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U.S. SPACE FORCE JOINS ED CARPENTER RACING FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) August 7, 2020 – The U.S. Space Force announced a partnership with Ed Carpenter Racing this morning on FOX & Friends. Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations unveiled the No. 20 U.S. Space Force Chevrolet with driver and team owner Ed Carpenter. The three-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner will carry the colors of the U.S.’s new military branch in this year’s 500-mile race, scheduled for August 23, 2020. Through ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ Carpenter and ECR will build awareness of the U.S. Space Force in race fans and Americans all over the country.


The U.S. Space Force became the sixth branch of the Department of Defense when it was signed into law on December 20, 2019. The mission of the U.S. Space Force is to protect the interests of the United States in space; deter aggression in, from and to space; and conduct space operations. Similar to the branches of the military which are dedicated to protecting and securing the air, land, and sea, the U.S. Space Force focuses singularly on space.
“The U.S. Space Force’s involvement with the Indy 500 is centered around our organizations’ shared principles of STEM, teamwork, speed and competition,” said Maj. Jason Wyche, Chief of Air Force and Space Force Recruiting National Events Marketing Branch. “Additionally, the partnership gives the U.S. Space Force the ability to reach a large number of prospects and influencers through the far-reaching broadcast viewership and media coverage both for and leading up to the race.”


While Carpenter now races exclusively in the oval events, he is one of the most experienced drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with 184 career starts to date. He began his 18th season of Indy car competition with a Top 5 finish at Texas Motor Speedway in June. Carpenter, an Indianapolis native, has started on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 five of the past seven years. He solidified his status as a hometown favorite by winning the pole position in 2013 and 2014; in 2018, he became just the 10th driver to collect three or more Indy 500 poles in the century-plus history of the race. Of Carpenter’s 16 Indianapolis 500 starts, two of his strongest results have come the past two years, including a runner-up after leading the most laps in 2018.


Carpenter is thrilled to have the opportunity race on behalf of the U.S. Space Force. “This is such an exciting day, unveiling this beautiful U.S. Space Force Chevrolet that I will drive in the Indianapolis 500 on August 23! To be able to represent the men and women of the U.S.’s newest military branch is truly an honor,” proclaimed Carpenter. He continued, “Even though we are not running the ‘500’ on Memorial Day weekend this year, the event has such a strong connection to our Armed Forces and there’s no better way to showcase the brand new U.S. Space Force!”
The U.S. Space Force will organize, train, and equip agile, lean and forward-looking space professionals to defend our nation, allies, and American interests in space. By creating separate service with a dedicated purpose, the United States will maintain an advantage as space becomes more crowded and contested. Approximately 16,000 military and civilians from the former U.S. Air Force Space Command are now assigned to the U.S. Space Force and 6,000 active-duty Airmen will be transferring to the branch.


Just two weeks ago, the U.S. Space Force released its logo and motto, both of which are featured prominently on Carpenter’s No. 20. First used in 1961, the Delta symbol honors the heritage of the U.S. Air Force and Space Command. The silver outer border of the Delta signifies defense and protection from all adversaries and threats from the space domain. In the center of the Delta is the star Polaris, which symbolizes how the core values guide the mission. The U.S. Space Force motto, ‘Semper Supra’ (Always Above), represents the service’s role in establishing, maintaining and preserving U.S. freedom of operations in the space domain.


Carpenter is the only individual in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES who handles both the responsibility of driving and owning his own team. Founded in 2012, Carpenter’s eponymous team has two full-time entries and expands to three cars for the Indianapolis 500. The 39-year-old will compete alongside fellow Hoosier Conor Daly and Dutch rookie Rinus VeeKay. ECR will be representing two branches of the United States military as Daly races for the U.S. Air Force. The 28-year-old’s special edition No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet pays homage to the founding year of the U.S. Air Force and one of its most iconic aircraft, the Bell X-1. VeeKay, 19, will be competing in his first Indianapolis 500 in the team’s No. 21 entry. 


The 2020 Indianapolis 500 was originally slated for May 24 but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership, the decision has been made to hold the race on August 23 without spectators. All on-track action from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be viewed via NBC Sports Gold, NBCSN or NBC. The 2.5-mile oval will open for practice on Wednesday, August 12 and continue throughout the week. Qualifications will be held on Saturday, August 15 and Sunday, August 16. The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 23 with a live broadcast on NBC.

Davison, BYRD, Belardi Return to Dale Coyne Racing in Partnership with Rick Ware Racing for Indianapolis 500

Davison, BYRD, Belardi Return to Dale Coyne Racing in Partnership with Rick Ware Racing for Indianapolis 500
 
Plainfield, IL (August 6, 2020) – James Davison is set to return to Dale Coyne Racing for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 this month. The team has entered into a partnership with Rick Ware Racing, BYRD and Belardi Auto Racing to run the #51 Jacob Construction entry for the Australian driver, with continued support from Americas Best Value Inn, Tilson HR, and Cruz Associates.

Davison will be making his fourth appearance in a Dale Coyne Racing car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he looks to make his sixth start on the 2.5-mile oval. In his most recent outing with the team, in 2019, Davison registered his best Indianapolis 500 finish, taking the checkered flag in 12th place. 

The #51 Honda will feature the blue and white colors of primary sponsor Jacob Construction, a multifaceted construction firm with a focus on construction, development and technology services. Jacob provides clients with a wide range of services in the Design Build and Construction Management sectors of the construction industry. In conjunction with these services, Jacob self performs structural concrete, architectural and structural precast erection.

The 2020 Indianapolis 500 will be BYRD Racing’s third time partnering with Dale Coyne (2016, 2019) and the second for Belardi Auto Racing (2019). While both teams will be making a return to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, this will be the first appearance for Rick Ware Racing who fields cars in NASCAR, IMSA and the Asian Le Mans Series. 

Davison is no stranger to Rick Ware Racing for which he drives on a part time basis in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Practice for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 kicks off on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 with the race scheduled for August 23, 2020. The seventh round of the NTT IndyCar Series season will be televised live on NBC starting at 2:30pm ET.


James Davison – driver #51 Jacob Construction – Dale Coyne with Rick Ware Racing, BYRD and Belardi
“I am overjoyed to be returning to the Indy 500 with Dale Coyne Racing, Rick Ware Racing, BYRD and Belardi. Last year we had a great run qualifying and finishing in the top half of the field, and we intend to replicate and improve on that. The Byrd family, Brian Belardi, and Dale Coyne have been loyal believers in me and have demonstrated that in a way for which I will forever be grateful, and I am excited to be able to now enjoy the support of Rick Ware Racing as well. While a lot will be different this year due to the unusual circumstances, it is still an exciting time to be involved in Indy car racing under the stewardship of the Penske Corporation and to have the opportunity to get on track next week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

Dale Coyne – Owner Dale Coyne Racing
“James had great runs the last couple times he’s raced at the Indy 500 for us. He picked up his best finish last season and we look forward to seeing him build on that result this year. It’s also great to be continuing our partnership with BYRD and Belardi and we’re happy to be welcoming Rick Ware to the NTT IndyCar Series for his first Indy 500.”

Rick Ware – Owner Rick Ware Racing
“It is not too often I get to experience a ‘first’ in motorsports. However, this year we not only won an International Championship, RWR will be entered into the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. This is definitely a bucket list item that I’ve had for a long time. I am excited to be partnered together with Dale Coyne Racing, BYRD Racing and Belardi to showcase our efforts.”

David Byrd – Owner Byrd Racing
“Our previous two Indy 500 partnerships with Dale have been nothing short of fantastic, and we are just over the moon to be working together again, while also extending our relationship with Brian Belardi and starting a new one with Rick Ware Racing. We are definitely looking forward to picking up right where we left off last May.”

Brian Belardi – Owner Belardi Auto Racing
“I’m really excited to be back with Dale Coyne Racing, BYRD Racing, and James Davison for a 2nd year at the Indianapolis 500, along with our new partners at Rick Ware Racing. Last year was an amazing finish and a great platform to build on with our 12th place result. I can’t wait to see what the team is capable of accomplishing this year building off the momentum from 2019!”

A.J. Foyt & His Team’s Reactions to Running the Indianapolis 500 Without Fans at IMS

WALLER, Texas–Following are some reactions from the AJ Foyt Racing team on today’s decision to hold the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 without fans in attendance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With health and safety being the top priority, the difficult decision was reached in partnership with state and city health officials and leaders.

A.J. Foyt: “I’ve seen a lot of changes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but I never thought I’d see the race run without fans. I know it had to be a really tough decision for Roger to make and it was the right one for this time. I’ll miss seeing the fans because I think I have a lot of fans in Indy and they were the reason I kept coming back here when I got hurt. It’s a real shame that they can’t be here this year but I think they will be here in spirit. And I look forward to seeing them back here next year when things get back to normal.”

Larry Foyt (President, AJ Foyt Racing): “Is 2020 over yet? Seriously though, this is the right thing to do. I can’t imagine the incredible amount of work IMS and INDYCAR have put into making this race safely happen. Even still, the pandemic has created an environment that it’s just not right to have 75,000 people in one venue, even if it is as large as IMS. I’m thankful we are still able to have the race. Hopefully we will put on a great show for the NBC audience, and have everyone even more excited to come back in 2021.”

Tony Kanaan (No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet): “I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I think deep inside we always race the majority of the times because of the fans. They’re the ones – especially for me at Indy —they’re the most important thing. Obviously we had to make a decision and I think it’s the safest one but it’s sad, it’s just so sad. The whole world is sad right now. But we’ll get through it. Hopefully everyone will be watching the Indy 500 on TV and cheering as loudly as they would at the race track. But…that makes me wonder—I don’t think this should be my last Indy 500.”

Dalton Kellett (No. 41 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet): “The fans are central to the Indy 500 experience and its history, it won’t be the same this year without them. Public and fan safety have been central to the decision making process, for IndyCar and IMS, all season. This hard call is the right one. As a rookie, I am excited and honoured to take part in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, even though it won’t be the traditional experience. We know the race is going to be exciting and NBC will put together an engaging broadcast. I’ll be working hard to give some extra ‘behind-the-scenes’ moments on social, hopefully doing a small part to bring you with us on race day.”

Charlie Kimball (No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet): “We all – teams, drivers, owners – will miss having fans at the Indy 500 this year. But keeping our community safe is the most important thing. And making the hard decision is the sign of great leadership, which gives me confidence for the future of the Indy 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

Fans will be able to keep up with all the action on the team’s and drivers’ social media platforms as well as the NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold platforms. Visit IMS.com or INDYCAR.com for a comprehensive streaming and broadcast schedule.

  • The 104th Running of the Indy 500 will take place Sunday, Aug. 23, with national coverage beginning on NBC at 1 p.m. ET.
  • Local Central Indiana coverage of the race will be available on NBC affiliate WTHR.
  • Broadcast coverage of qualifications on Saturday, Aug. 15 begins on NBC at 3 p.m. ET.
  • Sunday, Aug. 16 broadcast coverage of Pole Day begins on NBC at 1 p.m. ET.

ED CARPENTER RACING ADDS COLE PEARN TO INDIANAPOLIS 500 ENGINEERING STAFF

Championship-Winning NASCAR Crew Chief Will Be Lead Engineer on Conor Daly’s No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet

(INDIANAPOLIS) July 29, 2020 – Ed Carpenter Racing has welcomed championship-winning crew chief Cole Pearn to its engineering staff for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Pearn will return to racing for the Month of August, serving as lead engineer for Conor Daly. Daly will compete in ECR’s third entry, the No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet. The Indianapolis 500 has been rescheduled from its traditional Memorial Day weekend date to August 23, 2020.

After earning a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Waterloo, Pearn moved to North Carolina to pursue a career in NASCAR. He became an engineer with Richard Childress Racing before shifting to Denver-based Furniture Row Racing. In 2015, he was promoted to crew chief of the team’s No. 78 with driver Martin Truex. The pair won the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship, competed in the title race in four of five years, and won a series-high seven races last year. Pearn stepped away from full-time NASCAR competition at the close of the 2019 season, returning to his home country of Canada with his wife Carrie and their two young children. The couple now own and operate Golden Alpine Holidays, which includes four backcountry lodges in British Columbia. Pearn has remained involved in the sport, serving as an analyst for NASCAR.com.

“I am super excited to get a chance to compete in the Indy 500 with Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter Racing. I wasn’t sure when I would want to get back to racing, but this is a great opportunity to do so. To be able to do it at a high level was too hard to pass up,” remarked Pearn. “Obviously, it will be a steep learning curve but getting to work with [No. 20 engineer] Pete Craik again and the rest of the ECR team is about the best situation I could hope for!”

Daly will be returning to the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval after his most successful Month of May to date. In 2019, he set the fastest lap of all practice sessions, nearly made the Fast Nine Shootout for the pole position and earned a career-best finish of 10th. After serving as one of the most trusted reserve drivers in the paddock the past two seasons, Daly is back to full-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition in 2020. Daly drives ECR’s No. 20 for the road and street course events, No. 47 in the Indianapolis 500 and races in the remaining oval events with Carlin. This year’s Indianapolis 500 will mark the seventh time the Noblesville, Ind.-native has competed in his home race and his third year of representing the U.S. Air Force. Daly’s special edition No. 47 entry pays homage to the founding year of the U.S. Air Force and one of its most iconic aircraft, the Bell X-1.

While the 2020 Indianapolis 500 will be Pearn’s first as an engineer, it will also be Daly’s first with Ed Carpenter Racing. “I am really excited to get to work with Cole for the first time at the Indy 500! We’re both going to have to get up to speed with this ECR operation, but I can’t wait,” commented Daly. “Cole has had an incredible amount of success in the NASCAR world and now we’ll be going for our first Indy 500 win together!”

ECR has two full-time entries in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and has expanded to three cars for the Indianapolis 500. Daly’s teammates will be team owner and fellow Hoosier Ed Carpenter and Dutch rookie Rinus VeeKay. Pete Craik, lead engineer on Carpenter’s No. 20, worked with Pearn at Furniture Row Racing and was also a part of the 2017 championship run. ECR’s chief engineer Matt Barnes oversees the department and will head up the No. 21 of VeeKay. An ECR Chevrolet has qualified on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 six of the past seven years, including three pole positions by Carpenter (2013, 2014 and 2018).

Tim Broyles, General Manager of ECR, is pleased with the addition to the team’s engineering staff. “We prepare all year to be the best we can be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and bringing on someone of Cole Pearn’s caliber for August only adds to that,” stated Broyles. “We are proud of the engineering program that we have built and Cole is a solid addition to that group.”

The 2020 Indianapolis 500 was originally slated for May 24 but has been rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crowds will now be limited to 25 percent of IMS’s capacity and fans will be required to wear masks and pass temperature checks. Practice will take place Tuesday, August 11-Friday, August 14 and Friday, August 21. Qualifying will be held on Saturday, August 15 and Sunday, August 16. The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 23, 2020.

Championship-winning crew chief Cole Pearn has joined Ed Carpenter Racing’s engineering staff for next month’s Indianapolis 500. After a successful career in the NASCAR Cup Series, Pearn stepped away from full-time competition at the close of the 2019 season. He will return to racing in August to serve as lead engineer for Conor Daly and the No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet. (Photo: Getty Images/NASCAR)
It will be the first Indianapolis 500 with Ed Carpenter Racing for engineer Cole Pearn and driver Conor Daly, as the latter joined the team prior to the 2020 season. Daly will be returning to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval after his most successful Month of May to date, which culminated in a career-best finish. His special edition No. 47 entry pays homage to the founding year of the U.S. Air Force and one of its most iconic aircraft, the Bell X-1.

Race Report: Iowa 250s – Race 2

Race Report: Iowa INDYCAR 250s – Race 2

July 18, 2020

The No. 14 Bryant / A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet on track at Iowa Speedway with Tony Kanaan behind the wheel (Photo Courtesy of A.J. Foyt Racing)

NEWTON, Iowa—Tony Kanaan proved to be an Ironman Saturday night in Race 2 of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s at Iowa Speedway. The drink tube became dislodged and he ran nearly the entire race without benefit of water in a hot cockpit on an even hotter night.

Starting eighth, in the No. 14 Bryant Chevrolet, he dropped to tenth (when the tube came out and splashed water over his shield), but climbed back to ninth by lap three. He moved to eighth by the time of his first pit stop on lap 53.

Teammate Charlie Kimball, who started 11th in the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet, radioed in that his car was loose on entry, then went to understeer and was unsettled on exit. He dropped to 16th and pitted early in the pit window to make some adjustments. After the second round of stops, he said the car was feeling better and he set his fastest lap just before the midpoint of the race.

 The Tresiba team had solid stops on a hot Saturday night. (Photo Courtesy of A.J. Foyt Racing)

A caution on lap 114 for Ed Carpenter’s contact with the wall in Turn 2 (he was not injured) slowed the race for 12 laps.  When the race went back to green, Kanaan moved up to seventh and ran there until his next pit stop on lap 174. Kimball pitted shortly after only to have the caution flag wave again on lap 180 — this time for Ryan Hunter-Reay’s crash in Turn 2 while coming off pit road. He wasn’t injured.

 The Bryant Chevrolet was competitive throughout the race. (Photo Courtesy of A.J. Foyt Racing)

With 12 laps of caution before the race restarted on lap 192, strategists Larry Foyt and Scott Harner told their drivers that they could make it to the end on fuel. Kimball moved into 16th on lap 206 and maintained it to the end.

“Another tough night here at Iowa Speedway for the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet,” Kimball said. “The guys did a great job in pit lane – they’ve done that all year. It’s nice to rely on that coming down pit lane to pick up tires and spots, but we just struggled a little bit. I struggled with grip. I struggled with balance. Felt like I drove pretty hard, but we had a lot to learn and a lot to look at heading into the next race at Mid-Ohio and the big one at Indy.”

 Strategist Larry Foyt talks with Kimball after the race. (Photo Courtesy of A.J. Foyt Racing)

Kanaan moved into ninth on lap 216 and held fast there until the final three laps-slipping to 10th with two to go and then 11th on the final lap–surrendering to cars with fresher tires. However, he was pleased to have a competitive car at the tough 7/8 mile bullring. During the final caution, he thanked his race engineer Mike Colliver over the radio, saying “You gave me a good car tonight Mike, thanks.”

Kanaan takes a drink after the race. (Photo Courtesy of A.J. Foyt Racing)

“All in all, I think it was a positive weekend for us,” Kanaan said. “We definitely have a much more competitive car. We’ve been running in the top 10 every single race with one of these cars, so really happy. Very emotional weekend for me yesterday giving the command. It was kind of like, I never had done that, so it was kind of mixed feelings and it was really cool to do it, but also it’s something really coming to an end. Today we had a great race. We ran in the top eight all day long. The tire strategy we played a little bit of a gamble, and it worked, so I was really happy. I was a lot more comfortable today in the car. You know, doing this race is like one weekend, four weekends off … it’s kind of weird to me. I’ve done 17 races in a row for 23 years, so I think this is a good lead for Indy. We’re going to have a normal ‘Month of August’ in Indy, so I’ll be in the car every day, so hopefully we’ll go for the big win because that’s what my boss wants. Thanks to Bryant, Firestone, Chevy and the whole Foyt team for the opportunity. Let’s go to Indy!”

Josef Newgarden swept the card by starting on pole and winning the race for the second straight year here. He also won in 2016. Finishing second was his teammate Will Power while Graham Rahal claimed third. Rounding out the top five were Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES  will return to action with the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on August 9th.

Kanaan peels away from the A.J. Foyt Racing crew (Photo Courtesy of A.J. Foyt Racing)

2020 Iowa 250s – Race Two Recap

An Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet on track at Iowa Speedway (Photo Courtesy of Arrow McLaren SP)

What could have been. 

For the second night in a row, the Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolets were some of the fastest cars in the field at Iowa Speedway. Starting as a pair in 12th and 13th, Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew knew they would have ground to make up if the team wanted to contend on the second night of the doubleheader. 

O’Ward went to work early, taking advantage of the high-line over the first two laps, gaining five positions and settling into 7th. Askew didn’t have as strong of a start but knowing his car would get better as the stint went on, he played the waiting game in the middle of the field. 

Eventually, O’Ward moved up all the way to second place and found himself on  the tail of the leader and polesitter, Josef Newgarden. Running just behind him going into the final round of pit stops, the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP team went for the lead on pit lane. The stop looked fast until clean, until O’Ward left the box and the team realized one of the wheels wasn’t tight. The mistake cost O’Ward the lead lap and a shot at fighting for the win. The Monterrey, Mexico native would go on to finish the race where he started in 12th. O’Ward still remains firmly in the championship hunt, sitting fourth with 162 points. 

Askew, the rookie from Jupiter, FL, took advantage of a late-race caution to get fresher tires than the rest of the cars on the lead lap. With around 60 laps to go, he took the restart from 10th. Taking advantage of better tires late in the race, Askew was able to gain four positions and finish 6th, the second-best finish of his young career, after a 3rd place finish in Race One in Iowa. The pair of strong finishes is enough to move Askew to the top of the Rookie of the Year standings (115 points), just one point ahead of Alex Palou. (114 points)

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to action, after a much-needed break, on August 9th at Mid-Ohio. Tune in for the race at 1:30 p.m. ET. (network TBD)

Pato O’Ward – No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Practice: 15th
Qualifying: 12th
Started: 12th
Finished: 12th

“Yesterday, I think we started off the weekend well. In the second race, the best way to sum it up is ‘what could have been.’ We had the pace, we were strong, I made up positions to be fighting at the front. In the end, it was not meant to be for us, but we’re going to continue pushing to finish strong at Mid-Ohio.”

Oliver Askew – No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Practice: 21st
Qualifying: 13th
Started: 13th
Finished: 6th

“You can’t complain about two top 10s and especially my first podium. After yesterday, it was hard to sleep with all the adrenaline. Just had to focus and get back to it today. Really proud of Arrow McLaren SP, Chevrolet and everyone on this team. I know Pato had a really good shot at a podium and a win there, so definitely on the right track. Two podiums in two race weekends for us, we have quick fast cars and looking forward to the next few races to keep the momentum going and really have a good run at the rookie of the year championship. All-in-all a great weekend, a big thanks to everybody that showed up tonight and the fans watching at home.”

Taylor Kiel
Managing Director

“Certainly the pace was there all weekend. As a team, we brought our A-game in preparation for this event. We had the cars that could win, but unfortunately did not get it done. In the second race, Pato drove an excellent race and we let him down in the pits. Very disappointing and unfortunate because we had the car to win for sure. We will regroup, find ways to improve and we will come back stronger for Mid-Ohio.”

Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report

Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report

Race:                   Iowa INDYCAR 250s – Race 2

Date:                   July 18, 2020

No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Start: 1st – 11th-career INDYCAR pole
Finish: 1st – 15th-career INDYCAR win
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 214
Points Position: 3rd (-53 pts)

Notes:

  • It was a big day for Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet team, as the defending NTT INDYCAR Series Champion started on the pole, led the most laps and won his third-career race at Iowa Speedway to mark a Team Penske weekend sweep, following Simon Pagenaud’s win in last night’s first race of the doubleheader.
  • As the race began, Newgarden showed he had one of the fastest cars in the field as he led the first 57 laps of the event before being called to the pits by strategist Tim Cindric for fuel and tires.  He quickly regained the lead on lap 63. 
  • Battling a bit of understeer, Newgarden continued to run out front and stretch his lead to nearly five seconds before returning to the pits once again on lap 106.  He would find himself in the lead once again on lap 120.  
  • For the remainder of the race, Newgarden would only relinquish the lead during pit cycles.  He retook the top spot on lap 189 and never looked back, cruising to his third Iowa victory by nearly three-seconds over teammate Will Power. 
  • Newgarden’s win advanced him to third in NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship points as the series takes a two week break before returning to action at Mid-Ohio in early August.

Quote: “It feels really good. I don’t know what we have to do to keep the bad luck off of us but hopefully this is the start. Our guys did an amazing job yesterday. I was so disappointed for them. I was angry for them because I felt like they had the winning car. They put in the work but they just weren’t able to get rewarded for it. So I was so determined to come back today. I think everyone was so determined to come back today to the track and have a really good race. And we just ran hard. We ran hard all day. I am so proud to be powered by Chevrolet. I feel like we had the package to beat. Fuel mileage, durability, and we had the power. And to have Hitachi back on, I think they gave us that good luck charm. So thank you to Hitachi. Thanks to everyone at Team Penske back at the shop. I’m just thrilled we were able to get this monkey off our back. I don’t think I have been here on pole before. So I was sitting here thinking we can do that. I don’t know why we can’t convert from pole. Just kind of a silly stat I guess. I knew we had speed. I felt totally confident. You know when Tim [Cindric] is on my stand and I have my guys doing pit stops, I have complete confidence we can run any race we go into so that stat wasn’t bugging me. It would have been nice if we could have had a couple of finishes where we thought we should have been. Like at Road America we had a winning car that Saturday. I wasn’t able to secure that. I knew we needed a win and we need another one to come again soon. We need to be able to put consistent finishes on the board.”

No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 2nd
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250/250
Points Position: 5th (-102 pts)

Notes:

  • Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet team walked away from Saturday night’s second race of the Iowa Speedway doubleheader feeling redeemed, turning his season-long bad luck around by earning a second-place finish and moving up five positions in the point standings.
  • In what was a relatively and much welcomed “uneventful” night for Power, the former series champion raced inside the top-three all night long.  Following leader and teammate Josef Newgarden to the pits on lap 58, the Verizon crew made a front wing adjustment as he continued to try and close the gap on Newgarden.
  • Much of the evening, battling traffic proved to be the toughest challenge for the Australian driver. 
  • Power used strong pit stops and good strategy to keep his Chevrolet near the front of the field.  After falling back to third behind Pato O’Ward, he took advantage of a mistake on pit road by O’Ward to slot into second and once again chase down Newgarden.
  • In the end, the Verizon Chevrolet had nothing for his teammate, but did collect his second running-up finish of the 2020 season.  His podium finish also allowed him to climb to fifth in NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship point standings. 

Quote: “It feels good. We just had a solid day. I just want to thank Verizon and Chevy for all of their support. I would have loved to have the win of course.  I’m glad for once we actually get a good result out of it. Solider on, man. I’m exhausted – it’s so bloody hot in these cars man. I’m going to look forward to trying to have a good rest of this season. I don’t know what it is I have to do to have normal races like Dixon and Pagenaud.  Excited to have a good finish tonight though.”

No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Start: 23rd
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 2nd (-49 pts)

Notes:

  • Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet followed up his win on Friday night by completing another come-from-behind run on Saturday night at Iowa Speedway, finishing in the fourth position after once again starting 23rd
  • Unlike Friday night, Pagenaud’s move through the field was slowed on Saturday, and he only jumped from the 23rd to 21st position in the opening laps.
  • However, similar to how he won on Friday night, Pagenaud and the Menards team elected a different pit strategy from the other Team Penske Chevrolets and team strategist Kyle Moyer called Pagenaud to the pits earlier than most of the leaders. 
  • The ability to get tires earlier than everyone else and have clear track position allowed him to crack the top-10 – in eighth.
  • The remainder of the night saw Pagenaud continue to hit pit road early to try and gain track position.  As the 250-lap race wound down, Pagenaud found himself crossing the checkers in the fourth position. 

Quote: “It was a tough, dramatic weekend, but we prevailed. I want to thank Team Penske, Menards and Chevy for giving me the horsepower going forward. We weren’t quite as hooked up today. I think we might have gone the wrong way with an adjustment during a pit stop and from there we had to do quick pit stops so we didn’t make any changes. Maybe we didn’t have the outright pace but overall first and fourth is pretty good when we started last in both races. I’m pretty pleased with our results. It seems like the championship is shaping up so it’s pretty exciting right now. It’s satisfaction from a preparation standpoint. We just showed everyone in the paddock that you have to count on us no matter what happens. That’s the mark of a championship team. That’s what you want to do. That’s what you want to show every weekend. You want people to fear you. I’m pretty sure they feared us today. We’ll regroup again and go to Mid-Ohio. And be strong from there.”

FRUSTRATING NIGHT FOR ED CARPENTER RACING AT IOWA SPEEDWAY

FRUSTRATING NIGHT FOR ED CARPENTER RACING AT IOWA SPEEDWAY
Race 2 of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s Ends in Disappointment for Rinus VeeKay and Ed Carpenter

(NEWTON, Iowa) July 18, 2020 – Race 2 Notes

  • The second doubleheader weekend in as many weeks concluded tonight at Iowa Speedway. Ed Carpenter Racing drivers Rinus VeeKay and Ed Carpenter both faced their share of frustrations and are leaving the .875-mile oval disappointed. A pit stop issue dropped VeeKay two laps behind the field and Carpenter’s night was ended after slight contact with the Turn 2 wall. VeeKay would be credited with a 17th place finish while Carpenter was scored in 23rd.
  • Last night, VeeKay and Carpenter participated in Race 1 of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s. VeeKay started 13th but began an immediate march up through the field. He climbed as high as second, on the same strategy as eventual race winner Simon Pagenaud. On a waved-off restart, the car behind VeeKay launched off his rear tire and went up and over RVK’s cockpit. Both drivers were uninjured, but RVK’s promising night would be over and his crew would have to prepare his backup car for today’s race. It was not an easy Race 1 for Carpenter, who spent the majority of the event battling an ill-handling racecar. Though it did not end in a desired result, he was able to use years of experience to manage the situation and bring the No. 20 home safely.
  • Qualifying for both of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s took place yesterday afternoon, utilizing a unique format for the first time. While qualifying still consisted of two laps, the first lap after the green flag set the field for last night’s Race 1 and the second lap – following the white flag – determined the grid for tonight’s Race 2. The ECR teammates would land one position apart as Carpenter qualified 14th and VeeKay 15th for Race 2.
  • Since qualifying was completed yesterday, drivers were given a one-hour practice session earlier this afternoon. For VeeKay, it was a welcome opportunity to confirm the backup No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet was race-ready. Carpenter’s crew made many changes overnight to combat yesterday’s handling issues and he was confident enough in the results to only use one set of tires during practice.
  • Starting just one position away from each other, the two were immediately in a four-wide battle. Carpenter came out ahead, moving up to the 11th position by just the second lap. VeeKay slid back to 17th, finding that his car was not as agreeable to working through traffic as yesterday. On the other hand, Carpenter’s issues from yesterday appeared to be resolved as he found himself solidly in the Top 10 by Lap 41.
  • The duo made their first pit stops 10 laps apart from each other, with VeeKay coming in on Lap 48. VeeKay had cycled up to 15th; by the time Carpenter stopped on Lap 58, he was running 5th. After the entire field had stopped, VeeKay was 12th and Carpenter was 14th. Carpenter got around his rookie driver on Lap 90 and continued his way forward, making it back up to 7th before he stopped for the second time on Lap 103.
  • Trouble was waiting for VeeKay on his second pit stop. In for a regularly scheduled stop on Lap 107, the No. 21 was dropped to the ground before the outside rear tire was fully attached. The car began to creep forward, then stalled. By the time VeeKay had rejoined the race, he was two laps down to the leader in the 21st position.
  • Just 11 laps after his second pit stop, Carpenter got high coming out of Turn 1 and made slight contact with the Turn 2 wall. The contact was light enough both Carpenter and the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet crew thought the car would be repairable. Carpenter retuned to the pit lane while the crew headed straight for the garage. However, word quickly came that the No. 20 was not able to be repaired. Carpenter would be out of the race on Lap 113 and be credited with a 23rd place result.
  • VeeKay continued on for the duration of the event, but was not able to make up any laps. A needed caution flew one lap after his final pit stop on Lap 178. VeeKay was often running with lead-lap cars and was able to maintain pace. By reaching the end of the event, VeeKay would climb up to the 17th position.
  • After a stretch of five races in 15 days, including two doubleheader weekends in a row, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will now take a brief break before heading to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 9. VeeKay will be joined by road and street course driver of the No. 20, Conor Daly. Carpenter’s next race will be the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on August 23.
The No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter on track at Iowa Speedway (Photo Courtesy of Ed Carpenter Racing)

ED CARPENTER, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 23rd: “I caught a group of guys that were stacked up two-wide in front of me. I had Charlie (Kimball) on the inside and I just went into Turn 1 a little too hard. I got more understeer than I thought, got up into the marbles and couldn’t get it back. I am so disappointed that I made that mistake. The U.S. Air Force Chevrolet was really hooked up tonight. We struggled so much last night but felt like we really showed something tonight. I’m not sure what hurts worst, the poor performance last night or messing up a good result tonight. On to the next one.”

Rinus VeeKay at Iowa Speedway in the No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet (Photo Courtesy of Ed Carpenter Racing)

RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 17th: “Yesterday, the car felt amazing. I could pass whenever I wanted and tires would stay good for a long time, at least 80 laps. I struggled with that tonight, I just didn’t have the pace to charge through the field. Still, we were doing well, closing back in on the Top 10 after a bad start. Then, at the second pit stop, the car got down on the ground with three wheels on it. We had trouble restarting the car and lost about three laps. That was a bummer. We are very unlucky at the moment, but let’s hope it will switch around soon. Mid-Ohio is coming up soon and that’s been a good track for me. I’ve won races and had a very good test with ECR last year, so I can’t wait to try again there.”

RACE DEBRIEF: Iowa INDYCAR 250s – Race 2

After another night of racing under the Iowa Speedway lights, the Andretti quintet charged the grid for the 250-lap race, ending the weekend with mixed results. Rounding out this weekend’s doubleheader, the team now has three weeks to prepare for Round 7 at Mid-Ohio.

No. 27 AUTONATION / NAPA AUTO PARTS HONDA

  • STARTED 21st // FINISHED 8th
  • CHAMPIONSHIP: 10th (118 pts.)
  • OF NOTE: Ran as high as fifth during the race before settling into eighth for the checkered flag

“Everyone hung in there and the AutoNation / NAPA guys were awesome in the pits again, which is so great and such a reward for their hard work this offseason – couldn’t have done that without them. Rob had a good strategy call to get us back on the lead lap. Ultimately, I think it was an okay day considering where we started. I think we were a little bit worse in some places than yesterday and a little bit better in some places. I think, ultimately, we just had an eighth-place car so that’s the way it went. We’ll keep marching forward.”

No. 98 U.S. CONCRETE / CURB HONDA
Andretti Herta Autosport w/ Marco Andretti & Curb-Agajanian

  • STARTED 17th // FINISHED 10th
  • CHAMPIONSHIP: 21th (71 pts.)
  • OF NOTE: Recovered from Friday’s mechanical issue to bring home a first top-10 finish of the season and a 107th of Andretti’s career

“We had a drama free race tonight. I think this is our first one of 2020 without something going bad on our car. I think we should probably have about four top 10s by now, but we just have to play it where it lies and just try to build from here. We can’t really look at points at this point, we just have to focus race by race and Indy is a championship in itself. If we can build even more confidence through Mid-Ohio it will be even better.”

No. 88 CAPSTONE TURBINE HONDA 
Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport

  • STARTED 5th // FINISHED 19th
  • CHAMPIONSHIP: 7th (140 pts.)
  • OF NOTE: Crew worked late into the night to repair the 88 car for tonight’s race but struggled to find the pace to advance in Race 2

“It was a pretty disappointing day. We just didn’t really have the pace today. We went loose, and around here if you make a small mistake in setup it just bites you badly and we saw that. I think we had some high parts to the weekend and, unfortunately, we ended on a low, but fortunately we have a lot of time to go through everything before Mid-Ohio and make sure we are ready for that race.”

No. 26 GAINBRIDGE HONDA

  • STARTED 22nd // FINISHED 20th
  • CHAMPIONSHIP: 19th (95 pts.)
  • OF NOTE: Was running in the top 10 then fought through handling issues ending his night in 20th

“Honestly, this is maybe the toughest weekend in INDYCAR I’ve had in my career. This is a place where we have always been pretty strong, and we just didn’t have it when we rolled off this weekend. We struggled with the car all through practice, qualifying and the race on the first day. We tried to make a Hail Mary today, going back to a setup we knew was good last year and it just didn’t give us what we were looking for, so we were just stuck struggling today as well. It’s just frustrating. These ovals, you can only go as quick as your car goes. It’s just tough. I want to thank my Gainbridge crew for sticking with it. They worked insanely hard this weekend to give me a good car. With these tight schedules, when you unroll with something that isn’t great, it’s hard to make it better in a short amount of time.”

No. 28 DHL HONDA

  • STARTED 4th // FINISHED 22nd
  • CHAMPIONSHIP: 15th (104 pts.)
  • OF NOTE: Credited with leading four laps before making contact with the inside wall while exiting pit lane on his final stop of the night // Retired on Lap 180 due to damage

“I was looking to make up a lot of track time on that out lap and I short-shifted out of second gear, knowing that first [gear] was my problem last night. I got on it in second and it just came around. I almost caught it – but almost doesn’t count. It sucks. The guys on the 28 team certainly don’t deserve that. We had a rough night, we were hanging on, but we were at least P6, P7. We were really looking forward to getting the ball rolling here for the season. It’s been one thing or another, and obviously this is down to me. It’s unfortunate. DHL and AutoNation, they all deserve results and we are working on it. I was just pushing 110% and just asked a little too much of it there.” 

Rahal Earned His Second Podium of the Season With Third Place in Race 2 of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s; Sato Struggled With Handling And Finished 21st

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Iowa INDYCAR 250s – Iowa Speedway
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RACE 2 NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, July 18, 2020

RAHAL EARNED HIS SECOND PODIUM OF THE SEASON WITH THIRD PLACE IN RACE 2 OF THE IOWA INDYCAR 250s AT IOWA SPEEDWAY; SATO STRUGGLED WITH HANDLING AND FINISHED 21ST

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The Hy-Vee car came in third and I think we actually had the best car on track tonight. We passed a ton of cars. It was just hard at the end when Will was driving on the same line as me. It was difficult up high to get the grip to go by. Thanks to Hy-Vee for coming on board this weekend and thanks to Honda; the motor was a rocket. We’re proud to be powered by Honda. It was a great run right there and just a good rebound for our team after starting in the back. I’m super excited with P3 and we’re moving up in the championship. The entire team worked awfully hard. It was a great showing for Hy-Vee, thanks for coming onboard.  And even better, we raised $24,900 for Turns for Troops with United Rentals this weekend which is awesome.”

  • FAST FACTS: After setting the eighth fastest time in the pre-race practice, he started his 14th race here from 19th place.  He extended his stint the longest and made his first stops from the lead on Lap 63. Due to track position, he went a lap down but was able to get it back by Lap 84 before he made his second stop from the lead on Lap 119 under caution for Carpenter once the pits opened. He returned to the track in fourth place and closed on third place Power before passing him on Lap 129 for third. He cycled back into the lead on Laps 171-174 before his third stop on Lap 175 and had moved into sixth a few laps later when Hunter-Reay brought out a caution. After the pits opened, a few drivers made stops and he restarted in fourth place. Once third place Daly made his stop, Rahal moved into third on Lap 216 and held it until the checkered flag…  He has earned eight top-10 finishes in 12 starts with his best being fourth in 2015. … Has SIX IndyCar Series wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas Super Speedway; 2017 Detroit Race 1, Detroit Race 2) and THREE poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval; 2017 – Detroit Race 1 street) and his highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015… He moved into a tie for fifth place with second-place finisher Will Power with a total of 142 points.
Graham Rahal on the podium at Iowa Speedway (Photo Courtesy of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I had a massive handling problem. The car was very loose. We had to come back to the pits for an extra, emergency, pit stop to reduce the seven turns of front wing, down, which is something unusual. We haven’t looked at the car yet to see if there was something wrong but it was a tough, long night. Congrats to Graham. He did a great job for the 15 team”

  • FAST FACTS: After running the fifth fastest time in the pre-race practice, he started from 20th place but struggled with the handling of his race car for the duration of the race and finished 21st…  In his previous 11 races at Iowa Speedway, Takuma’s best start is pole in 2011 with KV Racing where he also led seven laps and his best finish is third place in 2018… Has FIVE INDYCAR SERIES wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, St. Louis short oval) and NINE poles (2011 Iowa oval, Edmonton street; 2013 Houston Race 1 street; 2014 St. Pete street, Detroit Race 2 street; 2017 Detroit Race 2, Pocono oval; 2019 Barber, Texas oval)… He dropped from 15th to 17th in series point standings with 99 after his streak of top-10 finishes ended.

RLL AT IOWA:  The best finish for the team is third by Rahal today, 2018 by Takuma Sato and 2007 by Scott Sharp who also earned the top start for the team of fourth the same year.  The team has earned three podiums (3rd – Sharp 2007, Sato 2018, Rahal 2020) and 10, top-10 finishes at the track.   

NEXT UP: The series will take next two weeks off before heading to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 300 on August 8-9.

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