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Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report – St. Pete

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Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report

Track:                  Streets of St. Petersburg

Race:                   Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete

Date:                   October 25, 2020

No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 8th

Finish: 1st (18th-career NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory)

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 100/100

Laps Led: 21

Final Points Position:  2nd (-16 pts)

Notes:

  • It was a bittersweet Sunday for Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet team as they won the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season finale at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg but fell short of winning their third championship as they finished second in the series point standings, 16 points behind series champ Scott Dixon.
  • Starting the 100-lap event in the eighth position, the team knew it would be a battle to get to the front of the field, knowing it would take a win and championship rival Scott Dixon finishing 11th or worse for a chance to win their third series title.
  • Newgarden visited pit lane for the first time on lap 29, as he traded his Firestone primary compound tires for alternate compound tires, fuel and a front wing adjustment while running in seventh place.
  • After teammate Scott McLaughlin was involved in an on-track incident with Rinus Veekay to bring out the caution flag, Newgarden restarted in the fourth position on lap 54.  After a series of caution flags for consecutive on-track incidents, Newgarden took the green flag race restart in the third position on lap 78 and seized the race lead with a nice outside move around the two cars ahead of him.
  • Newgarden led the field at the final restart of the race with just 16 laps remaining in the Firestone Grand Prix. Pato O’Ward battled closely with Newgarden over the closing stage of the race as Dixon maintained the lead in the series championship standings by running third while the final laps of the season wound down.
  • The native of Nashville, Tennessee scored his fourth win for the 2020 INDYCAR season and his 18th career victory as he held off O’Ward at the finish line. With the win, Newgarden also became the third consecutive repeat winner at St. Petersburg.  This victory marked the 219th Indy car win for Team Penske.

Quote: “Congrats to Scott (Dixon) and his guys on his crew. It’s big time to win six championship so I’m sure they’re thrilled. They were great competitors. It’s bittersweet. On one hand, I really don’t know what I’d do different this year and I don’t know what I’d ask my guys to do different. They were flawless – fastest in the pits all year long and they were rewarded for it earlier this weekend by Firestone. I’m extremely proud to drive for my team – not just my car but all the Team Penske cars combined, all the engineers, all the mechanics. They’re an incredible crew that puts in a lot of work. We just came up short and that’s all it is. We just weren’t able to get it done but we’ll reset and we’ll hit ‘em harder next year and I promise you we’ll be in the fight. Thank you to Hitachi and Team Chevy. You know Team Chevy was the engine to beat today and I think all year long so big credit to them. We were just a little short on points but we’ll come back harder next year.”

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No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Dallara/Chevrolet – Scott McLaughlin

Start: 21st

Finish: 22nd

Status: Accident

Laps Completed: 46/100

Laps Led: 0

Notes:

  • Three-time Australian Supercars Champion Scott McLaughlin turned some heads as he made his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut on Sunday afternoon on the Streets of St. Petersburg. McLaughlin ran laps times as fast as the race leaders and moved his way up the running order, before contact ended his race just before the halfway point on Sunday.  The 27-year-old native of New Zealand finished the race in 22nd place.
  • As the green flag flew to begin the race, McLaughlin took it easy heading into the first turn to get through his first INDYCAR start cleanly.  With the goal of finishing every lap and taking the checkered flag, McLaughlin used the early stages of the race to get the feel of his No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Chevrolet INDYCAR.
  • Utilizing an alternate pit strategy to gain track position, McLaughlin and the Shell V-Power Nitro+ team came to pit lane for the first time at lap nine. The move allowed McLaughlin to run laps with a clean track ahead of him.  While getting comfortable with the car, McLaughlin made up a few spots on the track. After the first round of green flag pit stops, McLaughlin advanced from 22nd to 18th place in the running order.
  • Following a caution period, McLaughlin tried to advance further on the race restart. Unfortunately, the rear tires locked up and the No. 3 car spun, making contact with another car.  The damage was too extensive to continue the race and McLaughlin was forced to retire. After it was announced Friday that McLaughlin will compete with a full-season entry next season, he will return to St. Pete in March to begin what he hopes will be a dynamic rookie INDYCAR season in 2021.

Quote: “What a day.  The best day of my life, except for my wedding. The Shell V-Power Nitro+ INDYCAR was going really well then I just made a move trying to block Marco (Andretti). Then I felt like I made a half of a rear lock, but I’m not exactly sure. Cold tires caught me out a little bit.  But I had a lot of fun today.  I just can’t thank my guys, Roger (Penske), Tim (Cindric), Shell V-Power and the entire organization for the weekend.  It was so much fun.  I wish the 2021 season was starting tomorrow.  I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of this car.”

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No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 1st (62nd NTT INDYCAR SERIES career pole)

Finish: 24th

Status: Accident

Laps Completed: 35/100

Laps Led: 4

Final Points Position: 5th (-141 pts)

Notes:

  • Will Power started Sunday’s race from the pole position after he earned his 62nd career INDYCAR SERIES pole position on Saturday.
  • Unfortunately, Power made an uncharacteristic mistake in the first half of the Firestone Grand Prix and the resulting contact forced him out of the season finale and he was scored in 24th place in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet.
  • Power held of the competition and maintained an early lead for the opening first four laps on Sunday. However, a gearbox issue when he was downshifting saw Power drop to third place just five laps into the race. 
  • On lap 32, Power visited pit lane and returned the track right in front of teammate and championship contender Josef Newgarden. The two avoided contact as Newgarden continued his march forward and Power got up to speed.  
  • Just three laps later, the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet made contact with the wall after exiting turn 4 and Power came to a halt in the runoff area.  The damage was too extensive to continue and he retired from the event in the 24th position.   

Quote: “I just lost it. The rear bottomed and I just had a moment. Earlier in the race, the Verizon Chevrolet didn’t downshift for some reason. It did it a couple of times. Then I started downshifting really early. I don’t know what happened or if that caused any of our issues. It just didn’t go down gears and that is how (Alexander) Rossi got me, and then (Colton) Herta attacked for position. But I’m just frustrated with me making a mistake and hitting the wall. The car got loose and it’s just so very, very frustrating. I shouldn’t be the one crashing. My bad for putting us out of the race.”

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No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 12th

Finish: 6th

Status:  Running

Laps Completed: 100/100

Laps Led: 0

Points Position:  8th (-198 pts)

Notes:

  • Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet brought home a solid finish on Sunday to conclude a challenging 2020 INDYCAR SERIES season.
  • The Menards Chevrolet started Sunday’s race in 12th place, but Pagenaud slipped back to 16th at the end on lap one. The hot and humid day caused a lack of grip on the track and it affected the handling of the No. 22 Chevy. Despite the hot conditions, Pagenaud radioed to the team early on that he was happy with the performance of the car.
  • While several teams opted for a three-stop strategy on Sunday, Pagenaud and the Menards team were able to make up ground by executive a two-stop strategy.
  • Race strategist Kyle Moyer called Pagenaud to pit lane for his final stop of the race on lap 66. Fortunately, the caution flag flew just a couple of laps later which allowed Pagenaud to gain track position while also benefitting from running on new Firestone alternate tires.
  • A number of caution flags, and attrition from several other competitors exiting the race, shuffled the field and positions multiple times in the second half of the Firestone Grand Prix. Running consistent laps, Pagenaud advanced to eighth place with less than 20 laps to go.  The Frenchman ran hard to the finish and he gained two more positions to finish his 2020 season in the sixth position.

Quote: “That was a good finish for the Menards Chevrolet.  It was survival of the fittest out there today.  At one point, I said on the radio that there could be many, many more cautions and there was. We just couldn’t get in a race rhythm. But we were able take advantage of all those other people’s mistakes and put ourselves in position to have a good finish.  All weekend, the car was really good – I think it was better than even sixth where we finished.  But I’m pretty excited to build upon this for next year. All-in-all, good weekend.  It was also good to see the fans back at the track.  We finished St. Pete, just a few months after the fact.”

TEAM PENSKE WILL NOT RETURN TO SUPERCARS COMPETITION IN 2021

Three-Time Supercars Champion Scott McLaughlin to Race Full Season in Team’s INDYCAR Program

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (October 23, 2020) – Team Penskeannounced today thatit will not return to compete in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for the 2021 season. The team’s exit concludes an incredibly successful six-year run in Supercars competition. Since joining forces with Dick Johnson Racing to form DJR Team Penske (DJRTP) in 2015, the team has earned 56 wins, 62 poles and six championships, including three-consecutive driver’s titles with Scott McLaughlin. Fabian Coulthard produced the team’s first pole position in 2016 and its first race win in 2017. 

Team Penske will assist team co-owners Dick Johnson and Ryan Story with the transition as they prepare for the 2021 Supercars season. The team is expected to announce its plans for next season, including a 2021 driver lineup, in the near future.

Team Penske also announced that McLaughlin will transition from Supercars racing to begin the next phase of his career. McLaughlin will race for Team Penske to complete the team’s four-car, full-season lineup in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The 27-year-old McLaughlin will make his INDYCAR SERIES debut this weekend at the 2020 season finale on the Streets of St. Petersburg.

“We have enjoyed an incredible six seasons competing in the Supercars series with DJR Team Penske,” said Roger Penske. “Partnering with Dick Johnson and Ryan Story to form DJR Team Penske was an incredible experience that produced success on the track and in the boardroom. We have built so many lasting partnerships and friendships, and competing in Supercars has certainly helped strengthen our brand and our business in Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, with the challenges we have faced in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to readjust our business initiatives for 2021 and beyond. We want to thank Dick Johnson, Ryan Story, Fabian Coulthard and all of our team members for their hard work and dedication as we reestablished a championship organization together over the last six years. I know that Dick, Ryan and the team will continue to build on that success moving forward.”

DJR Team Penske quickly became one of the top teams competing in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. With McLaughlin and Coulthard racing their Shell V-Power Fords, DJRTP won the prestigious Supercars team title in 2017, just three years after entering the series. McLaughlin captured his first driver’s championship in 2018 and he established a new single-season record with 18 wins on his way repeating as champion in 2019. McLaughlin and co-driver Alex Premat also produced a victory in the legendary Bathurst 1000 endurance race in 2019. This past season, DJRTP secured its third team title with 14 combined victories between Coulthard and McLaughlin, who won his third-consecutive driver’s championship.

“I want to thank Roger and the entire Penske organization for all they’ve done for our team over the last six years,” said Johnson. “While we hate to see them go, we understand the tough business decisions that have to be made. We’ve worked together over the last six years to build a team that has become the benchmark for performance both on and off the track. With the assistance of Roger and Team Penske we will be in position to build on that success. With the full support of Ford Australia, Ford Performance, Shell V-Power and all of our great partners, our team will continue to be a leader in Supercars racing.”

Considered one of the greatest Supercars drivers in series history, McLaughlin ranks fourth on the all-time wins list with 56 career victories and second on the all-time list with 76 career poles in just eight full seasons of racing. After four seasons competing for Team Penske, McLaughlin already ranks third on the organization’s all-time wins list, trailing only Brad Keselowski and Mark Donohue. He will get the opportunity to add to that total next season in the INDYCAR SERIES racing alongside three former series champions in Josef Newgarden (2017 & 2019), Will Power (2014) and Simon Pagenaud (2016) to form a powerful four-car program for Team Penske.

“I’m so excited for the opportunity to take the next step in my career and compete against some of the best drivers in the world in the INDYCAR SERIES,” said McLaughlin. “The last four years racing for DJR Team Penske has been amazing. I want to thank every single person on the team, and everyone that has helped me reach this point in my career. I wouldn’t be in position to continue to chase my dream without the hard work of so many people along the way. I’m looking forward to the challenge of joining one of the most iconic motorsports programs of all time – Team Penske’s INDYCAR team. I wish the 2021 season would begin tomorrow.”

The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season is set to begin at St. Petersburg on March 7.

About Team Penske
Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 580 major race wins, over 640 pole positions and 38 Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. Over the course of its 54-year history, the team has also earned 18 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win, overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring along with a win in Australia’s legendary Bathurst 1000 race. Team Penske currently competes in the IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team also raced in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske. For more information about Team Penske, please visit www.teampenske.com.

Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES INDYCAR Harvest GP – Race 2

Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report

Track:                  Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course

Race:                   INDYCARHarvest Grand Prix – Race 2

Date:                   October 3, 2020

No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 9th

Finish: 4th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 75/75

Laps Led: 0

Points Position:  2nd (-32 pts)

Notes:

  • It was a strong day for Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet team as they slightly closed the difference in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship points battle with leader Scott Dixon, finding themselves just 32 points behind after a fourth-place finish at the INDYCAR Harvest GP Race 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
  • Starting towards the middle of the pack in the ninth position, Newgarden attempted to move through the field quickly as he made his way into the fifth position by lap 21.
  • After a pit stop on lap 26 for fuel, Firestone primary compound tires and a front wing adjustment, Newgarden continued to maintain the fifth position until pitting for the second and final time on lap 50, taking Firestone alternate compound tires and fuel hoping to find just a bit more speed to advance on track.
  • Just a few laps later Newgarden, found himself in his race-high fourth position on lap 56, attempting to close a 13.2 second gap behind leader and teammate Will Power, Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi.
  • Unable to pass his competition, Newgarden settled for fourth the position as the checkered flag waved.
  • This was his 11th top-10 finish, and 8th top five for the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
  • With just 32 points between himself and Scott Dixon in the points race, Newgarden and the Hitachi Chevrolet team will race down to the wire at St. Petersburg, Fla. for the final race of the season to determine the champion on Sunday, October 25.

Quote: “We were a little shy of where we needed to be. If we had a phenomenal day like we had yesterday, we would be in really good shape. We were just mediocre today. I think we had a car to compete with Will and Herta and Rossi up there but we just didn’t start up there high enough. With the start, I got kind of buried on the inside and I tried to get as much as I could on the outside but then Santino (Ferrucci) came in running tight – but he was fine. It just got tight and I got pushed back a little too far. The key for us was being up higher earlier today. I just had to work for a lot just like Scott did. If we had a cleaner qualifying run, I think we really would have had a better day. I’m really thankful to Team Chevy. There were two wins for Team Chevy here this weekend. They did a phenomenal job, and obviously having Hitachi support is always big for us. Look, we’re in it with a shot. We’re going to go to St. Pete and try and win this championship. I just wish we were in a little closer position.”

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No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 1st (61st NTT INDYCAR SERIES career pole)

Finish: 1st (39th NTT INDYCAR SERIES career victory)

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 75/75

Laps Led: 75

Points Position: 4th (-114 pts)

Notes:

  • In an almost unbelievable display of skill, Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet not only won the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Harvest GP Race 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – they led every one of the 75 laps in the event.
  • After beginning his morning qualifying for the Saturday afternoon race, Power claimed his 61st NTT INDYCAR SERIES career pole – putting him just six poles away from tying Mario Andretti’s record for the most career poles by a single INDYCAR driver.
  • With the team electing to begin the event on Firestone alternate compound tires, Power held off until lap 26 to make his first pit stop, in which he switched to primary compound tires and took fuel. He remained in the lead as he exited the pits and returned to the track.
  • He came back to the pits for his second and final pit stop on lap 52 for Firestone alternate compound tires, fuel and an aeroscreen tear off to find more speed as Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi continued to close the gap behind the leader.
  • With just nine laps remaining, it seemed Herta saved his remaining push-to-pass time to try and make a pass on Power as the gap between the two leaders closed to just 0.636 seconds.
  • However, Power maintained his lead and won the race – his 39th NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory – tying him with Al Unser Sr. for fifth on the all-time INDYCAR wins list.
  • This was Power’s second victory this season after also winning at the first race of a doubleheader weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in September.
  • Power’s victory was Team Penske’s 218th Indy car victory and the team’s 24th win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This was also their seventh team victory on the road course.

Quote: “The tires had gone away and it was a tough battle and I had to work very hard to keep him behind. I am just so happy to have Verizon and Chevy in Victory Lane again. We had two Hondas trying to attack us there but my Chevy had very good power and drive-ability, so just over the moon to get another win, especially at this place.”

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No. 22 DXC Technology Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 19th

Finish: 10th

Status:  Running

Laps Completed: 75/75

Laps Led: 0

Points Position:  8th (-191 pts)

Notes:

  • Starting further back in the field in 19th, Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 DXC Technology Dallara/Chevrolet team powered through with determination to finish the race in the top-10 in the Sunday’s second race of the Harvest GP doubleheader weekend on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
  • Being the only Team Penske Chevrolet who started the race on Firestone primary compound tires, the team elected to change to alternate compound tires by lap 26 while also taking fuel and a front wing adjustment.
  • Moving through the field and carefully using his push-to-pass time, Pagenaud was able to move into the 10th position for the first time by lap 39.
  • In hopes of advancing his track position, team strategist Kyle Moyer called the Frenchman back to the pits on lap 50 for one final stop, taking Firestone alternate compound tires, fuel and a front wing adjustment.
  • His efforts to further his track position were not rewarded as he ended the 75-lap event in 10th-place. This was his sixth top-10 finish of the 2020 season.
  • Pagenaud will join the rest of the field for the final race of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season at St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, October 25.

Quote: “It was a big weekend for Team Penske. Will did a great job today and congratulations to him for the win. We worked hard today for a top-10 finish with the DXC Technology Chevrolet and it was a good way for us to end the weekend. With another good finish today by Josef, Team Penske has a chance to race for the championship at St. Pete so we’re all looking forward to the finale and a good result there.”

NTT INDYCAR SERIES INDYCAR Harvest GP – Race 1

Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report

Track:                  Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course

Race:                   INDYCARHarvest Grand Prix – Race 1

Date:                   October 2, 2020

No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 2nd

Finish: 1st (17th NTT INDYCAR SERIES career victory)

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 85/85

Laps Led:  34

Points Position:  2nd (-40 pts)

Notes:

  • With a chance at a third NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship hanging in the balance with only a few races remaining in the season, Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet team delivered an impressive performance in bringing home a well-timed victory in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES INDYCAR Harvest GP Race 1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
  • Starting the 85-lap event in the second position on alternate compound Firestone tires, Newgarden quickly lost one spot to Colton Herta in the first few laps of the race but regained his position by lap 13. The battle with Herta would develop into a major storyline for the race as they continued to battle throughout the event.
  • After Rinus VeeKay gained the lead before pitting on lap 18, Newgarden took over the lead for the first time during the late afternoon event.
  • Newgarden’s first pit stop was something his competitors kept their eye on as he continued to show impressive speed by lap 22 when he pitted for primary compound Firestone tires in an effort to continue to run consistently at the front of the field.
  • Jostling back and forth with Colton Herta for the lead on lap 54, Newgarden found himself only 1.5 seconds behind the leader after having a 4 second gap just laps before. On lap 57, the Tennessean maintained 50 seconds remaining for push-to-pass with Herta only having 11 seconds remaining.
  • In a twist of fate, Colton Herta locked up his tires and missed the corner into turn 1 allowing Newgarden to take the lead on lap 59.
  • During his final pit stop on lap 62, the No. 1 Hitachi Chevrolet team provided Newgarden with fresh primary compound tires and fuel allowing him to work his way back into the lead quickly by lap 67 where he would remain until the checkered flag waved.
  • This was Team Penske’s 217th Indy car victory and their 23rd win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in total with now six of those victories being on the road course. This also was Newgarden’s first NTT INDYCAR SERIES career victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • Entering today’s race 72 points behind NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship points leader Scott Dixon, his victory allowed him to inch closer to closing the gap now just 40 points behind headed into tomorrow’s second race of a doubleheader weekend in Indianapolis.

Quote: “I don’t know that I can think about the race because I’m just so excited to be up here on the top of the podium. I wish I could’ve been up here in August (Indianapolis 500) for ‘The Captain.’ He’s done such an amazing job with this facility. To see people back here, socially distancing in the stands and getting to watch a race I’m sure makes him happy. I’m happy to be standing up here today representing him and everyone at Team Penske, along with everyone at INDYCAR and IMS. Thank you to everyone that came out here in cold conditions. We had a rocket ship! I knew we did yesterday in qualifying. I was surprised at how quick the Hitachi Chevy was, and it was a great fight today. It was about strategy, close combat, everything you want in an INDYCAR race. I felt like Team Chevy did an amazing job and having Hitachi onboard has been good luck for us this year. I’m just pumped to be up here. I’ve always wanted to get up here during the 500, but this one is just as cool. If we had a few races back where we caught bad yellows we would really be in this championship fight. It’s almost a shame to see the deficit we had at times in the points because this team is unbelievable. They’ve been the quickest on pit lane all year. Everyone has done a great job and they deserve to be in this championship fight. We still have a bit of a hill to climb, but we made it smaller today. I said we needed to have three perfect races to finish. One of them is down and there are two to go.”

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No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 4th

Finish: 6th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 85/85

Laps Led: 0

Points Position: 5th (-144 pts)

Notes:

  • Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet team had a solid day at the NTT INDYCAR SERIES INDYCAR Harvest GP Race 1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) road course where they started the day in the fourth position and settled for a sixth-place finish.
  • In the beginning of the 85-lap event, Power was able to maintain a position within the front of the field near where he started. He was able to take over the second position on lap 18 as teammate Josef Newgarden took the lead for the first time during the race.
  • On lap 22 Power pitted for the first time with his Verizon Chevrolet team supplying him with primary compound Firestone tires and fuel. Unfortunately, the right front tire changer had an issue replacing the tire, slowing down the pit stop just slightly.
  • Power visited the pits for a final time on lap 62 where he took fresh primary compound Firestone tires, fuel and a wing adjustment in hopes of being able to find speed and advance track position.
  • However, with just 10 laps remaining Power would find himself in the sixth position where he would remain for the end of the race.
  • Having too few points to be able to compete for the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship, Power and his team are focused solely on race wins and will be looking to score their series-leading fourth win on the IMS road course in tomorrow’s second race of the Harvest GP doubleheader.

Quote: “Man, that was a tough race. We had some great pace at different points but we just didn’t have enough to fight for the win at the end. Congrats to Josef. That was a big win for the team and big for the championship. I think we learned a lot on the Verizon Chevy that we can apply in tomorrow race and hopefully fight for the win.”

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No. 22 DXC Technology Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 22nd

Finish: 16th

Status:  Running

Laps Completed: 84/85

Laps Led: 0

Points Position:  8th (-187 pts)

Notes:

  • It was an unfortunate day for Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 DXC Technology Dallara/Chevrolet as bad luck plagued the team which settled for a 16th-place finish in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES INDYCAR Harvest GP Race 1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
  • The team’s misfortune began during qualifying on Thursday when, after beginning the session on primary compound Firestone tires and planning to switch to alternate compound tires for a faster lap, a red flag came out for Takuma Sato that ended the session. Pagenaud would qualify in the 22nd position.
  • Knowing the team would have to battle from the back of the field, a confident Simon Pagenaud and DXC Technology Chevrolet team approached the event like the race they won in Iowa just a few months prior where they started from the last position before finishing in victory lane.
  • In hopes of using a different strategy than the rest of the field, team strategist Kyle Moyer called Pagenaud to the pits on lap 9 for fresh alternate compound Firestone tires, fuel and a front wing adjustment in hopes of improving downforce and finding speed to advance quickly through the field. The plan seemed to work as Pagenaud found himself running the 14th position just 10 laps later on lap 19.
  • Running in 11th, Pagenaud returned to the pits on lap 33 for fuel, tires and a front wing adjustment.
  • By lap 65, Pagenaud found himself running 16th and would remain in that position for the rest of the 85-lap event.

Quote: “Congratulations to Josef on the win today. It was a great race out there today. We still have some work to do on the DXC Technology Chevrolet for tomorrow’s race but we will get there. While things didn’t go our way today, it’s a great result for the team and good for the championship. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race and hopefully we can end the weekend with another win for Team Penske.”

Scott McLaughlin to make Team Penske INDYCAR debut at St. Pete

SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN TO MAKE TEAM PENSKE INDYCAR DEBUT AT ST. PETE 

Supercars Championship Leader Ready for First Open-Wheel Race Following 2020 COVID-19 Delays

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (September 17, 2020) – Team Penske announced today that Scott McLaughlin, the current Virgin Australia Supercars Championship points leader, is scheduled to make his long-awaited NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut in the series’ 2020 season finale on the Streets of St. Petersburg on Sunday, October 25.  

The two-time and defending Supercars Champion for DJR Team Penske (DJRTP) was set to compete in his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race earlier this year on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course before the COVID-19 global pandemic forced several delays and postponements on racing schedules, along with international travel restrictions. Before the pandemic shutdown, McLaughlin participated in the INDYCAR SERIES preseason open test at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, where he ran consistently well and posted the third-fastest time of the test session. The 27-year-old native of New Zealand also competed in separate tests at the Sebring International Raceway road course and the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval. 

Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin is interviewed for the IndyCar.com live stream of testing at Circuit of The Americas (Photo by Michael Levitt – © Lumen Digital Agency)

“This is something I haven’t stopped thinking about, but I wanted to ensure my focus was on winning our third-straight Supercars championship for DJR Team Penske and all our partners in Australia,” said McLaughlin. “We are still laser-focused on that and have three more rounds to get it done, but I’m equally as excited to finally get the chance and make my INDYCAR debut. I’ve been doing everything I can to keep up with the series this year, from watching as many races as I can on TV to even talking to the drivers and some of the engineers back at the Team Penske shop. I never knew if I would be able to get behind the wheel of one of these cars this year due to all the COVID-19 restrictions, but I wanted to be ready if it became an opportunity.”

McLaughlin currently leads the Supercars point standings with just three rounds of competition remaining on the 2020 schedule. McLaughlin has produced a series-best 10 wins and 10 poles and holds a 143-point lead over Jamie Whincup entering this weekend’s race at The Bend. Over the course of his Supercars career, McLaughlin has won an impressive 53 races and 71 poles, while helping DJRTP claim team championships in 2017 and 2019 and winning the driver’s title in each of the last two seasons. He also earned his first win in the legendary Bathurst 1000 race in 2019 with co-driver Alex Premat. Though he is in just his fourth season competing for Team Penske, McLaughlin already ranks third on the organization’s all-time wins list, trailing only Brad Keselowski and Mark Donohue.

Earlier this year, McLaughlin made his “virtual” INDYCAR debut, competing in the series’ iRacing Challenge and winning two races among the full field of current NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers that were competing against each other while traditional racing was put on hold.

“Our plan has always been for Scott to run a race in the INDYCAR SERIES this season, but we never wanted to take the focus away from the main goal, which is winning another Supercars Championship,” said Team Penske President Tim Cindric. “COVID-19 certainly altered those plans early on, but with the way the schedules have lined up at the end of this season, St. Pete became an available option and we remain committed to getting him some INDYCAR seat time. We know Scott is ready for this challenge and this should add even more excitement to the 2020 season finale in St. Petersburg.”

McLaughlin will pilot the No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Dallara/Chevrolet at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was postponed from its original date in March and will now take place on Sunday, October 25. The race on the 1.8-mile street circuit will be seen live at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, with radio coverage on the Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network and SIRIUS XM.

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.”

Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report – Road America – Race 2

Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report

Track:                  Road America

Race:                   REV Group Grand Prix – Race 2

Date:                   July 12, 2020

No. 1 PPG Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 14th

Finish: 9th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 55/55

Laps Led: 0

Points Position: 5th (-67)

Notes:

  • After running up front on yesterday, Sunday ended up being a challenging day for Josef Newgarden and the No.1  PPG Dallara/Chevrolet. The Tennessee-native qualified in the 14th position and finished ninth to complete Race 2 of the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.
  • On the first lap of the 55-lap event, Newgarden was able to move up nine spots prior to the caution flag waving when teammate Will Power made contact with both Graham Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
  • As the laps wore on, Newgarden pitted on lap 12 for fuel and tires and, by lap 25, had moved up to a race-high seventh position as the pit cycle played out.
  • He eventually slipped back in in traffic, forcing the team to take a more fuel strategy/early pit stop strategy for the remainder of the race.
  • There were no late cautions to try and make up positions with a closed-up field like during Saturday’s race, and Newgarden would have to settle for ninth-place as the checkered flag waved.
  • Newgarden dropped to fifth in NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship point standings.

Quote: “Just a tough day for our PPG Chevrolet.  Not the kind of day we wanted, especially when you see someone like (Scott) Dixon not have a very stellar day either.  We just didn’t have the speed we were hoping to have.  I thought we made some good changes overnight, but the race didn’t play out in our favor today.  Early on, we knew we were going to be fighting some aero issues being back in the pack, so we switched to more of a fuel strategy/track position race.  It could have played out a few different ways, but it just wasn’t meant to be today. All-in-all, we had some speed in our Chevrolet this weekend and we showed that with the pole and leading a bunch of laps yesterday.  We just couldn’t put everything together.  We will move on and focus our efforts on Iowa now.”

No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 8th

Finish: 11th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 55/55

Laps Led: 4

Points Position: 7th (-81)

Notes:

  • A frustration-marred race for Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet led to an 11th-place finish in Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.
  • As the green flew, Power attempted to move through the field quickly from his eighth-place starting spot. However, his efforts on lap one led to contact with Graham Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay after traffic crowded the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet. The incidents resulted in Power going to the back of the field to serve a penalty and restarting 19th when the green flag waved again.
  • Just a few laps later, Power had an issue with understeer, leading to him driving off the track and bringing out the caution flag. After receiving considerable front wing damage, Power pitted on lap six for fuel, tires and a front wing change to correct some of the damage.
  • The team’s efforts helped Power advance to the lead on lap 18 after the pit cycle. Power’s lead came to an end as he pitted on lap 23 for fuel and tires.
  • Going off pit sequence for the remainder for the event,  Power tried to make up as many positions as possible, but would finish the race in the 11th position.
  • His finish led to him maintaining seventh in NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship point standings.

Quote: “Man, just a rough race for us today. I guess in the end, things could have been worse and an 11th place finish is a small victory.  I don’t really agree with the penalty from early in the race.  I felt that was just a racing deal. So we had to come in and change the front wing, then I made a mistake and ran off the track and we had to make another stop for another wing change.  Just not the day we needed for the Verizon Chevrolet.  Got a podium yesterday, but just didn’t have it today.”

No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 22nd

Finish: 13th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 55/55

Laps Led: 0

Points Position: 3rd (63)

Notes:

  • It was a frustrating end to the weekend for Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet team, as they finished the finale of the doubleheader race weekend in the 13th position.
  • After a couple of on-track incidents occurred in the opening lap, Pagenaud was able to take advantage and move up to 14th before the field restarted on lap four.
  • After asking for a change to his front wing on lap 10, Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menard team pitted for fuel, tires and an adjustment to improve his ability to turn the car.
  • While continuing to run middle pack, Pagenaud once again pitted for some changes in an effort to gain some momentum and increase his track position. However, by lap 28, he radioed to team strategist Kyle Moyer saying the car improved but there was a shift of balance he wanted to look at again later in the 55-lap event.
  • Despite running laps as quick as the leaders late in the race, Pagenaud was never able to make up his track position and settled for the 13th position.
  • Pagenaud fell to third in NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship point standings heading into next weekend’s doubleheader at Iowa Speedway.

Quote: “I’m ready to get to Iowa and get the Menards Chevrolet back up front.  This was not our best weekend, but I have to give it to my guys, they never gave up and worked really hard all weekend long.  Both days, we tried a lot of different strategies to try and gain back the track position that we needed from qualifying further back in the field. Yesterday, we should have had a top-10 and today we gave it all we had.  Just had to play the cards we were dealt and try and make it up through pit strategy and fuel savings. At times, the car was a handful and at times we were as fast as the leaders. Time to shift our focus to Iowa Speedway.  There are a lot of points we can make up with another doubleheader weekend.”

Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report

Track:                  Road America

Race:                   REV Group Grand Prix – Race 1

Date:                   July 11, 2020

No. 1 PPG Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 1st– (10th-career pole, 2nd of 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season)

Finish: 14th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 55/55

Laps Led: 25

Points Position: 4th (-71)

Notes:

  • Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 PPG Dallara/Chevrolet began the NTT INDYCAR SERIES REV Group Grand Prix – Race 1 at Road America on the pole and led laps early, but problems on pit road and an extra pit stop near the end of the race forced the team to a 14th-place finish on Saturday.
  • Despite jumping out to an early lead, Newgarden discussed tire degradation with team strategist Tim Cindric and decided to pit on lap 14 for fuel, tires and a front wing adjustment.
  • Continuing to find himself with a nearly 10-second lead on the field, Newgarden pitted again on lap 27 but stalled the car while exiting.  A delay while trying to restart cost the PPG Chevrolet quite a bit of track position, falling back to 13th
  • Despite the lost track position, Newgarden was able to race his way back to the top-10 and then needed to survive a number of late-race restarts. However, during one of those restarts, he locked up the front tires diving into turn one, causing a flat spotted tire.  With 12 laps to go, Newgarden was forced to make an unscheduled stop and lost more track position.
  • He made up a couple of positions at the end, but could manage no more than a 14th-place finish at the end.

Quote: “That was a tough one. We had such a strong PPG Chevy and the guys did such a great job putting together such a fast car. We started on the pole and at the beginning of the race, we were just trying to hold track position. I think at one point, we had about a eight second lead. Unfortunately, we had a problem in the pits and stalled the car.  It took us a while to get it restarted and that lost all the gap we had built and from there and we were fighting from behind.  We had gotten back into the top 10 and I just locked up the tires going into turn one on one of those late restarts. So our day went from a great to pretty bad pretty quickly. But hey, that’s racing – we just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities today.  I’m thankful we have another shot tomorrow, since I really love racing at this place. We’re going to take a look at a few things tonight to make sure we have a solid plan going into tomorrow’s qualifying session with the PPG Chevrolet.  I’m confident our guys will put together another fast car tomorrow.”

No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 5th

Finish: 2nd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 55/55

Laps Led: 10

Points Position: 7th (-83)

Notes:

  • It was an up-and-down day for Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet team in Race 1 of the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America, which resulted in a season-best second-place finish.
  • After starting fifth, Power struggled with grip and handling early in the race and fell all the way back to 10th.  Gearing issues kept the Verizon Chevrolet from achieving maximum power on the 14-turn Wisconsin road course.  The team’s first pit stop occurred on lap 15 for just fuel and tires.  A strong run, coupled with some issues for other drivers, allowed them to move from 10th to third during the pit cycle.
  • Power returned to the pits again on lap 27 for fuel and tires.  Once again, a strong pit cycle saw Power and the Verizon Chevrolet take over the top spot.
  • Unfortunately, a late-race caution before the field’s final pit stops brought all the lead-lap cars into pit road at the same time.  Coming in from the lead, a slow stop allowed eventual race winner Scott Dixon to get out ahead of Power and relegated the Verizon Chevrolet back to second. 
  • Over several late-race restarts, Power wasn’t able to make a charge on Dixon and had to settle for the runner-up position.  Power heads into Race 2 of the doubleheader weekend seventh in NTT INDYCAR SERIES points – up eight spots over the previous race.

Quote: “Unfortunately we had to pit under yellow and that lost us the lead in the pits.  We just had a slow pit stop.  And then we had the wrong gears in the car, so it kind of hurt those restarts. Other than that, it was a good day. We moved up and got up to second. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’ll sit there as a team and will figure out how to execute a bit better. Especially frustrating when we just let wins like that go. I think we had a good Verizon Chevrolet and I don’t think Dixon would have gotten by us if we came out of the pit ahead of him. It wasn’t the end of the day but we still could have won. We’ll try again tomorrow.”

No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 17th

Finish: 12th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 55/55

Laps Led: 0

Points Position: 2nd (-62)

Notes:

  • Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet had a character building day at Road America in the first race of the REV Group Grand Prix, finishing in the 12th position.
  • The day got off to a rough start for the No. 22 team when Pagenaud qualified 17th.  However, early speed and other drivers’ mistakes for the Frenchman up to 13th early.  However, Pagenaud radioed to his team that he was losing grip with the front tires and they needed to attempt to correct it with a major front wing adjustment on lap 14.
  • Pagenaud returned to the pits for fuel and tires on lap 27, as he worked to move through the field and gain track position.  He eventually found himself inside the top-10.
  • Running in the latter half of the top-10 for much of the second-half of the event, Pagenaud jockeyed for positions during several late-race restarts.  With less than 10 to go, contact between he and Pato O’Ward forced the Menards Chevrolet off-track and back to the 12th position, where he would ultimately finish.    
  • Pagenaud will race again with the series tomorrow for the second race of the doubleheader weekend and he continues to sit in the second position in NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship point standings.

Quote: “It was a really disappointing day. The Menards Chevy had a few struggles in qualifying, but we were able to get ourselves in a decent spot a few times during the race with some speed on the track and taking advantage of some of the other drivers’ problems. I think we were going to have a top-10 finish and limit the points we might have lost, then we got pushed off the track late in the race.  That costs us some spots and points, which is frustrating with Dixon winning again.  But it’s alright – we learned a lot today and we’re still second in points, so that’s great. There is still a lot of season left to go and we’ve got another shot at this tomorrow.  I have full confidence we will have the Menards Chevrolet ready to go tomorrow.”

Team Penske INDYCAR Series Race Report – Indianapolis GP

Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course

Race: GMR Grand Prix

Date: July 4, 2020

No. 1 XPEL Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 6th

Finish: 7th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 80/80

Laps Led: 4

Points Position: 3rd (-40 pts)

Notes:

Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 XPEL Dallara/Chevrolet had a hard-fought day, leading laps and looking to capitalize on some solid race strategy, but ultimately settled for seventh in the 80-lap event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The Tennessean started sixth and ran fifth early, then pitted for the first time on lap 15 for alternate tires and fuel in hopes of moving up through the field.
The strategy worked, and Newgarden eventually found himself second behind teammate Will Power as the leaders cycled through pit stops.
Shortly before pitting for fuel and alternate tires after complaining of tire fall off for most of the race, Newgarden was caught as the caution flag waved causing him to drop further on the leaderboard. As several others had already pitted before the caution, Newgarden was forced to come to pit road during the yellow, allowing those who pitted to jump him on the track.
He continued to run his race and his pace, and by lap 58, Newgarden took hold of the lead during more green-flag stops as the final laps wound down.
However, as he tried to battle his way back to the front, he was caught in traffic, leading to a seventh-place finish.

Quote: “It was a tough day – really disappointing. We got hosed today by the caution, both Will [Power] and myself. I felt like we had a pretty strong chance of being able to finish 1-2 and it’s a shame to miss it by just a little bit. We almost pitted right before it came out but went one lap longer. I guess it was a good day in reality. We got up to the front there with Will running 1-2 and then wound up in the back with the yellow. From there we just tried to claw back our way as much as we could from 15th or 16th. It was just a tough pill to swallow in the middle there. Our XPEL Team Chevy car was good. I felt really proud of us this weekend and thought we made nice little baby steps every session and we seemed to be getting better. I thought we were relatively decent compared to Will who seemed to be the best this weekend. It was awesome to have XPEL on the car this weekend and at the end of the day it was just a shame we weren’t able to convert and finish the race 1-2.”

No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 1st – (58th career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole)

Finish: 20th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 80/80

Laps Led: 28

Points Position: 15th (-73 pts)

Notes:

It was a frustrating day for Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet, finishing 20th after starting the day on the pole and leading more laps than any other driver in the 80-lap road course GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Power, who has won three races from the pole on the Indianapolis road course, seemed to have the stars align for a fourth victory starting from the pole – his 58th career pole.
Finding speed early on, it seemed that Power was unstoppable as great pit stops early on kept Power and teammate Josef Newgarden running 1-2 at the front of the field.
However, an untimely caution just prior to his second stop put him back in the field and forced him to race back to the front from the 15th position.
Then, on the team’s final stop, Power stalled the car in an effort to avoid a pit gun in front of him.
Power was unable to recover and was stuck in the back of the field finishing the race in the 20th position.

Quote: “We had a great Verizon Chevy and definitely had the speed that we showed in qualifying. Just got caught out by a unfortunate caution that really didn’t help. After that, we had a problem in the pits that cost us a lot of time and then there was no chance to recover. Chevrolet did a really great job with the power and we had awesome car, but we just had a tough day. This Verizon team is fast, we just need to put a full race together.”

No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 20th

Finish: 3rd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 80/80

Laps Led: 0

Points Position: 2nd (-29 pts)

Notes:

What began as a tough day for Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet turned into a day showcasing the team’s tenacity, as they began the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in the 20th position, but ended the day on the podium with a third-place result.
Starting so far back in the field, Pagenaud and strategist Kyle Moyer elected to run a different race strategy then a majority of the leaders to get the three-time race winner with clean track ahead of him.
The team pitted for alternate tires, a front wing adjustment and fuel on lap 9 which proved fruitful as the team made major moves on-track finding themselves in 13th position.
Pitting for new alternate tires on fuel on lap 54, the well-timed pit stopped and a subsequent caution before others had pitted helped Pagenaud climb into the top-seven.
The Menards Chevrolet continued to prove strong during the race’s final segment, and Pagenaud drop all the way to third place and remained there as the checkered flag waved.
Pagenaud maintains the second position in 2020 INDYCAR Series point standings after two races.

Quote: “Yesterday was not what we wanted with qualifying. We unloaded well but went the wrong direction with this basically new car. But it was a negative that became a positive. I think it sets us up for the season really early on knowing what we need for the car. We weren’t totally happy when we started the race and adjusted the Menards Chevy and got better and better. We were also able to keep the tires underneath us really well. We made a lot of ground under pit sequences by really, really pushing really hard when everybody pitted and we gained a lot of ground that way. The yellow helped us a bit because we pitted about five laps before so that did help us. In the end we had good pace. It was really hard to move the car so thanks to all the extra training I put in since it was a really physical race. I also want to say a big thanks to Chevy because that was a lot of horsepower in the straightaway and helped me pass all of those people. Just a big thanks to them.”

Team Penske eSports INDYCAR iRacing Challenge Race Report

Track:                  Virtual Watkins Glen International

Race:                   American Red Cross Grand Prix

Date:                   March 28, 2020

No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 9th

Finish: 7th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 45/45

Notes:

  • Josef Newgarden started the American Red Cross Grand Prix from virtual Watkins Glen International from the ninth position as drivers qualified just prior to the race.
  • Unfortunately, the two-time INDYCAR Champion’s race turned south when he was involved in a multi-car incident on lap 6, which also included teammates Scott McLaughlin and Simon Pagenaud.
  • After visiting the paddock for repairs, Newgarden made a strong drive back through the field to score a seventh-place finish, the last car on the lead lap.
  • The next INDYCAR iRacing Challenge event will take place at virtual Barber Motorsports Park on April 4.

Quote: “Seeing as how I was up so late last night getting my rig ready, I’m pretty happy with a seventh-place finish. It’s amazing the quality of racing you can do with the iRacing platform and I’m psyched about the rest of the races. We obviously had a strong Hitachi Chevy today to battle back after the early incident. Thank you to everyone that tuned in. It was such a neat event.”

No. 2 Shell V-Power Dallara/Chevrolet – Scott McLaughlin

Start: 7th

Finish: 4th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 45/45

Notes:

  • Scott McLaughlin made his first INDYCAR start – albeit virtually – in Saturday’s American Red Cross Grand Prix. He entered the event as the winningest iRacing driver in the field with 178 career wins.
  • After starting from the seventh position, the New Zealander was involved in a multi-car incident on lap 6 that resulted in only minor damage to his Shell V-Power Dallara/Chevrolet.
  • McLaughlin chose to short-fill his Chevy on his first pit stop of the day to gain valuable track position in a race that went caution free, which ultimately helped lead him to a fourth-place finish.
  • The reigning Australian Supercars Champion will compete in the next INDYCAR iRacing Challenge event at virtual Barber Motorsports Park on April 4.

Quote:  “A fourth-place finish with the Shell V-Power Dallara was not too bad for us today. Had a bit of an incident at the start with Oliver Askew, but it was just a racing incident and we had a good battle at the end. It was good fun today and a joy to be a part of it. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.”

No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 3rd

Finish: 3rd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 45/45

Notes:

  • Will Power drove a consistent race in Saturday’s American Red Cross Grand Prix at the virtual Watkins Glen International that led to a third-place finish.
  • A former winner in INDYCAR competition at Watkins Glen, Power qualified his No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet in the third position before falling back to the fifth spot early in the event.
  • A long-pit strategy put Power into the lead just before his first pit stop of the day, and the strategy also helped him gain two overall positions following the cycle of stops.
  • Over the second half of the race Power continued his rock-solid day but was not able to advance past his third place running position. He was able to secure a podium finish in the first virtual race of the season.

Quote: “A good start to the INDYCAR season. Online, that is. I’m happy with a solid, third-place finish in the Verizon Chevy. It was really cool to see everyone come together to put this race on. I wish I could have been the first winner, but I hope the fans enjoyed it.”

No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 8th

Finish: 6th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 45/45

Notes:

  • Simon Pagenaud qualified his No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet in the eighth position for Saturday’s American Red Cross Grand Prix, and the iRacing veteran looked to be a contender as the race began.
  • However, on the sixth lap of the race, Pagenaud was involved in a multi-car incident that left his Chevy with enough damage that he was forced to the pit for repairs.
  • Like his teammate, Josef Newgarden, Pagenaud began to maneuver his way back through the field with precision and nearly made it back to the top five before settling for a sixth-place finish on the day.

Quote: “Thank you to all the fans that tuned into today’s INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. It was so cool to see so many stakeholders in our series come together to give the fans something during this time. I think these races are going to get even better as we go. Our Menards Chevy was pretty strong today, but we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We still battled back for a strong finish and I can’t wait to get to Barber next week.”

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