CHEVROLET INDYCAR AT DETROIT: TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING RECAP

CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
CHEVROLET GRAND PRIX OF DETROIT
DETROIT, MICHIGAN
TEAM CHEVY FIRESTONE FAST SIX REPORT
JUNE 3, 2023

SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN LEADS TEAM CHEVY IN CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING, STARTS SUNDAY’S RACE ON THE FRONT ROW IN SECOND

  • Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske, led the Chevrolet teams in the Firestone Fast Six to finish second with his lap of 1:02.1592, and will start from the front row for tomorrow’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the streets of Detroit.
  • Only 0.300 separated NTT P1 Pole Award winner Alex Palou and the Bowtie brand driver of McLaughlin.
  • McLaughlin’s Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet, joined him to battle it out for the pole award in the Firestone Fast 6.
  • Team Penske’s Will Power and Arrow McLaren INDYCAR’s Felix Rosenqvist transferred from Group 1 in Round 1 to the top-12.
  • McLaughlin, Arrow McLaren INDYCAR’s Pato O’Ward, and Newgarden transferred from Group 1 in Round 2 to the top-12.

TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 QUALIFYING RESULT:

Pos. Driver

2nd Scott McLaughlin

5th Josef Newgarden

7th Will Power

9th Felix Rosenqvist

10th Pato O’Ward

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES):

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“Just didn’t quite have the pace in the Gallagher Chevy, but look, we’ll have plenty of pace tomorrow in the race. I think we’re already good on tires. I love this track to be honest. A lot of fun. First Detroit Grand Prix and a lot of energy here, so really excited for what’s ahead. Full credit to Alex (Palou) and his team – great job. We’ll see. It’s going to be hard on the outside into (Turn) 1 and into 3, but we’ll just put the elbows out and see what we get coming out of three.”

Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“We didn’t think we had another lap. We started the lap. No, that wasn’t (a miscommunication). It was my mistake. I made a little mistake into there, aborted the lap, and the realized that is my last lap. And then we had another shot at it. We certainly had the pace. Seventh ain’t bad. It’s on the inside. It’s pretty bumpy there on the out, the other side. But yeah, we’ll see. You don’t know how these races are going to go. It’s a pretty wild track. Sometimes it doesn’t matter where you qualify. It’s all good, it’s all good. The Verizon Chevy crew has done a great job all month. I made a little mistake in Indy and I made a little mistake there. Just a super competitive series.”

If you had to look at the race tomorrow, how do you think it will play out?

“I don’t know. Sometimes you think it’s going to be yellow and it doesn’t. I would say it’s going to be pretty hectic. We think like Nashville potentially.”

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“A bit disappointing. We felt really good in practice, and just, we couldn’t go faster for some reason. We’ll look into it. We probably missed a little bit on pressures, or tire warm up, but yeah, we definitely didn’t have a ½ second in there.”

What do you think this race will be tomorrow? Will it have the chaos everybody is predicting?

“I think it’ll be about survival, yeah. Is it going to be as crazy as Nashville? I don’t know. Does it have the potential to be as crazy as Nashville? Absolutely. I think tomorrow is all about survival. I think it’ll be tricky with the blend line where it is, and when the yellows fall, people taking it or not taking it, I think it’ll be definitely interesting.”

Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“The car was quick. Maybe not as quick as some, but I think we didn’t execute. I didn’t feel happy with my lap. I kept making mistakes in Turn 2 and Turn 7. I just didn’t really get the proper corner and, you know in this field if you want transfer, you can’t be doing that? I’m a bit disappointed with myself and just wasn’t really vibing with a car, too many mistakes. Something we have to work on. But anyways, starting P9 is, you know, top-10 is not too bad. Don’t want to be in the back, don’t want to be P15 or be 20th. So that’s good. I think anything can happen here, especially with strategy and stuff and short-term planning and we’ll open up for some interesting strategies. We’ll see where we can go from there.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“It’s disappointing to miss it by that much. On that last lap there, I brushed the wall out of Turn 2, so that for sure cost us as well. It’s disappointing. I feel like the Arrow McLaren Chevy has been good this weekend. Practice 2, we didn’t really get a read on anything so went into qualifying a little bit guessing. We should have transferred. Unfortunate, but we’ll just have to make up for it tomorrow.”

With traffic, and the course overall, is this one of the toughest and most challenging qualifying sessions of the year?

“No, I don’t think so. I just think it’s going to be tougher for everyone, not just me. With really not having a Practice 2 to get an understanding the car. That’s what makes this one challenging, but it’s a joy to drive this track. Everyone has done a really good job to get it to the level it is at.”

Conor Daly, No. 20. Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“It’s our best street course qualifying this year so that’s a good step forward for us. When you’re fighting Alex Rossi right there, we’re in good company. We just haven’t had any clear laps all day. So the entire first session, I never did one lap where I got to go fast through (Turns) 6 and 7, so that was the first time I got to feel what the grip increase has been like. The team gave me a great step forward of grip and balance for this session which was nice. We feel like we can work from there. It’s going to be crazy tomorrow, and hopefully you can just stay out of the chaos.”

Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“The 1,000th of a second is not pace, that’s just a little bit of speed, more speed in one corner or hitting a bump differently. I mean, it’s so tight, it’s not pace-representative. We should have the pace to transfer. It was hard getting everything out of the tire because yesterday the track was so much different when we ran greens (alternate) and also this morning, there was more traffic than actual clean laps. Pretty proud of the effort, though. It’s good to be that close to advancing, and especially to those guys. Pretty happy, car felt pretty good so good job to the guys coming to a new track. We’ll pass some guys tomorrow.”

Looking at that and on paper, it seems this team is trending the right way on road and street courses. Do you feel that way?

“Yeah, we’re trending in the right direction. It’s been a tough season, but I think there’s a lot of positive energy from the (Indianapolis) 500, though the race could’ve ended a bit differently. Proud of the guys. It’s a long season to go and they put a lot of effort in. We’re going upwards.”

Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“I don’t think it’s bad, we just have a lot to learn with the damping, I think. I think we know that, which is good. It’s good and bad; it’s good because we know where to look, and it’s bad because it’s really hard to adjust on a race weekend. We’re working really hard. We closed the gap now down to half, with three seconds off yesterday we’re down to 1.5. This race is going to be interesting. I don’t know necessarily how much pace you’re going to need because you could have a race like we had in Nashville in 2021. Just work hard into morning warm up and see what we’ve got.”

You’re in a unique pit stall, first one in on driver’s right. Is that going to be a disadvantage for you tomorrow?

“It’s a huge disadvantage regardless. The whole right side of this pit lane, you have to go under the pit limiter to make the turn, so everybody is checking up. The pit start zone is way too late for us. I’m already in neutral when I come around that corner, so I’m going about 25 mph coming around there, and everybody else who’s going to the left side’s got to be on the limiter in 40. Assuming we don’t get run over in the race tomorrow, hopefully we’ll have a good one.”

Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“Tremendous recovery in qualifying. We’ll start P19. Definitely the best the car has felt since we showed up. We rolled out of the truck pretty far out of the window, but managed to get ourselves back in honestly a very good car. Qualifying felt very good on my part with nailing every lap. It was the best we could get out of it. We’ll keep improving. We always seem to find even more pace for the race. It’s going to be an exciting race tomorrow.”

Callum Ilott, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“We’ll have to look after this. It’s just so tight, this session was very close to get in it. I felt like I put in a good time, but I guess it’s just not enough. We got four clear laps in two practices, which is kind of a waste. Otherwise, it’s alright. We’ve worked with it. I think we have a good car. Seems competitive here, just missing a little bit.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“A good day. Qualifying with no problems. Of course we want more, but anyway, it’s a good job for the team, Ricardo (Juncos), and the car. Thanks for the for the job from yesterday. The practice was insane, in qualifying it was okay, but I think the track is really tricky, and we have a really difficult race tomorrow.”

SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet – End of Day Press Conference:

THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up qualifying. Currently joined by Scott McLaughlin. First front row start of this 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

How was your qualifying session? Pleased with it?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, yeah. Full credit, Alex, that was a bad-ass lap, man. Good job on the older tires there.

Pretty happy with P2. I’ve had a pretty average month of May in my standards. Nice to bounce back here in Detroit. New track. Rebound with a P2 to start tomorrow.

But see how we go.

THE MODERATOR: All of a sudden your attention turns towards tomorrow, what it may look like. Who knows, right?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, you don’t know. It is what it is. Same for everyone. Hopefully just everyone, cool heads prevail, but you just never know.

Yeah, we’ll go in with the same aggression, see how we come out. It’s not the track I’m worried about, it’s just the outside. Everyone on the outside line, it’s going to be interesting.

We’ll be all right. With the track, there’s been a lot of noise I’ve seen in Twitter, from other drivers and stuff. At the end of the day this is a new track, new complex. I think what everyone has done to get this going, like the vibe is awesome. Belle Isle was getting old. We had to do it.

Yeah, first-year problems. It’s always going to happen. It’s just going to get better from here. The racetrack for the drivers is a blast. We don’t even know how it races yet. Everyone is making conclusions already. They probably just need to relax and wait for tomorrow. I just had to get that in. Sorry.

THE MODERATOR: At least we know how you feel.

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: We’ll take questions.

Q. Curious, with the 1.7 mile lap, how many times are you playing with the tools, brake bias?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Not much at all. In the practices, yes, because you’re trying to get a balance, a feeling. But once you’re out there, sort of wheeling, trying to figure out where your car is, trying to maximize that lap from what you’ve learnt in the first two practices, for me, I’m just locked in trying to do a lap, dealing with what we did.

We made changes during the session that made the car better. I don’t think I was a P2 car to start the session, and we ended up P2. I think we made some really good changes between Q1 and Q2.

Q. (Indiscernible)?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I think a lot of it’s going to come down to your right foot, controlling that more than anything. It’s going to be a lot of patience, looking at the tires. Like I said, that’s a lot of self-control in that department.

Q. Pit lane was a talking point. Through two days, what is your assessment about that?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I have no idea at the moment. We’ve rolled out after a couple red flags together. At the end of the day there’s a blend line. Gets to the point that dash line at the front, if you’re not in front of the car that’s behind you or beside you, you should get out of it. If there’s any gentlemen in this field, which I highly doubt, you can probably back off and let the other guy in front of you be okay.

But I think, yeah, it’s always going to be self-control, self-discipline. Like I said, they’ve done a very good job. It’s a very good pit lane, it’s just tight, it’s different. Who knows till the race.

I think it will be eventful for the fans. We’ll just have to figure it out.

Q. Was there any extra preparation or things you did special for this weekend? Very good so far.

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, no, the same. New track, so… For me, Belle Isle, I actually felt very good there last year. I just got screwed by a few red flags, whatever. Same old, same old. Stupid story.

This weekend is just a new track. Just prepare like I would go anywhere else. Yeah, feel very good.

Q. From practice on Friday to qualifying, how much did you have to flip the setup to perfect it?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: We went back to our practice one setup. I was hoping it was going to work, and it did.

Q. If you watched the INDY NXT race, what kind of prediction do you have for tomorrow?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I watched it. I watched all of it actually. It was carnage. At the same time what’s exciting for me is if you got a fast car, you can make moves. You can come through.

It’s going to be all that tire life, tire life is going to be key. One thing that’s good about this track, it’s a lot of stop-start corners. If you get better runs than others, use the push to pass, I think it’s going to race similar to Nashville.

Everyone says we crash a lot in Nashville. I think it’s going to race very well. It’s just going to be up to us with the etiquette of the drivers to leave it up to us and figure it out along the way.

I think it’s going to race very similar to Nashville. Looking at it, there’s going to be a lot of passes, I think opportunities. Hopefully I only have to make one.

Q. Do you have to remember where you are at every moment on this track? With the bumps and stuff, how tough is that to keep that concentration along with racing?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I have Google maps in my steering wheel (laughter).

No, you just follow the walls. You don’t hit the walls, you just follow them.

I feel like the first practice session, we did a lot of simulator stuff beforehand, so I already had the numbers and stuff down pat. I think now it’s knowing where the bumps are.

There’s bumps on the track you haven’t felt before, you won’t feel till the race, they will feel different with old tires and fuel.

Tomorrow is about attrition. It’s about making no mistakes, good pit stops and hopefully a fast car.

Q. From the simulator work you did to practice and qualifying, what was the biggest surprise?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: How good the simulator actually is, yeah. What we learnt on the sim, we rolled here with that car. Like I said, we went back to our baseline car for the start of qualifying. I’m pleasantly surprised. Yeah, it was nice.

Q. With Chevy being the presenting sponsor, how much pressure does that add to you?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Look, it’s an important race for Chevy. World headquarters. I’ve always said it, I always put more pressure on myself than anyone could put on me. It’s not just Chevy, it’s Roger Penske. Home race. A lot of partners here this weekend. I’m sponsored by a very big company that has a massive presence here, Gallagher, with Detroit Tigers. It’s a big town for them.

Doesn’t change how much I want to win this race or the pressure to win every race that we go out in.

Q. I wanted to know by comparison to yesterday, has the track evolved? Rubbered up? Still very much a concrete surface?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: In places there’s low grip, for sure. Potentially where you could pass tomorrow is low grip. Anything off the line right now. That will rubber up pretty quick. Yeah, it’s taking a lot of rubber. Even from practice to qualifying, after the INDY NXT race, it already took a ton of rubber, as well.

It’s nice, though, ’cause the first session I felt like it was pretty green. It was hard to get a bearing. But now that rubber is going down, it’s turning the racetrack into a lot of fun. It’s a great racetrack to lay a lap down. It was a blast.

About Chevrolet

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, available in 79 countries with more than 3.2 million cars and trucks sold in 2020. Chevrolet models include electric and fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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