CHEVROLET RACING IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
GMR GRAND PRIX
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE
TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE RECAP
MAY 14, 2022
Power Grabs Points Lead After Crazy Day at Indianapolis
Team Penske driver leads Team Chevy with third at GMR Grand Prix
INDIANAPOLIS (May 14, 2022) – Team Penske’s Will Power may not have turned his Friday pole position into a victory, but his third-place finish in Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix moved the driver of the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet into the championship lead of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES heading into the Indianapolis 500.
Power was the highest-finishing Chevrolet driver in a wild, wet and wacky rain-shortened race around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. The event ran 75 of the scheduled 85 laps and featured eight full-course caution periods.
Power led a group of four Team Chevy drivers to finish in the top-10 Saturday:
· Fifth: Conor Daly, No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet, Ed Carpenter Racing
· Sixth: Felix Rosenqvist, No. 7 McLaren Vuse Chevrolet, Arrow McLaren SP
· Eighth: Callum Ilott, No. 77 Dynamic Edge Chevrolet, Juncos Hollinger Racing
Colton Herta (Honda) was the race winner.
The next race for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29.
TEAM CHEVY QUOTES
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON 5G CHEVROLET, TEAM PENSKE – FINISHED THIRD: “Cars were dropping like flies! It was such a hard choice on whether to get the slicks, which could have been the best strategy out there – or go for the wets. It’s so crazy, this place. When you look around, it can be completely raining on the frontstretch and you go around to the back and it’s completely dry. It was really anyone’s guess at what was going to happen. We got to the point where it was too wet, we were going to get caught out and we needed to take wets.”
MORE ON TIRE CHOICES: “This is an Indianapolis-type day! I’ve had races here where we’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for it to rain, and it just doesn’t rain. The cell just stops there. There must be some kind of vortex in the Speedway here that just doesn’t allow weather!”
CONOR DALY, NO. 20 BITNILE CHEVROLET, ED CARPENTER RACING – FINISHED FIFTH: “I truly don’t think I’ve ever been through anything like that! It was raining, then it was sunny, then it was raining again and then you couldn’t see anything! Once we got off the wet tires at the start and onto the reds, we lost so much grip. It felt like something got on the tire, it was like they had gone off immediately. As soon as we put on the next set of reds, we were flying again. I didn’t forget how to drive in the first stint and remember in the second, it was so weird! I really wanted a trophy from here, but this is a great way to start the month. We wanted to rebound here, we knew we had a fast car, had a great qualifying, we executed all weekend, which is exactly what we wanted.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST, NO. 7 McLAREN VUSE CHEVROLET, ARROW McLAREN RACING SP – FINISHED SIXTH: “That race had so many swings. We had a perfect race at the beginning. We went one lap longer than Herta and Pato, so we were in the best fuel and tire situation. Everything looked really good but then on the restart, there was contract in front of me and I couldn’t avoid it. Pato was able to keep going but I stalled. Then we were a lap behind but we were able to get that back. Finally, on the last stint, we nailed the stint and we went from 18th to 6th in the course of about ten laps. That was great. Overall, a solid day and great effort by everyone at Arrow McLaren SP.”
CALLUM ILOTT, NO. 77 DYNAMIC EDGE CHEVROLET, JUNCOS HOLLINGER RACING – FINISHED EIGHTH: “It’s our best finish so far this year. It was a bit of an up-and-down race. We had to find our feet a little bit at the beginning. I managed to start making way through and had some good running in the mixed conditions. We were kind of a bit late on one of the calls to box for wets. We dropped a couple of places but managed to make a couple back. I couldn’t see anything at the end. It was more about survival and hanging on at that point. There was so much water and spray everywhere. For the team, for Juncos Holinger, Chevy and our single-car team, a top-eight result is a big reward in this race. What an amazing result. Let’s try and get some more.”
TATIANA CALDERON, NO. 11 ROKIT CHEVROLET, AJ FOYT RACING – FINISHED 15TH:
” “It was pretty crazy with the rain. It stopped and then it stopped and then it rained at the end. The team did a great job on the pitstops. We had the right strategy and made the right decisions. I’m very thankful for that. Unfortunately on the last restart, we got hit from behind so I think we could have finished a little higher up. Nevertheless, I’m happy I’m fighting people and making some overtakes. I had a lot of fun.”
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 McLAREN VUSE CHEVROLET, ARROW McLAREN RACING SP – FINISHED 19TH: “Today was probably the craziest race I have been in in IndyCar. I feel like the team deserved so much more today. I really, really do. Nobody was quicker than us with rain tires and we were really strong in the dry as well. We put ourselves in a position to challenge for the win after spinning but we made a gamble and didn’t make the right tire choice. Mother nature brought more rain and made it impossible to drive on slick tires. That’s how racing goes sometimes. It was a fun and entertaining race but the outcome was disappointing.”
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 SNAP-ON CHEVROLET, TEAM PENSKE – FINISHED 20TH:
“We were just on slick tires at the wrong time. Pretty gutted for everyone on the Snap-on car, we came from 11th, showed some pace and led some laps. I felt like we were in position, but its Indianapolis, it’s the month of May and have to expect everything. We’ll keep working as a team and we’ll press on.”
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 BUILDING TOMORROW CHEVROLET, ED CARPENTER RACING – FINISHED 23RD:“Not the result we needed! The start was the first time ever in the rain with an Indy car for me, second ever car race in the rain. It started out pretty well, we got a few spots at the start. Then we had a great pit stop and got a few more people. On the slicks, it was pretty good and I was very happy. Then people got to shoving each other a lot, into the grass, which I was a victim of a few times. One time I got all the way off and got hit, which broke the undertray of my car. We basically finished the race just to finish and get what points we could. It was a bummer, I think we could have really challenged, every call we made on the radio was the right call. I think we could have really powered to the front, but, on to the next one!”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 6 ARROW McLAREN SP CHEVROLET, ARROW McLAREN RACING SP – FINISHED 24TH: “Despite the result, it was a really good day for the No. 6 Arrow McLaren SP team. I told them we had a really good car and that I hadn’t used it well all weekend because I have just been behind the car. The extra laps during the race, I started to get more comfortable and started passing people. I was much more comfortable than last year. My engineers have done a really good job with the car. I’m really encouraged for the Indy 500. It’s a shame that at the end, I couldn’t really see anything. The aeroscreen was all fogged up and I couldn’t see. Overall, it was a good race and we should have had a good result.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 PPG CHEVROLET, TEAM PENSKE – FINISHED 25TH:
“Tough day on the No. 2. Got cleared out on the first lap and felt like we were fighting an issue pretty much the whole race. It was a very up and down day. The race went from rain to slick to back to rains. It was a long day and ended up getting in a scuffle with a couple more cars and got turned around which just made the day even longer. Really proud of our team and PPG for our they do for us.”
KYLE KIRKWOOD, NO. 14 ROKIT CHEVROLET, AJ FOYT RACING – FINISHED 26TH: “Unfortunately we ended the INDY GP a too early. I think we finished 53 of the 85 laps we were supposed to run. We had quite a good race up until that point. The weather went the opposite direction of what our strategy was. We were running second there and went off strategy there and then put on the wrong set of tires too early and unfortunately that didn’t work out for us. Then when it cycled back and we lost a lap or maybe two and then got hit hard by another competitor and that ended it up for us. Indy 500 is next.”
DALTON KELLETT, NO. 4 K-LINE INSULATORS CHEVROLET, AJ FOYT RACING – FINISHED 27TH: “We had contact that ended our race a little early, which is too bad. We had a good race going. We weren’t really where we wanted to be in terms of qualifying and pace, so it was good to see that we were able to race well and be up there. We could make some moves and be in a better spot than where we started out. I’m happy with that, at least. Obviously we wanted to complete the race and get a good finish. There are some good positives to take from this and bank those for the next road-course race at Road America after Detroit. Now we’re on to oval mode. I’m looking forward to being back here in a couple of days and get in our Indy 500 car.”
THE MODERATOR: I asked Conor, where do you begin with a day like this? But where do you begin? It was a crazy day for everyone.For Will. Yeah, go ahead.
WILL POWER: At the end there, man, you could not see a thing. There was a spray in front of me. I don’t know how it was behind the one car, but just the two car, I couldn’t imagine being back in tenth, man.
You don’t know if someone is braking early or you are kind of looking to the fence to get a reference, you kind of lift early. You don’t want to lift too early because no one can see from behind.
Yeah, pretty crazy day. One to stay on your toes and know when to pick the right tire and definitely not overdo it. Yeah, real happy with third with a day like that. Just survival.
THE MODERATOR: Good points today. It’s not about points, but it kind of is at the end of the day.
WILL POWER: Yeah, it is, and those sort of days you’re thinking points when you see Palou out and you see Newgarden out and a couple of the main contenders that you are going to be fighting. You start thinking a little bit that way, yeah.
WILL POWER: I’m not having issues with the spark plugs and brakes, and what else went wrong? The car is not starting. They were pretty good results right there. (Laughing).
THE MODERATOR: We’ll see what happens when you leave the team.
WILL POWER: Just changed my whole mentality.
WILL POWER: It’s good because I’m kind of the lone guy. I’m the older guy, and you have the two young blokes, good mates. I’m just getting the work done. Actually, it’s been a good thing from me. I put my head down and do the work.
WILL POWER: Not screwing around with Josef in the office. It’s working out good.
THE MODERATOR: I’m glad you guys are friends. (Laughing).
Q. Elaborate a little bit on the Aeroscreen. Conor said the thing that surprised him was the water seemed to kind of pool right in the middle of the vision, and he said he thought that at speed it would have blown away, but it didn’t. What were some of the surprises you saw in the first rain test of the Aeroscreen?
WILL POWER: Actually, I didn’t have much problem with the rain. The worst part for me was when it was half wet. We’re on drys, and you have kind of that gritty just dirt on top of water. That was when I struggled to see a little bit, but in the full wet, I mean, the biggest problem for me was the spray from the cars.
There’s really nothing can you do about that with open-wheel cars. It’s just going to be a lot of spray. Honestly, it was on the edge of whether we should have been running right at the end there. It was starting to get a bit of aquaplane.
WILL POWER: Did you have any moments going around?
WILL POWER: 12, man, going around that one. It was wide open. Just like suddenly —
WILL POWER: I was lifting, and it still was doing a bit of that. I was like, oof, probably should go red here.
Q. For both of you guys real quick, did you get less wet in the cockpit because of the Aeroscreen, or do you feel as wet as you have ever been in a rain race?
WILL POWER: You have less for sure. At the end when it was really raining, you started to get some dribbles in, but not terrible. I really got nothing on my visor. A lot less wet, yeah.
Q. For both. We’re coming off the Barber race where I think it was the record or one near record podium age. Now we have two veterans on the podium here. Was the rain part of that, or is it just the track, your prowess here? What was the key to you guys on the podium?
WILL POWER: I would say experience definitely counts in these races to not get caught out or put yourself in a bad situation, so yeah, it’s no surprise to me to see Simon up there. It’s cool to have both of us on the podium together again at this track.
Q. For Will. You mentioned points, and you thought it was a good points racing day. Have you always thought points behind the wheel, or is that something you shifted over the years more long-term than short-term?
WILL POWER: Yeah, honestly it’s not that good to think about points, but sometimes you have to be smart about it if you’re — you know Palou is going to be the guy and, obviously, Newgarden as well. It’s just one of those days where if you can finish in the top six, you’re going to get a good chunk of points on those guys.
If I had the car to win and the chance to win without big risk, I would definitely have gone for it. If it had been a constant condition, it would have been a different story, but it was just too easy to get caught out by a patch of water. It’s just a day to be smart and finish.
Q. A couple of things. I’m looking at a screen right now. There’s a dozen safety vehicles down in turn one trying to clear standing water so they can run the Lights race. Was it starting to puddle up out there, or was it okay for most of the race?
WILL POWER: It actually wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t terrible at the end. Only going around when you go around out of 10 to 12. That was the only place where you were actually starting to get aquaplane.
Q. Then I guess my other question: How difficult was it, especially when you saw guys out there on slicks and you knew that you weren’t sure they were going to go. McLaughlin, O’Ward, these guys are out there on slicks. You’re trying to go green again. They kept spinning under yellow. Were you shocked that they were even trying it?
WILL POWER: Palou, no. He can hold to a car.
WILL POWER: Very impressive. At the end of the day, it blew my mind that Palou kept hanging out. I thought maybe they red-flagged this, and he gets that second position. That was smart. He was going to hang on as long as he could because if it goes green again and he survives turn one, two, and there’s a crash, he is in the same position. Yeah, he is someone that can hang on to a car like no one else.
Q. That one restart where we did have the slicks on, that was impressive that he didn’t just —
WILL POWER: I didn’t see how he went through, but was he pretty good speed?
WILL POWER: Coming on the straightaway.
WILL POWER: Yeah, yeah, big time.
Q. The pit stop on I think it was around lap 56 everyone in the commentary booth and up here we were all wondering, are you going to switch to reds or wets? Everyone went for slicks. How close was it in terms of your — presumably it’s the driver’s call at that stage rather than the team’s, right?
WILL POWER: No.
WILL POWER: Yeah.
WILL POWER: The rain tire they almost need an intermediate. It’s too soft for — a bit more than damp conditions just destroys the tire. They finally felt good at the end there.
WILL POWER: When it was really, really wet. We need something in between.
Q. Did you have very bad pit stop for the first time this year, Will, at one point when and you Rossi went in and you emerged behind way down the group? You got in in fifth and came out in kind of, like, tenth out of the group.
WILL POWER: No, I don’t think so. No. I don’t think we had — oh, yeah, we did have — something happened on one of the stops. I do remember, yeah. Maybe we did have
WILL POWER: What do you mean? Oh, yeah.
WILL POWER: We did actually have one. Yeah. (Laughing).
Q. My apologies if this was asked earlier. Back at the open test everyone was talking about the sealer this or sealer that. Was there any issue with the sealer on the track with rain at all, or was everything okay?
WILL POWER: It was fine. No differences in grip in the wet.
WILL POWER: It felt fine to me.
WILL POWER: You mean on the front straight there? It seemed like it was —
WILL POWER: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Let’s begin with the driver of No. 20, Ed Carpenter Racing, Chevrolet, Conor Dailey. Seventh career top five finish in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season for his career. You could write a whole book on what happened today, right, amongst everybody?
CONOR DALY: Yeah. Where do I start?
THE MODERATOR: Exactly.
CONOR DALY: I don’t remember the last rain race that I did. I actually walked up to Ric Peterson with SPM. I was, like, ‘heck, I think the last time I had a rain race was with you in Detroit in 2015, and we led a lot of that race.’ I was, like, I’m ready. I’m excited.
Then it dried out very quickly. Difficult first for us. I don’t know what happened on the first set of reds, but they were used reds, and we just went straight backwards. Car was an absolute handful, and I have no idea why.
Then it kind of forced our hand, and we put on new reds, and it was right back to the great car that it was. So I think we did second fastest race lap, and we were just hauling getting back making up some of the ground that we lost. Then, obviously, the skies opened up a little bit so, that made for an interesting rest of the afternoon.
Q. Conor, first race with the Aeroscreen in the rain. A lot of drivers saying they couldn’t see. Was that more from just the rooster-tail effect than the actual Aeroscreen?
CONOR DALY: No, I’ve never seen anything like that before. It was like the water just stayed in the center of the screen, and I don’t know why, but even as you went faster, which you would hope it would clear, it didn’t. Again, I can’t say anything.
Obviously, this is very much a scientific test run. Obviously, we have a lot of data to go through with the series, and I’m sure Jay Frye will look at it as well. And he hates when I talk about the Aeroscreen, but I’m just describing what I saw. That’s all. It was challenging.
Thankfully, we had a great spotter in Packy Wheeler, who was literally guiding me into turn one. I couldn’t see the brake zone or the cars in front of me or the end of the pit wall, but I could look out the side of the Aeroscreen, so I was looking right and left to go straight, which was neat.
Q. (Off microphone).
CONOR DALY: Look, I used to race in the rain all the time, so we had a visor that you can work with, but this is a new era, so obviously there are things that we can figure out. We go from here.
I do think it was tough. It was definitely hard to race like that because you don’t want to, obviously, end up on the wrong side. Even under yellow. I couldn’t see the cars in front of me under yellow. I had to be guided into pit lane, and that’s concerning. Hopefully we can figure that out, but hopefully we also have very shiny weather for the rest of the year.
Q. When you said the tires, did you make any adjustments to the car outside of the norm, or is it literally just the tires weren’t agreeing with the car?
CONOR DALY: I really don’t know because Firestone obviously makes a great tire, and sometimes when you put on the used reds, I don’t know if you pick up something on it. It’s something.
I’ve had that happen before in other races kind of randomly, but it might just be kind of like the luck of the draw. You might have run over something that — it felt like we had a left rear that was going flat, but it wasn’t. Very strange feeling. Literally, as soon as you put on another set of tires, everything was perfect. There’s only one variable there that we changed, and that’s tires.
Q. What are your emotions inside the car knowing you were fourth. You’re top five. Then, oh, no, what’s going on? Is it hard to keep your calm?
CONOR DALY: I thought it was just another day in the office, but I never give up in this series, and I tell the team that. I said, it doesn’t matter if the day is going bad, but I will always be fighting until the end.
Same in Barber. Same in any track. This is what I love to do. I want to be competitive. I want to beat these guys and girls that we’re racing against, and we obviously beat the majority of them today.
It was something that worked out in the end, and we’ve seen crazy stuff like this before. I remember Sebastian Bordais starting last and winning races, and people going all over the place spinning, being a lap down and winning races. That’s the fun of INDYCAR.
Q. With the rain this last race, leading the most laps and top five today for you, do you feel a momentum now? Now you’re going to the race that you led the most laps last year. Do you feel it within the team now?
CONOR DALY: I think the team has done a great job this year. We know we had some areas where we wanted to improve, and I think we have. Obviously, the old big one is next, and I’m very excited about that one, honestly.
This was a day that helps us for sure. There’s a lot of momentum. And, honestly, it’s a shame because all of our BitNile folks are not here this weekend, so we might have to ban them from the rest of the races, I don’t know, because we had a wildly good day today. Hugely thankful for their support. Honestly, Chevrolet right now is doing a great job and really proud to be under that banner as well.
Q. Is that one of the most physically demanding races that you have ever done?
CONOR DALY: No. My left elbow is bleeding. I don’t know why. I don’t know if I hit it on something or I had a couple of moments where the wheel was doing a lot of different things, but, yeah, I was okay today. It was not too hot and then in the rain you’re going a lot slower, so it wasn’t too bad today.
Q. In terms of, obviously, next week we go into the practice for the Indy 500, how much does this give you confidence going into the month of May given that ECR have been so good kind of at the 500?
CONOR DALY: We know we’re excited, and I think everyone at Chevrolet is excited about the next couple of weeks. I think we got the right horses underneath us, and we have a great team, and, yeah, let’s just roll on the next week.
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