CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
BIG MACHINE MUSIC CITY GRAND PRIX
TEAM CHEVY RACE REPORT
AUGUST 6, 2023
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN CAPTURES CHEVROLET’S 304TH PODIUM OF THE V6 ERA IN THE BIG MACHINE MUSIC CITY GRAND PRIX
- Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin finished the 80-lap Big Machine Music City Grand Prix second, capturing Chevrolet’s 20th podium of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR Series season and 304th since 2012.
- After starting from pole, McLaughlin led 25 of 26 laps led for Team Chevy during the chaotic event that saw a late red flag and three-lap shootout to the checkered flag.
- Josef Newgarden, of Team Penske, finished fourth in difficult hot and humid conditions.
- Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren INDYCAR, and Will Power of Team Penske, completed the top-10 for Team Chevy by finishing eighth and 10th, respectively.
NASHVILLE (August 6, 2023) – Under sunny, hot, and humid conditions, a charging Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 DEX Imaging Chevrolet for Team Penske, settled for the second step on the podium for Chevrolet in downtown Nashville. After starting on pole, McLaughlin drove a tough and tricky race on the tight 2.17-mile temporary street circuit in Music City, to give the Bowtie brand their 20th podium finish of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR Series season. Additionally, McLaughlin’s second-place finish gives Chevrolet their 304th podium since 2012 in the V6 2.2-liter twin turbo direct injected era.
“I really tried my best but just couldn’t get there,” said McLaughlin reflecting on his Big Machine Music City Grand Prix race. “The DEX Imaging Chevy was great, and I’m very proud of everyone. There’s another top-three, another very good points day. We were really hoping to get the win. But, you know, we weren’t best today compared to Alex (Palou) and props to him.”
Not only battling the competition but also the heat, McLaughlin’s Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet, was quick to check on McLaughlin post-race after finishing fourth. Reflecting on his top-five finish for Chevrolet, Newgarden said “I felt like we had a little more charge in the beginning of the race that didn’t materialize. It’s a decent top-five that we can come out of here with and be proud of with the PPG car,” continued Newgarden. “There was a little more opportunity that just didn’t materialize in the beginning you know, typical street course stuff. You get used up a little bit at times. It’s just what we always see. It gets tight as everybody knows. I thought it was a really good day for our team, I really thought they executed well.”
Rounding out the top-10 for Team Chevy, Arrow McLaren INDYCAR’s Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet, finished eighth, and Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet, finished 10th after a chaotic 80-lap event.
The NTT INDYCAR Series next heads back to Indianapolis for the Gallagher Grand Prix Saturday, Aug. 12. Sharing the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course with the NASCAR Xfinity and Cup series for the racing-packed weekend, Saturday’s race airs live on USA Network at 2:30 p.m. ET. Additional coverage can be found on Peacock, and through INDYCAR Radio and SiriusXM Channel 160.
TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 RACE RESULTS:
2nd Scott McLaughlin
4th Josef Newgarden
8th Pato O’Ward
10th Will Power
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES):
Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“Fourth was pretty decent on the day. I felt like we had a little more charge in the beginning of the race that didn’t materialize. It’s a decent top-five that we can come out of here with and be proud of with the PPG car. There was a little more opportunity that just didn’t materialize in the beginning you know, typical street course stuff. You get used up a little bit at times. It’s just what we always see. It gets tight as everybody knows. I thought it was a really good day for our team, I really thought they executed well. There are some things we got to work on that I think are pretty visible to us. But you know, everyone’s done a great job. Team Chevy always elevates for us. Great job this whole weekend. Thanks to PPG with their support. I think we can leave here pretty happy, but just wishing we had a little bit more.”
On the conditions of the race and talking with Team Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin after the race…
“It’s just hot. It’s humid here in Tennessee. It’s tough to make it through here.”
Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“I really tried my best but just couldn’t get there. On days like today, I probably should have worn the cool suit, but I ate too many pies so it’s a bit heavy for me. The DEX Imaging Chevy was great, and I’m very proud of everyone. There’s another top-three, another very good points day. We were really hoping to get the win. But, you know, we weren’t best today compared to Alex (Palou) and props to him. Hopefully next year we’re on for the championship, and we win, and then we win the championship as well. I felt really good. I’m really proud of everyone. Really proud of the Thirsty 3’s. The pit stops were unreal, and I’m really proud of the effort.”
Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“It wasn’t a very good day. I had to use a lot of fuel after getting in the car late. That stopped us from going an extra lap. We lost a lot of positions in that sequence. I think we went from like third, to like 10th or 11th. I couldn’t find my earbuds or head sock. That is why we were late getting on track. I freaked out because normally there are extras in the bag, but they weren’t there. Not a good situation. I’m going to have like five pairs now. That was as good as we can do today. The Verizon 5G car was good, just some things with strategy stuff. Just one of those days.”
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“It was a tough day in Nashville. I think we were too late in taking our first pit stop; we lost a lot of time there. It’s pretty much a track position race. It’s tough to pass, especially when you have fuel numbers and you can’t really use the push to pass. I’m bummed we went backwards. We’ll collect and try to have a good Indy road course, just look forward to what’s next.”
Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“Tough weekend overall. There was some hope there after qualifying. I thought we had a bit better car than what showed. In the race, I was struggling a lot with straightline speed and with pace. We were able to follow but couldn’t really get by anyone. I got stuck on the outside in that last restart and hit the marbles. It was like going on ice; the tarmac was kind of breaking up at that point. It was a disappointing weekend. We really didn’t have any positives in the race. We tried to gamble on a strategy, but it didn’t work out. It is a weekend to forget for us.”
Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“The good thing is for the first weekend really since Detroit, I had a good race car in the race, so we definitely found a direction, which is what we were really hoping to get coming into this weekend. That’s the positive. There was a bit of a mess out there with Veekay, and then I made a mistake a lap later, brushed the wall, and that kind of ended our day. I’m bummed for the team. That was one of the better cars that we had in quite some time, and we didn’t get anything out of it. We’ll take the good parts from today and move on to Indy next week.”
Gavin Ward, Race Director at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“Obviously, not the day we were hoping for today with two cars that got caught up in incidents. Pato did well to bring it home, but the race really started to fall apart for him when he couldn’t make the Firestone Reds last on that first stint. I was a little bit surprised on how difficult it was to get a stint like that out of those tires, but that’s part of the game.
“It’s a process; we’ll learn from it and get better. It was a tough day. You have to stay positive. With a stretch like this, it’s about the long game and we’ll keep playing it.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
“It was a really tough day, a really tough weekend. We just never really found a set up that worked well. The good news is we were able to salvage some points and get out of here cleanly.”
Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
“We almost had a great day! We went from 19th to fourth and then the contact happened. Got a drive-through penalty, which does not make sense to me. Anyway, it was a big step in the right direction for us and a great strategy by the team!”
Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“Long day. Just fighting understeer, trying to understand the car. I think we had a good idea of what we think went wrong. The biggest thing is towards the end of the race, we had the correct strategy – we did everything right. That last crash, for whatever reason, the reorder was not favorable. It was favorable to those involved in the wreck and not for the people who avoided it. Finished clean, 18th. Moving on to the (Indianapolis) GP.”
Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“Pretty tricky day. Honestly, we had really good pace. At times, we had the same pace as the leaders. Unfortunately, caught a yellow at the wrong moment when the pit light came on. We were on the pit commit line and received that penalty. Really just wrong place, wrong time. Had to do a drive-through, but otherwise, a top-15 was looking really promising starting from the back. We had a lot of promising things. Looking forward to continue this pace into the rest of the season. It’s just been a bit of unlucky lately, but there’s been strong, promising points as well. We’re working really hard to get better and better.”
Callum Ilott, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“I had a really positive race going from 18th at the start to 12th. It was a bit of a strange race because I really didn’t know exactly where I was for about half of it. We did a bit of a different strategy to have me (pit) early to try and gain some clear track. It kind of worked. I think for a while it was touch and go because we had that early yellow which didn’t quite help us. Our pace was good. We kept the car clean which is necessary here at Nashville. Pit stops were good, and we were very happy. So P12, good points. Off to Indy.”
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet – Post-Race Press Conference:
Finishing second today for the second straight year Scott McLaughlin. Second podium in three races in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Third podium of the season. 11th of his career.
Scott, another podium for you, although I have a feeling you wanted to finish one step higher.
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, yeah, I’m disappointed. But it is what it is. I think we had a really fast car today. Just that first yellow destroyed a few things, which is probably going to play. You hope it doesn’t come, but it came. You take it or lose your advantage, try to reset and go again. That’s what we decided, the latter.
Yeah, we did pretty well. We were able to come back a little bit. But overall Kyle just had that little shorter stop that he could do, away they went.
I was trying to do my best to hunt him down at the end. I just had a poor restart. I had no temp in my rear tires for some reason. So annoying. I don’t know what happened. Like I didn’t change my procedure. I’m normally pretty good on restarts, but I was terrible.
Yeah, got to do a little bit of study on that. I think if I was a little bit closer, I might have been able to maybe throw a little dive bomb at him. Unfortunately couldn’t.
THE MODERATOR: The restarts, I’m sure you’re second or triple guessing what you could have done differently.
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, that last one has me a little confused. I felt like I was harder on the tire, whatever. I just think from a sport perspective, though, the restarts are a joke. We need to, like, I think we need to start on the start/finish line. We cannot pass until the start/finish line. You’re always going to have these yellows. You’re always going to have these clusters that cause red flags and make us look like…
Yeah, there’s no cadence. Once there’s a yellow flag on a street circuit, it’s just a free-for-all. People bomb. We’re well within our rights to do that. If we want to have a pure race, we could have had a 10-lap shootout, me and Kyle there at the end. Instead we’re stop, start, stop, start. The action is fantastic. We just have no race.
Q. Scott, they changed the restart zone this year and last year. You just want it to be where the start/finish line is?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I just think everywhere we go, we don’t have to have it for ovals, but I think it happens at Long Beach. We talked about doing it, like, about not passing till the apex of the last corner. At least that.
I think when it goes green, there’s kamikazes at the back and don’t care. Well within their right to throw it inside when it turns green. That’s fine. But we just have this terrible just stop, start, amateur-ish looking finish to races.
I’m going to speak to Jay about it, Novak. We just need to go apex last corner or start/finish line. Just make a point where you can’t pass just to get it going.
Look, I might be wrong. I might crash in turn one. What I’m saying, I’ve done it in Supercars. Formula 1 does it. Other sports around the world do it. It just gets the race going.
Everyone is on cold tires. Someone is going to have a mistake. The guy behind him is going to go, I have a crack. People getting hurt. Rah-rah. I just think it looks amateur-ish, it really does.
Q. At Long Beach, there’s that hairpin that works. Gentlemen’s agreement?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: It’s not a gentlemen agreement. I think VeeKay a couple years ago threw it on the inside, ruined Rahal’s race.
Road America this year, I passed Rahal before the last corner. I felt like a kamikaze. You have to run the rules how they’re run.
It’s just such a simple thing. We move restarts, we do that, we do that. Nothing works until we, like, police it. We have to police something. It pisses me off, it really does.
Q. You said yesterday you felt like last year got away from you. Do you feel the same way this year?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, that’s how it is. I think if I could have got past Grosjean a little bit earlier, put more pressure on Kyle (Kirkwood). I could have passed him maybe before when he was on greens before he pitted.
That’s just how it is. I’m pretty stoked with the result. Bummed that maybe I couldn’t have had too much of a shootout at the end. Like I said, my restart was bad.
Yeah, I probably said too much, going to get in trouble over it.
Q. (No microphone.)
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I don’t know the rule exactly. I decide not to wear one because as well I’ve had one fail in Supercars. It was so hot. It was almost hotter than it was.
The hardest thing today is yellows and red flags. As soon as you stop, it gets 30 degrees hotter right away, knocks you around a little bit.
Yeah, we were good. We were good. No dramas.
Q. Earlier in the weekend some drivers were saying it’s almost impossible because of how crazy it was. Where was this on your ranking of this is going to happen, this is going to happen?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I knew when the yellow came out, that’s kind of the time, the first yellow, where we didn’t want it. I don’t know what plan that was. We knew it would put us in an awkward spot. If it happened lap 21 or something like that, no-brainer. We lose spots, go back to 10th. People are taking it before the yellow, kind of like last year.
But, yeah, it’s hard to plan for this stuff.
Q. To have that long of a run, green flag…
ALEX PALOU: It was 23 laps max last year.
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Maybe we’re learning. Maybe as a sport we’re getting better driving.
Q. Were you surprised by the pace of the race at the beginning or were you just kind of thinking like the guys of NASCAR thinking, that impending doom that something’s going to happen?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I was just sort of driving within myself. I knew it would get to lap 20 or so. Better in clear air on the green tire to control it, look after the fronts, whatever.
But, yeah, I was in a really good spot. I was controlling Pato, saving the fuel I needed. Then I started sort of pushing after the first yellow. We actually gapped them again.
The blacks, brought everyone back to us, the gap we gained. Herta was driving around. It is what it is.
Q. Did you think the race would continue without yellows?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: No.
Q. You’re saying, When is it going to happen?
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: There is going to be a yellow at some point, yeah.
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