CHEVROLET INDYCAR AT LONG BEACH: Team Chevy Practice Report

CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
ACURA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
STREETS OF LONG BEACH
LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA
TEAM CHEVY PRACTICE REPORT
APRIL 19, 2024

CHEVROLET STARTS OUT STRONG ON THE STREETS OF LONG BEACH WITH SIX FINISHING IN THE TOP-10 AFTER FIRST PRACTICE

  • Continuing the trend established in St. Petersburg, Chevrolet occupied the first three positions on the leaderboard after first NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, with six of the top-10 representing Team Chevy.
  • Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, led first practice with his fastest lap of 1:06.6875 seconds.
  • All three Team Penske Chevrolets finished in the top-five, with Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet, finishing second, Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet, finishing third, and Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet, finishing fifth.
  • Christian Rasmussen, driver of the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Chevrolet, finishing his first practice session on the Streets of Long Beach 10th, with his fastest lap of 1:07.2773 seconds.
  • Saturday sees Team Chevy take to the track for second practice at 11:25 a.m. ET, as well as qualifying and the Firestone Fast Six at 2:25 p.m. ET for Sunday’s race on the Streets of Long Beach.

TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 FIRST PRACTICE RESULTS:

1st Pato O’Ward

2nd Will Power

3rd Scott McLaughlin

5th Josef Newgarden

8th Alexander Rossi

10th Christian Rasmussen

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (Quotes):

Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“It was a good first session. I felt like we had good speed right away, which is positive for a Friday. But the track is going to change a lot tomorrow. It’s going to build a lot of grip, but feeling in the mix in qualifying, which is going to be critical for the race. Qualifying up front here is always critical. I got a lot of confidence in the Hitachi crew, and Team Chevy has really brought us something good to work with. All around, I think we’re really encouraged for the weekend.”

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“Pretty good day for the No. 3 Odyssey Battery Chevy team. We rolled out of the truck really strong and that makes the whole day heaps easier. We are in a really good spot for the weekend. Obviously, we showed a lot of pace at St. Pete to start the year. Street circuits were a big focus of ours in the off season so it’s nice to see that work paying off. The goal is to continue building on that, qualify well tomorrow and be up front on Sunday when it matters.”

Will Power, No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“It was a good Friday at Long Beach. Very happy with the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet. We certainly can improve in some areas, driving-wise. I think we are right in the window. Now we have to take that base that we had in practice and apply it in qualifying because that has been an issue. We are really focused on that.”

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

“I think there’s been some track progression. I think it’s a solid half-second at least. The car is in the window, and we’ve been making small tweaks here and there. Some things worked; some things didn’t work. (We’ll) debrief and see where we want to be for P2 tomorrow.”

Théo Pourchaire, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“It felt incredible. I’m super happy to be back driving. The car felt great. Pato (O’Ward) did the fastest lap. I was pretty good on the alternative tires. Unfortunately, I didn’t complete any laps due to traffic, so it’s alright. I’m learning. I think it could have been a good position at the end. It’s good, track is great. The track is really bumpy. It’s really hard physically as well, so I’m really happy.”

You mentioned on the radio you felt your driving getting better, grip improving. Is that a big deal for you?

“Yes, sure. It’s super important for me lap after lap to understand everything. I also pushed the limits a bit, I did one small mistake in Turn 8. It’s good to be able to feel the limits. I love the street course. I enjoy it so much, and I feel like tomorrow is going to be a better day, again as I’m learning quick. I’m happy. The team is helping me a lot. Without the traffic, I think it could have been a great position the end. It doesn’t really matter at the moment, I’m just trying to learn, but I’m super happy. You can tell on my face, I’m smiling all the time.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“It’s good to be back in Long Beach. The car is in the window; I just think we need to fine-tune a couple things to find a little bit of speed. But overall, that was a really good start, and I’m just happy to be back here. I can’t wait to get back out tomorrow and see what we can do in qualifying.”

Gavin Ward, Team Principal at Arrow McLaren:

“That was a good and very productive session. It’s great to see Pato put up a good time on the Firestone Alternate tires, but you have to take that with a grain of salt in a busy, crowded session like that. It’s still a good reference point for the other guys to learn off of, which is always nice. We have a couple things to figure out to unlock a touch more speed out of Alexander, but I think he’s in the mix. I’m really impressed with Théo’s approach through the session. He just kept building up to it. There are a couple corners where I think he’s going to improve on as we keep going, but I’m very encouraged with his approach. There’s a lot for him to learn today, and I told him to just enjoy it, find a rhythm and just keep building. I think he did that.”

Christian Rasmussen, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:

“I feel great about it. First top-10 is very nice, especially on a track I haven’t been to before. I think we rolled out strong. I feel like I got up to speed quick. I got comfortable quick. Thanks to all the time we’ve spend in the Chevy sim. The prep has been good for this weekend, and I think it pays off. I think just having one weekend under my belt, a lot of the firsts are out of the way. My first practice session on an official weekend, my first race, all of that stuff, that kind of takes some of the nerves away. Love being here, love the track, and obviously we were decently quick.”

Romain Grosjean, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“The car felt okay (in Long Beach practice one) in the beginning. We had a mechanical issue towards the end so we didn’t get to run the green tires at the end, but I think we have a decent balance to start the weekend, and I’m excited for tomorrow.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“Much better, much better. This track honestly is really, really tricky. I remember last year the session on Friday, it was complicated, honestly. I’ve been enjoying it a lot. This tricky track because the braking zones are very demanding and you have the wall in front of you, waiting for you. It’s a good track, and we were really good. We were P12 with the blacks. My lap wasn’t good, honestly, with the greens. I can get two or three-tenths more. I’m really happy with the start of the weekend. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN CHEVROLET – First Practice Press Conference Transcript:

THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up day one, practice today. Joined by Pato O’Ward, P1 at practice session.

Pato, your thoughts on day one today.

PATO O’WARD: Really solid start for us in the 5 car. I wouldn’t say it’s quite different to last year. We were really, really strong. Just every other INDYCAR weekend, you have to execute every single session. Every opportunity you have, you have to really see what way you want to go. There’s quite a bit of track evolution, I’d say. Although the times were quicker than I thought.

Q. Pato has said he’s very happy to see the start of the season that you’ve gotten off to, Felix. Now you’re competing against each other, but you always had that bond. How important is that, to be able to share that relationship?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I think it’s pretty simple. We’re always competing against each other. I think still, like if he does a good lap, I can kind of read into it. Like, I know his strengths and weaknesses in a way.

Yeah, like he did his lap today. It’s kind of a good benchmark, when I’m in another team, how you want to set the car up, those kind of things.

Yeah, it’s pretty straightforward: you go out there, you try to beat them.

PATO O’WARD: No, I mean, what he said. I think it’s important to have competitors that have mutual respect for each other. I wish I could say the same for everybody, but it’s clearly not (smiling).

Yeah, he’s one of the good ones.

Q. Pato, you were quickest first session last year, this year as well. Is there any particular style of track where you have found you can make time over your teammates? Is there a spot to attack?

PATO O’WARD: Honestly…

FELIX ROSENQVIST: Turn eight. That’s the corner.

PATO O’WARD: Did you like turn eight? You’ve been watching telemetry.

There used to be a bump there last year. You have to wait after the hump, then come into power. Now that the hump is gone, it’s a lot quicker. That is definitely somewhere where I found quite a bit of lap time compared to last year.

I don’t know, man. I feel like I approach every corner the same. I’m always just kind of flirting with the limit of the car. I mean, I went over it significant amount of times in practice. You have to explore. If you never get there, you leave it to qualifying, there’s more chances for you to screw your lap. You don’t want to be doing that in qualifying.

Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.

About Chevrolet

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands. 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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