CHEVROLET RACING IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
SONSIO GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA
ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN
TEAM CHEVY POST RACE REPORT
JUNE 12, 2022
JOSEF NEWGARDEN TAKES CHEVROLET TO VICTORY LANE AT ROAD AMERICA
WINS $1 MILLION PEOPLEREADY FORCE FOR GOOD CHARITY WITH ONE WIN ON EACH STREET COURSE, OVAL AND NATURAL ROAD COURSE
ELKHART LAKE, WISC (JUNE 12, 2022) – Josef Newgarden put Chevrolet in Victory Lane for the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR at Road America. It is the two-time NTT INDYCAR Series Champion’s third win of season.
By capturing his victories on one of each different kind of track – street course (Long Beach), oval (Texas Motor Speedway) and today on Road America, a 4.048-mile, 14-turn natural road course – the $1 million PeopleReady Force for Good for charity and his team today.
The $1 million will be split between Newgarden and Team Penske, and the two charities of Newgarden’s choice – Wags and Walks of Nashville and SeriousFun Children’s Network.
This is his 22nd career INDYCAR victory and his second at Road America – all behind the wheel of a Chevrolet powered INDY car.
Newgarden started on the outside of the front row. He led a total 28 of the 55-lap race taking the lead for the first time on a pitstop exchange on lap 25. He never relinquished the point for the remainder of the race except during pitstop cycles and differing race strategies.
Felix Rosenqvist, No. 7 VUSE Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet finished sixth, and Scott McLaughlin finished seventh to give Team Chevy three of the top-seven. Chevrolet leads the Manufacturer Standings by 60 points. 677-617.
Will Power, No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet, came into the weekend leading the points, but contact from another car on lap seven in turn five sent him to pit lane for repairs. He rallied to finish 19th, one lap down and sits second in the standings only 27 points down to the leader.
Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi completed the podium.
Race nine of the 17-race NTT INDYCAR Series season will be Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course July 1 – 3, 2022.
CHEVROLET DRIVER QUOTES
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 PPG TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – Finished 1st
WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT THOSE RACES THAT DIDN’T WORK OUT ON LATE RESTARTS? HOW DETERMINED WERE YOU TO NOT LET THAT HAPPEN AGAIN TODAY?
“I was just trying to stay focused on what I had to do. Just an unbelievable job by everyone at Team Penske. Great to have PPG on board with us. We’ve had a lot of success with this car and Team Chevy. Team Chevy’s bringing it with this engine. Just so proud to be here and People’s Choice. I keep forgetting about this million bucks.”
YOU’VE GOT A MILLION DOLLAR CHECK COMING HERE IN A SECOND!
“I just kept forgetting about it. To finally get it done and to most importantly give that money to charity. Half that money is going to charity with SeriousFun Children’s Network and Wags and Walks Nashville. I hope they are happy about that. That’s a lot of money coming their way.”
HOW TOUGH OF AN ACCOMPLISHMENT IS THAT TO GET IT DONE ON AN OVAL, A STREET COURSE AND A ROAD COURSE ALL IN ONE SEASON, MUCH LESS THE FIRST HALF OF THE SEASON?
“That’s what makes Indy Car so tough. It’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen. I thought we had it all locked up in Detroit. It was going to be easy from the front row and it was anything but easy. It went completely different than we predicted. That’s just what makes this series so difficult, and it makes it fun to be in. You’ve got to be on your toes at all times. You can go in with a plan, but you’re probably going to have to change your plan 90 percent of the time once the race starts to unfold. To be able to hit all these disciplines with this team is just, for me, it’s the best series in the world. I just love driving Indy Car.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST, NO. 7 VUSE ARROW MCLAREN SP CHEVROLET – Finished 6th
“Pretty interesting race. We were a bit weak on the start and on the restarts, especially on the reds. We just couldn’t really make anything happen. We pitted early and then it kind of became a fuel race. We needed to save a lot on every stint after pitting so early. We ended up getting pretty good track position and our pace was better than expected while making our fuel number. We were able to lead the race but didn’t really have anything for the lead drivers at the end. We did the best we could. The No. 7 team did a great job on pit stops and we have moved higher in the championship.”
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, NO.3 SONSIO TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – Finished 7th
“Overall, pretty good day for the Sonsio Chevy. We started eighth and finished seventh. Nearly got sixth on the line. We’ve been chasing set up all weekend, but solid points day for us in seventh. We will just keep building from there. Onto Mid-Ohio. We have a couple of weeks off, we’ll be ok.”
CALLUM ILOTT, NO. 77 JUNCOS HOLLIGER RACING CHEVROLET – Finished 11th
“It was a pretty good race finishing P11. It was a crazy race, we just kept it clean and kept it cool. A couple of things slowed us down in the beginning and then we got our momentum. To be fair, the pace was good. I probably could have pushed it a bit more in some areas. Honestly, P11 is a good result for us and good points especially since I have been out of the car. We did a good job putting everything back together after qualifying. Thanks to all the guys at Juncos Hollinger and Team Chevy.”
CONOR DALY, NO. 20 BITNILE ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – Finished 14th
“We had great pace today, especially on the reds. Both Meyer Shank Racing cars drove us off the road today at two different times, it’s a real shame to see experienced veterans drive like that. Simon (Pagenaud) knocking us off blatantly on the last restart was really tough because we were in 12th and that was my goal. We had a good day, great pace, but sometimes these things happen in racing.”
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 DIRECT SUPPLY ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – Finished 17th
“P17 was everything we had, really. It was very tough. I struggled with the balance of the car all day. For me, it was a race to keep the car on track and that’s not a great race! It was a great call all the end to go to red tires, I passed many guys. I am looking forward to a few weeks off and coming back with great car for Mid-Ohio.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON 5G TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – Finished 19th
STILL SECOND IN THE CHAMPIONSHIPSHIP, BUT WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN. YOU ALREADY HAD A LONG WAY TO GO FROM THERE, BUT WE HEARD YOU AFTER THE CONTACT WITH DEVLIN DEFRANCESCO IT WAS “WAIT UNTIL I SEE HIM.” HAVE YOU SEEN HIM AND YOU’VE HAD A LITTLE BIT OF TIME SINCE THEN, HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT THIS?
“Yeah, no I haven’t seen him. I mean, we had a fast car it’s just I kind of wondered if we changed tires when we were doing the wing. We didn’t want to go down a lap obviously. That made our day a lot harder. Yeah, nothing I could do about that one. That is Indy Car. Not the best day, you have them. Just move on to the next one.”
THIS DOES SEEM TO ALIGN WITH THE NEW MENTALITY THAT YOU’VE HAD OVER THE LAST YEAR OR SO. YOU’RE TAKING THIS BETTER THAN A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD AT THIS POINT.
“Man, you can’t really do much about it. He is a young guy and he’s made some big moves this year that resulted in some incidents. It was good on the team for at least, I got ran off on the last lap there so maybe we could have finished a little bit higher. We had plenty of push to pass, couldn’t do much about it. We’ll see if we can get the Verizon 5G Chevy to victory lane again this year. Anytime we get a victory in this series it’s so big, because it’s so hard. There’s a different winner every week. Except for Newgarden, obviously congrats to him. He won the charity prize and yeah, he’s won three races. He’s on a good run.”
KYLE KIRKWOOD, NO. 14 ROKIT AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET – Finished 20th
“Finished up here in Road America. Weekend is over. We didn’t have the exact race like we would have liked to have. For some reason, we lost pace from final practice yesterday to the race. We started 24th and finished 20th, so we gained a few positions. Finished with the car, came back with no battle wounds. So, that’s positive. We are going to look forward to Mid-Ohio.”
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 16 PARETTA AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – Finished 21st
“I think it was really important to finish this race. We had so much going on with me getting back in the car, getting to know the team again and working with my engineer. But we finished and I think we can be pretty happy because things started to come together at the end. It’s something to build on.”
DALTON KELLETT, NO. 4 K-LINE AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET – Finished 23rd
“Not the weekend we wanted here at Road America. I don’t think we had the pace overall in the race to make a lot of headway. We kept our nose clean and was able to make up a couple of spots. Coming to the final restart, on my end I don’t think I had a great restart for those last couple of laps. Gave up a couple spots there. That’s how it goes sometimes. Lesson learned. Aggression and timing, I don’t think I really timed the run coming through 14. That cost me those couple spots. Overall, we are still kind of struggling on pace on blacks. Reds felt better. We’ve got a little work to do and have some time to think about it before the next Indy road course race.”
TATIANA CALDERON, NO. 11 ROKIT AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET – Finished 25th
“We just finished Road America and unfortunately it was not our day in many ways. We had some penalties, some fuel miscommunication and we had to restart the engine a couple of times on pit lane. So yeah, tough day for everyone. I just want to thank the whole AJ Foyt racing team. It’s been a couple of busy weeks, so hopefully we can regroup and go back Mid-Ohio. I’m looking forward to it.”
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN SP CHEVROLET – Finished 26th
“We had a failure, which will put an end to anyone’s race. We weren’t having the smoothest of days anyway. We made some mistakes in the pits that cost us positions and we didn’t really have much pace to attack. Just not our day today.”
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Josef Newgarden. The second win here at Road America. Third win of the season, 23rd of your career. Now ties the great Tommy Milton for 19th on the all-time list. Most importantly today the People Ready Force For Good Challenge, $1 million. Half goes to your favorite charity. A spectacular day.
Tell us about it a little bit.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It was a great day. Great, great day. Felt really good going into it. Felt like we had a car to win today. It was just about executing.
My team really put me in position on that first stop. Rossi was not going to be easy to beat today. I felt like he was very strong. I felt like we were a little bit better than him, but he was by no means going to be simple to go by.
That first stop is really what set the tone for us. Once we got in position, it was about getting through the lap markers, the alternate strategy quicker than him, building a gap, maintaining it. I felt like our PPG car was hooked up and had it from Team Chevy on the power side pretty much as always this year.
Really comfy. To be able to win this million bucks, give half of it to charity, is very cool. Very, very cool. I’m sure our recipients are going to be thrilled with that.
THE MODERATOR: On the Zoom joining us are your friends that are going to be the recipients.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Fantastic.
THE MODERATOR: Kathryn Hurley is the founder of the Nashville chapter of Wags & Walks.
Kathryn, say hello.
KATHRYN HURLEY: Hi.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Kathryn.
KATHRYN HURLEY: Hi. We are absolutely thrilled. Congratulations, Josef. I mean, you know what we’re going to do this year with all the dogs here in Nashville. That was bigger than me winning the Super Bowl for the Detroit Lions. We are absolutely so, so thrilled.
It’s going to impact literally thousands of dogs here in Nashville and allow us to build an amazing adoption center. Congratulations to you, Ashley and your little one at home.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Thank you.
For people don’t know, our dog Axel was adopted through Wags & Walks. Kathryn really started the charge in Nashville. Wags & Walks started in L.A. Kathryn started the Nashville chapter for it. They’ve been doing an amazing job. They work with a lot of great people in Nashville. They save all sorts of dogs. All sorts. You should hear some of these heartbreaking stories that these guys through to find these dogs homes. We need more of that.
We’re very happy to be able to get some money to this group because they’ve done a lot for us and for a lot of people in Nashville. Very thrilled.
Thank you, Kathryn, for all your work.
KATHRYN HURLEY: Thank you so much. Congratulations again.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us. By the way, the $10,000 for each and every race continues through the rest of the season. You may not be done.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: We’ll work on it more.
KATHRYN HURLEY: The good news continues.
THE MODERATOR: Blake Maher is the CEO from the (indiscernible).
BLAKE MAHER: Congratulations, Josef, on a big win for you and your whole team. Couldn’t be more grateful for the win today and all you do for SeriousFun, a true champion for us.
(Loss of audio.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: We want to help these groups as much as we can. To have something like this challenge I think fires you up more competitively, that you want to get it done for them. You know it’s just a bonus and a plus for these two groups.
Yeah, not quite as emotional. I just know how impactful it is, so I get really competitive and want to make it happen.
THE MODERATOR: Tremendous day. So congratulations many times over.
Q. What type of dog is Axel?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: He’s a mutt. He has a lot of different breeds. He’s a smart little fellow. Cute, adorable. 30 pounds. He’s a lot of things. He’s got Shepard in him. All sorts of stuff. I couldn’t even tell you.
Q. You said on the TV interview you had forgotten about the $1 million prize. How can you forget about something like that?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I do forget about it at points. Like, I didn’t think about it coming into this weekend. I totally forgot that that was a thing. There’s a point you get reminded about it. You’re like, Oh, yeah, that’s right.
But for me, it’s not something you really dwell on because it doesn’t matter ultimately at the end of the day. I’m not going to try to win this race because this is on the line. You never approach any race that way.
I want to win the race because I want to win the race. It’s a great little bonus. It’s not a little bonus, that’s a big bonus. It’s just one of those things that kind of comes with it.
It’s not motivating for me that I have to do something extra because of this. I’m putting my best effort forward every weekend. I know if we can just focus on our job, get the job done, at times I get reminded, This is also going to come with it. That’s very, very cool obviously.
THE MODERATOR: Blake, do you have anything else to say? We lost you there.
BLAKE MAHER: Josef, I just wanted to make sure you heard our congratulations. We’re so excited for you and the team. Thank you for being a champion for SeriousFun, whether you’re at camp, welcoming kids to the racetrack, your ping-pong tournament. This, of course, is such a huge feather in your cap. We’re so proud to work with you and thankful for all you do for all the kids at the camps around the world.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Thank you, Blake. We’re so fortunate to have people like you and SeriousFun Children’s Network. Keep up the great work as always.
BLAKE MAHER: Hope to see you soon. Take care.
THE MODERATOR: Blake, thanks. You’ve been a great friend for INDYCAR in the past and for years to come.
Q. It seemed like the first pit stop was the key to the race. You were able to beat Rossi out. From that point on it seemed like every time…
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It was going to be that point or another point. Truthfully I was hoping for an all green start, no cautions, because I felt that’s where we could find the exposure in Rossi’s game.
I was kind of biding my time but felt like I had the straight speed advantage with him. I felt like my Chevy was much quicker than him on the straights. I was going to wait for an opportunity.
All the yellows really took away that potential. We were running most of the laps under caution, so the reds weren’t going to drop off as much. We needed to make the difference somewhere else. We came in right on his tail. I made sure, Look, I’m going to give my team ample opportunity, get as close as I can to Rossi on the pits.
If it wasn’t going to happen on the pit stop, it was going to be an out lap or a back end of a stint (indiscernible). The pit stop is what ended up being the pivotal point for us. If that wasn’t the point, I think we could have made that point somewhere else today.
Q. Pit selection seemed to work in your favor. I believe you were the last pit out.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, yeah. We were first out, if you will, first box, which always helps. You got a clear out. You don’t have to worry about typically a lot of the mess going on in the middle or wherever you’re located at.
It does pay to start up front.
(Loss of audio.)
Q. Obviously the difference on a late restart this year versus last year was considerable. Can you forget that stuff?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I don’t really think about it. If you want to talk about last year, it’s not anything anyone did wrong. It’s a part that failed that I think was a $50 part. No one has ever seen it fail. It’s not like it was a prep issue.
I couldn’t have affected anything. I or the team couldn’t have affected anything to make it different. Had no thought about it. I was just focused on today.
The thing I focus on is we’re in position. You don’t have many opportunities to be in position to close. I just want to close. That’s where my head was at today, yep.
Q. With the two late restarts there at the very end, were you surprised on both cases how much you were able to gap Rossi going up the hill with the green flag there?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Not after watching him. I kind of knew where the strength and weakness was. I felt like we had a good advantage on him in certain areas. We tried to exploit that as best as possible.
It was two really good starts, great attack mode from Team Chevy. All of that contributes to being able to push the gap. I was hopeful we could do that, but I can’t say I was surprised. I felt like we had that potential. I knew if we just do our job, we can do that, and was happy to see it kind of come to fruition.
Q. You get a good cut of it the bonus. After buying some baby stuff for the newborn, what is the first dumb thing you’re going to buy with the money?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I don’t know. I don’t know. Probably a bunch of McDonald’s. Probably over a hundred dollars worth of McDonald’s at least. That’s probably stop one. After that, I don’t know. We’ll have to see.
Q. Will had a line in the interview that it’s hard to get wins except for Josef, he’s got multiple. How hard is it to win now compared to earlier in your career? What do they mean now?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s extremely difficult. It’s hard to win a pole. Hard to win a race. The landscape is not constant these days. I think 10 years ago you used to have sort of consistent trends. When a team would find a performance edge, they would typically carry that edge across the entire year.
Whereas now I think people find these little edges on each other like every weekend. It’s going up and down all the time.
You see a McLaren strong at one track, Andretti strong at another, Ganassi pops up, ECR pops up, we’re in the mix. Then a Shank pops up. It’s never ending.
We say every year it’s the closest competition we ever had. Somehow it keeps getting tighter. It must be just the development of this car has really hit a fine point. You’re just constantly tuning little things now, millimeters of changes.
The driving style is getting tighter, with simulators, all this stuff you can analyze. It’s impossible to hide something from the competition.
Yeah, it is very difficult to win these races consistently. To be able to put multiple on the board, it’s a job well done to everybody in the 2 group.
Q. Three wins is like what drivers are looking for, if you want to win the championship, you have to win three races. Do you feel like you’ve got the momentum in the championship or is that still with Marcus after the 500 win?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s been a little bit too up and down for us. Kind of feast or famine. I think we genuinely had the potential for four or five wins up to this point. So we’ve done three of the potential five, let’s say. The other ones that we weren’t winning, we were finishing too far back.
We’ve got to up our consistency. It’s a little abnormal for us. I feel like we’re a fairly consistent group. So I’m not going to lose sleep on why that was happening. Sometimes you get in these little micro trends where we didn’t have the consistency we needed.
Number one, we need to clean that up. We need to win a couple more races before the year is out because of the way the first part of the season went. We definitely have wins on the board. But definitely more than wins, consistency is going to rule the day this year, for sure.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I mean, I felt good coming into the season. I felt good about last year. I remember we were getting hounded, up to this point last year we were getting hounded on why we hadn’t won a race.
For me it was funny because I’m like, You guys must not be inside our internal network and seeing. We’re just totally fine, totally fine. There’s not a problem with the team. We’re where we need to be. Just wasn’t clicking off for some reason.
I felt that way going into this season and I feel that way now. I think we’re in a good spot. We have to clean up the consistency. For one reason or another that didn’t happen up to this point. I know if we keep doing our normal thing, that will come.
We just need to keep on a good track here till the finish. Feel very positive about our group. I mean, we don’t have anything negative going on. Honestly, there’s nothing that I could be complaining about. We got a really strong team, everything is in a good place, great partnerships with Tammy Chevy and everyone else. Yeah, feel good about it.
Q. (Question about the late caution.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I mean, I think I cooked my stuff a little bit too much on that second stint. I was aggressive with traffic. That’s where I think I got the gap, was I was more aggressive than he was cutting through either a lap marker or an alternate strategy. So that ripped a really nice gap for us.
After that it was more just trying to manage it. I kept watching my gap to him. I was trying to study where he was strong and where I was weak. I just kind of focused on tire management after that point.
I could tell he was very good in the beginning through 75% of the stint. I think we had the edge in the last 25%. Look, we have a good gap here, got more overtake, let’s just try to manage tires. That was my game plan as I got to middle to finish. I think that worked well for us.
I was surprised. We didn’t get to see what was going to happen in the first stint because of all the yellows. That’s where I thought I was going to find the exposure for him. I was a little bit worried, we missed that opportunity, but let’s see what happens on the primaries. It worked out. I think we had a fast car all around.
Q. Can you explain how restarts work here.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, typically in INDYCAR now the rule is there’s a restart zone that’s designated. Typically it’s around the final corner, sometimes sort of encompassing the entire final corner, sometimes it’s a bit more.
In our case, it’s kind of 13 to 14, that lead-up into 14 is the restart zone. So the procedure for us is the pace car lets us get temperature, does a pretty quick lap, then slows us down. By the time we get to the carrousel, packs us up. As we get to turn 12, he tries to get away. We let him get away to where we can start 13 to 14. That’s our process.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Rossi was as tight as he could be to me when I got on the gas. He definitely wasn’t getting jacked up, to use your words. It’s just the point. INDYCAR sort of designates the restart area or zone that you can start in. We know that. That’s what I did today.
Q. From our point of view once you got the lead, it seemed like you were pretty comfortable. Was it that comfortable to you? Anything you think you could have done better?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I would say it was only fairly comfortable today. I didn’t feel like we were lights out better than anybody. But I felt like we were just as good. I felt we were kind of toe-to-toe with Rossi today. It was just about managing the tires the best.
I think raw pace on the primaries, we were probably similar. It was a matter of when you wanted to push them.
Yeah, what can we learn? There’s always a lot of little stuff. We’re going to go back and analyze the sectors, look at straights versus corners, mechanical changes that we made. We’re going to analyze all of it and see where we can optimize for next year.
At this point the broad strokes are very good for this track, these conditions. Now that I’m also saying that, we’re going to come back next year and it’s going to be a completely new challenge, they’re going to resurface this place. We are still going to analyze and learn what we can from this season, but pretty open book next year.
Q. This track could be quite a bit different. Do you think that’s a good thing? Do you think it needs it or rather it stay like it is?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I’m indifferent. If it’s up to me…
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