually.

 

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  Are we (laughter)?

 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  It’s just acting.  No worry, Simon.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  It’s just the beginning.

 

SIMON PAGENAUD:  It’s good.  It’s a friendly environment, knowing that we’re all competitive.  We all want to win.  Everything’s going well for me.

Personally I’ve been very well welcomed by my teammates, by the whole team.  I feel at home.  It’s very enjoyable.

 

THE MODERATOR:  We’ll continue with questions.

 

  1. Simon, you’re starting on the front row.  So is Will Power.  When you go into turn one, it seems fairly wide.  Is there more than one line going into that turn?

SIMON PAGENAUD:  Yes.  That’s the advantage at St. Pete, you can really make the first corner side-by-side.  Usually the one that decides what is going to happen is turn two, who turns left.  Depends who is ahead at that time.  Yeah, so we’ll see.

 

  1. Do you drivers know if there are acceleration cones when you come towards the green flag?  If Will is the polesitter, sometimes when you come out of the last corner, the polesitter just goes and sometimes that leaves some people behind.  Do we have the cones set up where you can start accelerating so the field stays together?

SIMON PAGENAUD:  Yeah, there are cones that were in place actually this morning.  I believe it was for the challenge race.  We talk about it in the drivers meeting tomorrowmorning and see what Brian Barnhart wants to do.

 

THE MODERATOR:  Also joined now by Sebastien Bourdais, who qualified sixth fortomorrow’s race.  This is Sebastien’s home race.  He’s a resident of St. Petersburg and previously held the track record in qualifying in 2003.  Finished 13th last year.

Sebastien, with a strong showing in qualifying today, is it more special because this is, in a way, your home race?

 

BOURDAIS: Just really proud of the KVSH boys.  It’s one of those goes where it can go either way.  For the first time since ’03 I got out of the group and got in the Fast Six.  Okay, we got off to a good start.  Pretty proud of that.

The car was pretty good.  We started the weekend really in a hole.  It might not have shown in the lap times, but we were not happy with the car.  It was pretty rough.

So to come out and make the Fast Six, it’s a good achievement.  It’s definitely better than where we started last year.  We’ll see how we can race.

But there was definitely something in that last lap.  I got a bit greedy.  I was up a 10th and a half, I went for it, went to the escape road and probably ruined Simon’s lap.

It is what it is.  But very happy with the progress we made and looking forward totomorrow.

 

THE MODERATOR:  Other questions, please.

  1. Sebastien, hometown.  How big would a win be?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  Yeah, I mean, obviously it would be pretty sweet.  I don’t know.  I might have to wait a year.  Won Daytona last year.  Sebring last year.  Maybe have to wait a year.  I hope not.

Like Takuma said, it’s a bit of a Penske lockout.  Kind of feeling the best of the rest here, which in a way makes you feel good and bad.  We’re just going to have to step it up and mix it up with these guys.

I don’t know if we got what it takes to win, but we sure felt like we had something to play in qualifying.  There will be other weekends and we’ll keep on trying.

Tomorrow is a different day.  It’s one of these things where when it gets that close, the race can go either way.  It only takes one yellow to flip the whole thing around.

We’ll stay on our toes, run a clean race and go from there.

 

  1. Were any of you surprised that we didn’t get sub one minute there?  Was it just the heat of the day?  Seems like the reds should have been worth a little more than they were.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I don’t think the track was gripping up with the rain last night.  I think the rubber would have come up.

 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  I agree.  I believe maybe the ambient is a little bit cooler, but the track temp was a little bit higher because of the sun.  That’s probably one of the reasons.

 

  1. Helio, talk about the physicality of this package and the reds, no power steering right now.

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  The good news about here, we don’t have like very fast corners.  Even turn two and the fast chicane, they are fast, but they’re not long duration.  They’re very quick with this package and the reds.

I do feel in the race is going to be harder.  For sure is going to be difficult because as you start to go through those areas, for sure is going to become harder.  The track is going to grip up, as well.

At this point it’s not that bad.  But tomorrow, it will be tough.

 

  1. Sebastien, remind us the difference between the course now and in 2003 when you set the first track record.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  Yeah, I mean, it was much more narrow.  There were no curves.  It was only walls.  Kind of what the street courses used to be.  We pushed the walls a little bit, put curves, opened the visibility of it.  In a way it’s good for safety.  In a way it’s kind of taking the street course challenge away.

But it was very different days, man.  The cars were obviously quite a bit more powerful.  The track had just been repaved.  It was very smooth, but very slick.  When I came back in ’11, I was like, Wow, that place changed a lot.  It was just different days.

You’re really only looking what you were on that given day.  That’s how you base it off.

  1. Helio and Juan, you mentioned probably the best thing that drivers do is adjust.  You had a great start.  Things are going well.  You both have a lot of accomplishments in the past.  Talk a little bit about adjusting to success.

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  I guess it depends.  If you work hard, for sure the rest of it comes natural.

But in my view, as we seen, we have three other drivers in my team.  Seeing those guys with the different ways, you just update.  Plus we love the sport.

Many times, Juan Pablo and I were talking about it, Man, this is getting more fun than ever.  That’s the way we keep ourselves going.

I feel great.  I feel that I have a chance to beat all of these guys.  That’s why we keep going.

It’s natural.  We’ve been raised in this way.  Our mind is already preparing that way.  It’s just becoming natural, I guess.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  Yeah, same thing for me.  We’re at a point where it’s a lot of fun to do it.  There’s no pressure to do it.  You still push yourself as hard as you can.

We still got the hunger to beat everybody, you know what I mean?  We want to be the best.  We still do.  We still can get the job done, so it’s good.

We’re really good at Indy, so it helps (laughter).

 

THE MODERATOR:  Gentlemen, thank you.  Good luck tomorrow.

We’ll continue with our post qualifying press conference.  We are now joined by our Verizon P1 pole winner, Will Power, driving for Team Penske.  He is our defending race winner and champion.  This is Will’s 37th career pole.  He is sixth on the all-time career pole list.  This is his fifth pole on the streets of St. Petersburg.  Will set a new track record of 1.6509 seconds in qualifying.

Will, you say you’re very focused on the present, but how does it help your confidence knowing you can win a championship then start a new season off right where you left off?

WILL POWER:  It’s been a really good off-season.  I think just the way the team is, the teammates, it provides a lot of motivation.  Obviously winning the championship makes it a very pleasant off-season.  You’re not sitting around wondering why you didn’t win again.

Yeah, I’m enjoying it.  I was really satisfied to get pole here today.  All the practice sessions are working towards that, literally one lap that gets you pole.  It’s a session where everyone gives it everything they’ve absolutely got.

When you get pole, it’s very satisfying.  It’s really difficult these days to do that.  You don’t see anyone getting more than three or four poles during a season now.  It’s the same for wins.  Anytime you’re at that end of an IndyCar field, it’s awesome.

 

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Will.

  1. How much does the anticipation of a new season ramp up when you know you’re starting at a place where both you and the team have been so ‘lights out’ for a long time?

WILL POWER:  Yeah, you know, racing’s always a different story to qualifying.  Obviously we’ve had a lot of success here.  Everything’s got to fall your way on race day.  You know how it can go.  Just focus on the things you can control.  A bit of guesswork with this new body kit.  Don’t know how the tires will degrade, that type of thing.  Just have to manage the best we can.

We’re in a great position obviously as a team.  We’ve been P1 in every session so far, 1, 2, 3, 4 almost.

 

  1. When you’re already the big dog out there, they come with these aero kits, was there a fear that the edge you have you might lose?  There was a lot of uncertainty by some teams as to what actually might happen.  Was that a fear entering this season?

WILL POWER:  No.  It’s usually easier in a big team when something new happens because you can work it out faster than the smaller teams.

What was surprising is how tight it was in qualifying today between Chevy and Honda.  When you think about it, different engine, different body kit, but very similar lap times.

I was kind of worried that the competitiveness of this series wouldn’t be such this year.  But it is.  It’s right there as it was.  So, yeah, to me it’s the toughest open-wheel series in the world to compete in, and probably the best racing that fans can watch.  We just got to get it out there because I think people would love it.

 

  1. Will, how much harder are the cars to drive now?  Do you think fatigue and conditioning will become a factor tomorrow?

WILL POWER:  No, I think there’s actually lower grip than I thought.  It hasn’t been that physical because the air temperature is cool.  It’s the heat that gets you the most.

I think it will be fine.  We’ve tested at tracks with a lot of grip, really heavy steering.  All the tests we’ve done have been at tracks like that.  You come here, it becomes easier.  It’s like doing pull-ups with a 50-pound vest and taking it off.

Not really, but similar (laughter).

 

  1. The new car looks a little battle ready, to be polite.  A lot of parts and pieces hanging off.  Would you expect the racing to be like that?  Are people going to be careful to keep all that stuff on them?

WILL POWER:  I don’t know.  I think we’re good.  We just have two little rabbit ears to knock off.  Once they’re gone, great (laughter).

The Honda definitely has a lot more stuff to knock off, so they probably have to be a bit more careful.

I don’t think it’s going to change the racing.  You can still bang side to side without knocking too much crap off that’s going to make a difference anyway.

 

  1. How is the visibility following the cars?  Seems like there’s more stuff on the sides.

WILL POWER:  That is something.  Looking in the mirror is definitely more difficult.  I think they should not have allowed anything above the height of the tire.  I don’t know why they allowed all this stuff.  It wasn’t really necessary.

Yeah, it is more difficult to see, absolutely.

 

  1. Obviously there’s so much competitiveness on your team alone with four outstanding drivers, but is there a challenge that as the season goes on for, say, people like Roger and Tim Cindric to channel that intensity so it doesn’t possibly get out of control amongst the four of you?

WILL POWER:  The thing is, all four drivers have a lot of experience, have worked with a lot of different teams.  Not Helio, but everyone else.  But, you know, he’s old, so he knows how to get along with people (laughter).

But honestly, it seems as though Penske employs people with lots of experience.  That’s the case there.  So we know how to work together.  I don’t think it’s a problem.

I know when you’re younger, you’re working in a team with someone, it can be very intense, mind games, all that, but that definitely doesn’t go on at Penske.  Just very experienced guys, great work ethic.

 

  1. Will, I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to talk within the team about strategy fortomorrow’s race.  Sometimes on road courses, someone will go flat out, other drivers might be told to conserve fuel, don’t do as many pit stops.  Do you think we’ll see different strategies tomorrow?  New aero kits, fuel…

WILL POWER:  The fuel mileage might be a little different.  I think it will be the same old story.  Depends where you qualify.  You get the guys who are kind of out of the top 10 will try to catch an early yellow, pit early, go off strategy.  That’s the problem with the way the pits works.  It closes.  If you get caught out, it’s almost like having a drive-through penalty.  You have to keep that in mind.  Especially if you’re at the front, you can get absolutely hosed.  Might be better to take off into the distance.

 

THE MODERATOR:  Will, congratulations.  Good luck tomorrow.

WILL POWER:  Thank you.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

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FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG STREETS OF ST. PETERSBURG (FLORIDA) POST QUALIFYING QUOTES – BATCH ONE

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CHEVROLET INDYCAR V6 FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG STREETS OF ST. PETERSBURG (FLORIDA) POST QUALIFYING QUOTES – BATCH ONE

MARCH 28,2015

WILL POWER, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER

THAT WAS TIGHT, WASN’T IT? “It was. I thought we had an extra lap. We were trying to be the last car, so we left a little late and got the checkered flag. But full credit to the team and Verizon. I’m stoked to get pole, I really am.”

TALK ABOUT THE QUALIFYING EFFORT FOR TEAM PENSKE, A 1-2-3-4. “That just shows the work we did over the winter. It’s four good drivers who will battle it outtomorrow.”

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO STAY OUT FRONT TOMORROW?
“All the normal things. It has to be your day and it has to fall your way. We’ll talk about the race after this and see what we’ve got.”

SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 PENSKE TRUCK RENTAL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SECOND
YOUR CAR SEEMS AWFULLY FAST.
“It’s very fast. I’m super happy to be honest. It’s incredible to start this way with Team Penske. We have a lot of pace. The car is fantastic. Thanks to everyone for searching and developing so much. The 22 crew is brand new and is doing a great job. It’s fantastic to be a part of the Penske family. I’m really proud. Today was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed qualifying.”

TONY KANAAN, NO. 10 NTT DATA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SEVENTH
WHAT HAPPENED NEAR THE END OF THE SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND?
“It was a blocking situation between a couple of guys. It’s tough. Everyone is out there, and you see how close this qualifying is. Nobody blocks each other on purpose. Sometimes you try to create a gap, sometimes you try to cool off your tires. It’s a great effort from us. We missed it by half-a-tenth, so it should be an exciting race for the fans tomorrow.
“Scott (Dixon) got blocked by Simon (Pagenaud), so basically it was a chain reaction. It is what it is. Sometimes it happens to you, and sometimes you do it to other people.”

DO YOU FEEL PRETTY GOOD ABOUT THINGS? “I think we are decent. We improved a lot from this morning, but I still think we have a little bit of work to do. We don’t have warmup until noon tomorrow so we have a lot of time to think about what we’re going to do. Hopefully we’ll charge to the front tomorrow and give these fans a pretty good run in the race.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 67 HARTMAN OIL CFH RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 10TH
ARE YOU PLEASED WITH THAT?
“I’m relatively happy. You’re in the front end of the grid. There are 24 cars, so starting in the top-10 is strong around this place. This is generally a very difficult place on tires, so the further up you start, it’s always better. We’re going to have to look after them better tomorrow. I think we’re kind of burning off our rears a little too quick. So in the morning warmup we’ll have to maximize that and make our tires live. It’s such a long race, and you have to be able to make them live. If you don’t people keep sneaking up behind you out of the hairpin and you get dive-bombed going into Turn One. I think that’s what we’re working on to maximize fortomorrow. As far as today, we struggled in the practice earlier and I think we made a huge leap forward. Now we’re in the top-10 and we have to work our way a little bit more, try to get into the top-five and challenge the guys up front.”

SAGE KARAM, NO. 8 GE LED CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 18TH
ARE YOU SATISFIED?:
“It’s pretty frustrating. That was the expectation for me – to go to the next round. It’s a good car. It’s the first time I’ve driven on red (tires). So it’s a learning experience for me. Every lap, I felt like I was getting better and better, and I was starting to brake later and later. I was starting to loose the tire a little bit. I think that’s one of the things the rookies are going to face here this weekend is that we’ve never driven red tires. We have to learn them. We’re going to go to the next race and have a better understanding for it and be able to qualify better. The GE LED car for Chip Ganassi Racing is a pretty good car now. I think we have a good race car and can race our way to the front.”

LUCA FILIPPI, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA CFH RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 19TH: The lap times were very close and I felt good in the car, especially the last few laps. I thought we were doing quite well, but actually the times were so tight I missed the first cut and did not make it to Round 2. We ran the first few laps on used tires and I didn’t have a good read on the condition. Tomorrow is a long race, we’ll think about the strategy and try to get the best out of it. I think we will be strong for the longer run

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Transcript: WILL POWER, HELIO CASTRONEVES, JUAN PABLO MONTOYA AND SIMON PAGENAUD

TEAM PENSKE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES CHEVROLET DRIVERS WILL POWER, HELIO CASTRONEVES, JUAN PABLO MONTOYA AND SIMON PAGENAUD met with members of the media at the Streets of St. Petersburg and discussed:

WILL POWER, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: ABOUT WANTING TO REPEAT AS CHAMPION: “I can’t help but want to win. Your own personal pressure comes with that. Nothing has changed; I feel the same as I did when I wasn’t a champion. I have to go out there and win races; it’s what I want to do.”

BUZZ AROUND THE SEASON OPENER: “It’s the most competitive open-wheel series in the world. It’s not going to get any more competitive than this, and with the new aero kits people are taking notice.”

ON TEAM PROGRESS: “Yeah, good testing and obviously Team Penske has definitely made ground over the winter over the other teams. I think it’s going to be a pretty interesting four-way battle amongst the team and Scott Dixon is right in there as well. I expect those five to be the championship contenders.”

LAST YEAR CAR AT ST PETE VERSUS THIS YEAR CAR: “I think it’s just understanding last year’s mechanical balance of the car with the new aero stuff and just going through basic changes to see what they do. It was pretty straightforward for us. I think we rolled off pretty good with all four cars.”

WHICH IS CONTRIBUTING MORE TO CHEVROLET’S DOMINANCE, THE ENGINE OR THE AERO KIT?: “I think it’s both. I think they’re better with the engine and the aero right now. It’s hard to say which is more. I think they did a very good job with the aero kit, Chevy did.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 3 VERISON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: ON ENTERING SECOND SEASON WITH TEAM PENSKE: “Roger (Penske) hired me to get the job done and I do my best to get the job done. I love working for Team Penske and I work hard at it. There’s a lot of anticipation on my side of what’s going to happenwith the car. I’m happy because we’re on pace. If you look at last year at the lap times you’d find me quicker if you look for me from the bottom up.”

YESTERDAY PRACTICE: “I didn’t even run a third set of tires and I was second (on the time sheet). Helio (Castroneves) and Will (Power) both ran three sets of tires. I think most of them did.”

ON COMPARING HOW HIS CAR PERFORMED HERE LAST YEAR AND TODAY: “Last year was a tough year for us at the beginning. We knew that. Normally I’m really good at remembering everything about every track and last year I think this was such a blur for me. I was so overwhelmed with everything that I didn’t really pay too much attention to details. But I felt really good straight away (this year) that all of the work we did over the winter with the car made me really, really happy. I’m really comfortable with the car.”

DO ALL FOUR TEAM PENSKE DRIVERS TRY DIFFERENT THINGS DURING TESTING AND PRACTICE? “Each engineer knows what their driver wants and it seems each one is doing his own thing. We have the data there, we have all the information. If somebody makes a change that works, we all know about it. We all drive so different. It’s not so much the driving, it’s the feeling that we want out of the car is so different. You look at us driving, it looks pretty similar but what we want the feel to be is very different. To get that feel, we achieve it in very different ways.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: DO YOU THINK THE TEAM IS MORE RELAXED THIS YEAR?

“I think so. We are all getting along really well. Juan Pablo (Montoya)… no question has always had the talent. He’s familiar now with the car and the tracks. Simon (Pagenaud) has obviously brought his furniture into a new home. He brought his engineer (Ben Bretzman). At this point, we have a phenomenal group of four guys. I know it’s showing out there (on the track today) and I hope it shows all season long.”

WHO IS THE TOUGHEST COMPETITOR ON THE TEAM?
“Each one has a quality. That’s why there isn’t one person here who is better than another. I believe for that reason, it makes us all better. In one corner, one guy is better and in another, there is someone else who is better. So this brings the best out of each other. It’s not about just one time; it’s about every practice and every lap. So it’s fortunate having Simon – since our team has had the same cars already since 2012 – to bring another option on setup. Sometimes it’s confusing a little bit but it’s more data.”

WHEN YOU TRY IT, DO YOU LIKE IT?
“It depends on the track. At some tracks it won’t work or we didn’t go all the way on the setup. At all these tracks you need to try all these different things.”

DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU’RE DUE FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR?
“I don’t feel obligated. I want it. That’s a different way to put it. Every time you finish second or place in a spot where you know you can improve, you have to go out and think about what you can do to make it happen. Right now we have to be competitive and push ourselves. I want to improve myself. Every time I go out there, I look at where I’m good in areas and where I’m not. Hopefully that mindset will make it happen.”

SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 PENSKE TRUCKCENTER TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: WAS THE OFFSEASON TOO LONG? WHAT WOULD BE THE PERFECT OFFSEASON? “My perfect offseason would be Roger (Penske) to run a rally team in Europe so I could do some rally. Sports cars…I love to be able to do different series and drive with this team in different series. I love rally, Global Rally Cross and sports cars. I had a little bit with the Corvette Racing team and the C7.R. That was fun; I wouldn’t mind more.”

PENSKE HAS A V8 SUPERCAR TEAM NOW. WOULD THAT INTEREST YOU?“That’s a discipline where I don’t have enough knowledge to be very competitive. You need a lot of testing, and its very competitive. I’d love to do some, but if you want to be competitive there, you have to be there full-time.”

DID YOU EVER DO V-8? “Yes I did. I did two years ago and got a podium. I got a surfboard too. I didn’t get it home though. I gave it away to the team.”

ONE MORE PRACTICE BEFORE QUALIFYING. HOW ARE YOU GETTING ALONG?“I feel good. The engine has been really well developed by Chevy. We’ve done a tremendous job during the winter of setting up and making it how I want it to feel in my car. There is a lot of new things. It’s a new crew. It’s a new team, the 22 team. A lot of people expect really high results out of this first race. But we have to be reasonable in the way we think about things. It may take longer than the 1 car because we haven’t been together before. We should be patient. We are there on pace and are fast enough. If everything stays smooth, we should be up there. No big worries. We need to have fun and enjoy what we’re doing.”

WAS THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS WITH CHEVROLET AREO KIT THE SAME AS WHEN YOU HELPED DEVELOP SPORTS CAR PROTOTYPES FROM OTHER MANUFACTURERS? “I did a lot of development with Peugeot and also with Acura. It was similar. The only thing is that we have a lot less testing in IndyCar due to the regulations. We only tested a few times and didn’t get to test many updates. The updates were brought up by Chevy with their research. They’ve done a tremendous job at bringing us a product that was on-track and easy to exploit. In that sense it was a bit of a difference experience.”

IS THERE ENOUGH TESTING, OR DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE MORE? “It works. The cars are fast. Everyone is doing good lap times. Would I like more testing? Always. If you asked me, I would always ask for more testing but that’s not in my power. I don’t decide these things. I can only control what I can control.”

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Chevrolet Ready for Verizon IndyCar Series Season-Opening Event on the Streets of St. Petersburg

Racing debut of Chevrolet Aero Kit in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

* A new era dawns in Verizon IndyCar Series with racing debut of Chevrolet Aero Kit.
* New Aero Kit gives a distinct look to the Chevrolet 2.2-liter, V6-powered cars and differentiates Team Chevy competitors from other manufacturers
* Streets of St. Petersburg (Florida) is race one of 16-race 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season
* Stage set for Chevrolet to begin campaign for fourth consecutive Manufacturer Championship
* Will Power, Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, starts the season with the No. 1 on his car signifying he is the defending series champion

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 25, 2015) – The wait is over. Twelve Chevrolet IndyCar V6 powered teams and drivers will make the competitive debut of the all-new Chevrolet Aero Kit in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Florida) as the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season begins.

Since Chevrolet’s return to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2012, a Chevrolet 2.2-liter, V6-powered driver has won the season opening race on the Streets of St. Petersburg. Helio Castroneves was the first to put Chevrolet in Victory Lane at St. Petersburg by taking the 2012 win. James Hinchcliffe took Chevy to the Winner’s Circle in 2013, and defending Series’ champion Will Power started his title-winning season off with the win for Chevrolet in 2014 on the 1.8-mile 14-turn temporary street course through downtown St. Petersburg.

“Race one of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar season is nearly upon us,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager for Verizon IndyCar Series. “It is always an anticipated moment arriving in St. Pete with the plans, strategies and hopes of a season ahead, but this year is special with the racing debut of the Chevrolet Aero Kit. We are primed and ready for Team Chevy to wield the Chevrolet Aero Kit Road Course Configuration in IndyCar competition on the Streets of St. Petersburg.”

One of the primary criteria for Chevrolet’s return to IndyCar competition in 2012 was the ability to design and engineer an aero kit that creates differentiation from the competition. The 2015 Chevrolet Aero Kit distinguishes itself from the previous DW12 racecar with new front and rear wing elements, new “coked”side pods with wheel wedges and a new rear wheels guards. The Chevy road course aero configuration delivers greater aerodynamic performance than the previous design.

“Along with our technical partners, we recognize that assuming control of a larger part of the performance envelope of the car comes with greater responsibility to our Chevy teams and drivers,” Berube continued. “That is why we have worked even closer as a technical team to make sure we have integrated the aerodynamic solution well with our engine and the collective knowledge of our strong team lineup. Our mission remains constant: put all Team Chevy drivers in a position to win at every race. We accomplish this by providing and supporting a powerful, reliable and efficient engine, now with a high bandwidth, fully developed aero kit.”

The 2015 Chevrolet Aero Kit road course configuration’s changes over the 2014 DW12 aero package are easily identified by major components, including:
* Front wing that features new pedestal-mounted “front uppers” toward the outer edges
* New sculpted “wheel wedges” in front of the rear tires
* An engine cover and side pods that have more compact shapes, achieved through a revised turbocharger and exhaust system layout
* New larger rear bumper pods
* A multi-element upper rear wing, along with louvered end plates.

Team Chevy drivers will continue to be powered by the reliable and successful Chevrolet 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged, direct injected V6 engine fueled by E85.

In 2014, engine regulations were changed to require each engine to complete a minimum of 2,500 miles before change-out without penalty, or prior to 2,500 miles if after qualifying they would reach 2,850 miles during the race. In addition, both engine manufacturers were required to use identical, yet revised for 2014, twin turbos from Borg-Warner. Chevrolet worked tirelessly within the allowed parameters in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook to work in numerous areas including fuel injection, cylinder heads, plenum / inlet system, exhaust headers and calibration to improve upon an already immensely successful engine.

For 2015, those 2014 upgrades carry over and Chevrolet engineers along with key partner engineers worked to update the 2.2L Twin Turbo Chevrolet IndyCar Series engine as allowed in the 2015 rulebook. The focal points included new electronic wastegates for the turbochargers and integration with the Chevrolet Aero Kit for improved power, reliability and fuel efficiency, which are key characteristics of several current powerful and fuel-efficient Chevrolet production cars.

In addition to a third consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer Championship in 2014, Chevrolet drivers claimed 12 victories in the 18-race season bringing the number of wins to 33 in 52 events since the start of 2012. In 2014, Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers scored 13 Verizon P1 pole awards.

Will Power drove his Team Penske Chevrolet to the Verizon IndyCar Championship in 2014, while teammates Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya finished second and fourth in points, respectively. Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan, from Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, finished third and seventh in points, respectively, to give Chevrolet five of the top seven places.

Power, the defending winner of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, is ready to defend his title: “I’m really excited to get the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series started and represent the sport as the champion throughout the year. Even though I was able to break through last year and win my first title, I am preparing to go into this season just as hungry as I was before I became a champion. The drive to win multiple championships is just as strong as the drive to win one. To do that, it’s important to get off to a good start at St. Pete. Winning there last year in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet was critical to the championship push. Now that I’m in the No. 1 Verizon Chevy for 2015, we need to put the new number in Victory Lane as well.

“As we are starting to understand the new Chevrolet aero kits,” Power continued, “it’s clear that they (Chevrolet and technical partner engineers) have done a proper job in the design and development of them. The kits produce massive downforce, low drag and the cars are absolutely glued to the track. Obviously as we go along in the year we are going to learn more and more about what we need to push for wins.”

The Chevrolet IndyCar V6 driver and team lineup has a few new faces for 2015. At St. Petersburg, Team Chevy will be well represented by:

CFH RACING:
Luca Filippi, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Award Winning Vodka Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, No. 67 Hartman Oil Chevrolet

CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAMS:
Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan, No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet
Charlie Kimball, No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chevrolet
Sage Karam, No. 8 GE LED Chevrolet

KVSH RACING/ KV RACING TECHNOLOGY:
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet
Stefano Coletti, No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet

TEAM PENSKE
Will Power, No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet

Fans Can Get Up Close at Team Chevy IndyCar Display
For the second year, the Team Chevy IndyCar display will be on site on the Streets of St. Petersburg. Located in the Fan Midway that runs adjacent to the front straightaway, the display hours of operation will be, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, March 27th; 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, March 28th; and 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, March 29th. A number of vehicles from the Chevrolet production lineup will be on display including the Corvette Z51, Corvette Z06 coupe, Impala, Malibu, Silverado 1500, Chevy SS, Equinox and all-new Colorado – 2015 MotorTrend Truck of the Year. There will be interactive activities for children and adults alike.

The highlight of the weekend will be the driver visits to the pit box interview area located at the satellite Chevy Racing display located in the Bright House Fan Zone Fans can engage in question-and-answer sessions with Chevrolet’s top IndyCar stars.

On Saturday, fans can interact and ask questions of Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam from 10-10:15 a.m. In addition, KV Racing drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Stefano Coletti will be at the pit box from 10:55-11:10 a.m. to visit with Team Chevy IndyCar fans.

ESPN on ABC will have a live telecast of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 29. The green flag will fly at approximately 3:30 PM. ET. The IMS Radio Network brings the action live to fans. Both the IMS Radio Network broadcast, and live timing and scoring can be found on www.indycar.com. Radio broadcast can also be heard on XM Radio 209/Sirius Radio 209.

Chevrolet IndyCar Teams Complete Two-Day Preseason Test at Barber Motorsports Park

* First Verizon IndyCar Series official on-track sessions for new Chevrolet Aero Kit nets valuable information
* Chevrolet teams get two-day opportunity to gather data as the March 29 season-opening race on Streets of St. Petersburg approaches

BIRMINGHAM (MARCH 17, 2015) – The Chevrolet IndyCar teams put the all-new Chevrolet Aero Kit through its inaugural paces during the first official Verizon IndyCar Series on-track test of the 2015 season.

The four Chevrolet-powered IndyCar organizations expected to field 12 cars in the season-opening race set for March 29 on the Streets of St. Petersburg utilized every minute of the two-day Promoter Test at Barber Motorsports Park to begin to build their notebooks on the Chevrolet Aero Kit for the start of the 16-race season.

“The Promoter Test at Barber Motorsports Park is always an exciting moment in the IndyCar season when our Chevy engineers get to see the fruits of their off season labor in the hands of our Team Chevy racing partners,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager for Verizon IndyCar Series. “This year the culmination of multiple years of effort into the Chevrolet Aero Kit was rolled out during this two-day test and so far the results were in line with our expectations. Together with our teams, we learned more about the strengths and weaknesses of our road course configuration and engine installation. Looking forward to Race 1 at St. Pete where it really counts.”

Will Power, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, driving the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, posted the quickest lap of the two-day Verizon IndyCar Series test. Power, who has won twice at Barber Motorsports Park and was the Verizon P1 Award winner for the 2014 Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, had a best lap of 1 minute, 7.3118 seconds (123.010 mph) in the March 17 morning session.

Scott Dixon, who has finished second or third in the five races at Barber Motorsports Park in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, recorded the quickest lap of 1:07.4805 on March 16, and bettered it in the waning minutes of March 17 (1:07.3996) to place second overall. KV Racing Technology Chevrolet driver Stefano Coletti was quickest of the four rookies participating (1:07.5224), and third overall, in the No. 4 Chevrolet.

Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet was fourth quickest overall at the end of day two. Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Penske Trucking Team Penske Chevrolet was fifth in the final order. Sebastien Bourdais, No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet was sixth with Charlie Kimball, No. 83 Novo Log Flex Pen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in eighth and Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, was ninth in the final order.

The first race of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series is set for March 29 on the Streets of St. Petersburg. Qualifying is set for Saturday, March 28 at 4:15 p.m. EDT. ABC will have a live telecast of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 29 with pre-race at 3 p.m. EDT. The green flag will fly at 3:37 p.m. EDT. The IMS Radio Network brings the action live to fans. Both the radio broadcast and live timing and scoring can be found on www.indycar.com. Radio broadcast can also be heard on XM Radio 211/Sirius Radio 211.

DRIVER QUOTES:

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT DATA Chevrolet): “I’m happy with our testing here at Barber and all the data we were able to get from multiple cars testing multiple things. We tried some things throughout today that worked and we tried some things that didn’t work, but the things that didn’t work are just as important as the ones that do. I can’t complain at all about the Chevy aero kits and how they’re performing on-track, and I’m looking forward to get back to NOLA next week and then onto the season opener in St. Pete.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chevrolet): “We spent the morning really chasing the changing track conditions today. The track was a lot hotter today compared to yesterday and we had to adjust to that with the Target car. There are so many variables with the new aero kits as well. We worked a lot on aero and tried to do as many things as we could with the tire allotment we were given here. Overall I think it was a good test for the Target team and I’m looking forward to coming back for the race here next month.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet): “We had a really good day today with the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet. We’re just learning so much about the new Chevy aero kits every time we get back out on the track. The downforce and drag paired with the Chevy engine package, and then what we do with the mechanical setup has been really important and we’re able to see what things work and what don’t. We put everything we got from yesterday with our data from this morning and were able to get a pretty fast lap time this afternoon and finish up there in the top 10. We’re pretty excited with where we ended the day today heading into testing next week at NOLA and then into St. Pete.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil Chevrolet): “I think we got through a big list. That was the most important thing coming into this test. The aero kit was still an unknown to us as we haven’t had a lot of time with it. We needed to try a bunch of things to figure out what we liked and we got through everything pretty cleanly. We had a little incident right before lunch, but we recovered well and still managed to learn a lot. I think we’re in a pretty good position where we are at, we know what we need to do which is a comforting thought going into the season opener.”

LUCA FILIPPI (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “Today we have tried many different setups. At the end we found something that I liked very much, so I was very confident with the car and was able to push and to have some consistent laps. The position on the timing sheet isn’t great because we found the setup I liked just a little too late. We came here to learn the car, it was the first time for me with the new aero kit. I had to learn the circuit, which I have to say is a very tricky circuit. It took a while to understand everything, but now we can say we are ready for the road courses.”

CHEVROLET INDYCAR V6 DRIVER QUOTES – VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES PRESEASON TESTING

CHEVROLET INDYCAR V6 DRIVER QUOTES – VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES PRESEASON TESTING
BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK (ALABAMA)
MARCH 16, 2015

BIRMINGHAM – Team Chevy driver quotes following the first day of preseason testing of the new Chevrolet Aero Kit at Barber Motorsports Park.

AN INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, FASTEST IN COMBINED SESSIONS WITH LAP OF 1:07:4805/122.702 m.p.h.: “It’s great to be back in the Target car. We tested NOLA Saturday, we’re here this weekend at Barber and then go back to NOLA next week for the final pre-season test heading into St. Petersburg. We had a decent start to the day today finishing second overall in the first session. The cars have more downforce now and are a lot more demanding to drive. Some of the corners here in the old cars were almost flat, and now they’re flat out when you go through them. If this is any indication of the speeds, I think you will see a lot of track records broken this season. I think the new cars with the aero kits look cooler now and hope the fans will like the changes for this year’s season.”

YOU TURNED A VERY QUICK LAP ON YOUR FINAL STRETCH. WERE YOU GETTING MORE COMFORTABLE WITH OR DID YOU FIGURE OUT SOMETHING?
“The car has been pretty decent all day. For some reason, it seemed like our car was really good on used tires. After lunch, we were on 26-lap tires and jumped to P3. The car was very consistent which was good. But then you get into a situation where you put new tires and you’re barely going quicker. Luckily that didn’t happen today. We’re still struggling with balance issues, weight distribution and things like that – just trying to figure out some different things with the aero kit and with the loads changing significantly with cornering speed. All in all, it was a good day for us on the 9 car side. We still have plenty of test tomorrow and turn some laps to find some extra things for when we come back for the race.”

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE CHEVROLET AERO KIT?
“The biggest thing are obviously the looks for most people. Both cars look very different, which is exciting for fans and for the series. I don’t really care what it looks like as long as it goes fast. It’s been a significant change in drivability or the way you attack the car and the extra downforce you do have even though as per the rules there was a lot of grip taken away from the car with the hole in the floor and the underwing stuff that had been taken off. If those had stayed on, the car would be even quicker again by seconds per lap. It’s been a great exercise for us on the Chevy side. Fingers crossed that everything runs smoothly. So far it’s been pretty seamless. They’ve done a lot of homework so that’s made it very good and very easy to hit the track.”

IS THE SEAT TIME THIS WEEKEND GOING TO HELP YOU FOR SATURDAY (AT SEBRING)?
“It’s quite a busy week. Obviously with the New Orleans test and these two days, then straight to Sebring for the 12-hour, and then another two days at New Orleans and then straight to St. Pete. I’m loving it. I haven’t been in this situation since probably my early days in CART where I tested maybe 50 days a year. So it’s a lot of fun and I’m very privileged to have those options and run. So yeah a lot of seat time. I just hope I can help the IMSA team out this coming weekend.”

WITH THIS BEING YOUR SECOND YEAR WITH TONY (KANAAN), WHAT ARE LOOKING FOR FROM A TEAM DYNAMIC, AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FOR THE TEAM?
“There has been some pretty good shakeup in the team. Obviously on the engineering side a lot of people have moved around. I’m now working with Chris Simmons and Tony now has (xx) Malloy. Those dynamics change as well. It’s kind of interesting because you approach weekends and days at the track a little bit different. You hope that it works out and plays well. With Tony and I, you get a better bond. You understand that if the 10 car is doing that, then the 9 car probably needs to do this and vice versa. He’s always been great to work with – a super guy and a hell of a racer. We’re hoping for big things from the team this year.”

WHAT’S THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THIS TRACK, AND HAS IT CHANGED AT ALL FROM THE DW12 TO THE NEW AERO KITS?
“It’s just going quicker and the balance has changed a little bit. I used to struggle with a lot of understeer here, and I kind of started that today. But with the tunability, it seems like we were able to get the car very loose this afternoon. I think the slow corners here are for me the most challenging and are areas where you can gain the most time – Turn 5 and Turn 9, and even Turn 2 and Turn 3. Those are always focuses for me. I can generally over-slow a car through most of those corners. But if you slow down even a mile-an-hour or two because of the slowness of it, it kills you a lot. Those are the tricky parts for me.”

AN INTERVIEW WITH JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 67 HARTMAN OIL CARPENTER FISHER HARTMAN RACING CHEVROLET, SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 PENSKE TRUCKING TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET AND WILL POWER, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET:

NEWGARDEN: “Today was fun. I’m not as tired today as we didn’t do as many laps as we did a couple of days ago in New Orleans. We were a little limited on tires as we are only getting three sets per day, which I think helped on the neck and on the arms. I thought it was going to be a little more physical, and it is, but it’s not atrocious. IndyCars have always been physical, I think they’re only going to be brought up to the next level with these aero kits. I think we’re going to be able to manage in the race.

Q: WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TRACK THAT MAKES IT A GOOD PLACE TO PREPARE FOR THE START OF THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES SEASON?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: “The good thing is we’re going to race here so it’s always good to run at places where you’re going to compete during the season. Barber is a very fast track and one of the tracks that fans will see the most out of the new aero kits. We got a preview of that at NOLA Motorsports Park over the weekend but I think here it’s one that is fully loaded with downforce. It’s going to be very physical around this place. It’s such a demanding track that compares to others such as Sonoma Raceway and Mid-Ohio. It’s good prep for the road courses with the new aero package.”

Q: WHAT HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ON TRACK WITH THE NEW AERO KIT?
SIMON PAGENAUD: “It’s quite impressive to drive actually. First thing this morning the track was cool and the car already felt really good. Barber is a beautiful track for an aero kit of this level because it is flowing and has high-speed corners, and you’re carrying a lot of downforce so the car is really hooked up to the track. It’s a lot more physical than it already was, so that will be a challenge. But it’s fun and now we’re learning a lot of things for the race. It’s interesting to try different items on the race car to know what to use for the race.”

Q: WILL, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME YOU’VE BEEN WITH THE FULL FIELD IN A TEST SITUATION. HOW DOES THAT MAKE IT DIFFERENT?
WILL POWER: “I’m focusing on the job at hand here and trying to understand the new car and do what I did last year (win the series title). It’s good to finally get going after a long offseason.”

Q: DO YOU NOTICE THE ADDITIONAL DOWNFORCE OF THE NEW AERO PACKAGE?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: “It’s definitely more physical; the back of my neck is sore. The very first tire run there was a lot of grip on the track, but as the day is getting warmer there’s less grip. The braking capacity of the car is much higher. Referencing the (track) markers, I’d say you cut off about 30 percent of the brake zone, so it’s pretty significant on brakes.”

SIMON PAGENAUD: “We knew the car with the aero kit was going to be more physical, and this track is probably the most demanding. It’s always a challenge here, and it will show who has worked the hardest for sure.”

TONY KANAAN, NO. 10 NTT DATA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET: “It was a decent day out here today. It’s always good to have four cars to pull from especially when we can all try different things. We were just trying to cover all of our bases today at the test, and Dixon was able to find a pretty good setup there at the end. It was a very productive day and I’m just pleased with the car and the way it performed. It feels good to be in my new colors with NTT DATA and I’m looking forward to getting more out of the car tomorrow.”

SAGE KARAM, NO. 8 GE LED CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET: “Obviously that’s not the way we wanted our Barber test experience to go with the accident. Early on in the test in Turn 14, I just made a mistake. It’s a flat-out corner and the car bottomed out and I shouldn’t have been carrying that much speed that early on. I tried to catch the car but it ended up hooking around and I went off and made contact with the wall. I’m just a little sore, but I know this team and I know myself. I’ll learn from that and make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’m just sorry for all the people that put in all the preparation to get this car ready and expected us to test and learn for the full two days.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 83 NOVOLOG FLEXPEN CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET: “It was a really good first day here at Barber. I love the new Chevy aero kit – it just looks great and it performs really well on the race track. We’ve been able to make a lot of adjustments through the heat of the day following what it will hopefully be like on race weekend with temperatures and air temp. Overall no hiccups or big issues, we’re just figuring out the cars.”

LUCA FILIPPI, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA CARPENTER FISHER HARTMAN RACING CHEVROLET: “It was a productive day, it was my first day in the car with the new aero kits. This morning I had a lot to learn from the car itself and the circuit. It took a while to understand the circuit because it’s actually quite tricky. We got better and better and this afternoon we finally able to work on the setup. I think we are going in the right direction. We found constistency and driveability. It’s good for us to be here and get ready for the season and for this race in particular.”

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