CHEVROLET INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS ROAD COURSE: Team Chevy Race Report

CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
SONSIO GRAND PRIX
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA
TEAM CHEVY RACE REPORT
MAY 11, 2024

WILL POWER PUTS CHEVROLET ON THE PODIUM FOR THE SONSIO GRAND PRIX ON INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY’S ROAD COURSE

  • Will Power, driver of the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, raced to a second-place finish in Saturday’s Sonsio Grand Prix.
  • Power powered to Chevrolet’s 313th podium finish in the 2.2-liter twin turbo direct injected V6 era since 2012, and Team Chevy’s 20th on the 2.439-mile road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • With Power’s podium finish in the Sonsio Grand Prix, he now has five podium finishes in the spring event since 2014, and seven total on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn course.
  • Power’s second-place Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course is his 104th-career NTT INDYCAR SERIES podium finish, and 31st career runner-up finish, tying him sixth on the all-time list with Al Unser.
  • Power remains second in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship standings, 12 points back from leader Alex Palou.
  • In addition to Power, his Team Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin, driving the No. 3 Sonsio Chevrolet, as well as Alexander Rossi, driver of the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, represented Team Chevy in the top-10 with sixth- and eighth-place finishes, respectively.
  • Saturday morning’s warm-up saw Rinus VeeKay, driver of the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, lead the Bowtie brigade in third with his fastest lap of 1:10.3889 seconds.
  • Team Chevy shifts their sights next to practice and preparation for qualifying and then racing the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500, with oval practice starting Tuesday, May 14 at 9 a.m. ET. The prestigious Indianapolis 500 takes the green flag on Sunday, May 26 at 11 a.m. ET on NBC.

TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 RACE RESULTS:
2nd Will Power
6th Scott McLaughlin
8th Alexander Rossi

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (Quotes);

Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet:

“Obviously right from the start we had a brake bias failure. So, we started already rearwards, and we ended up being about 70% or more rearwards by the time we got here so it kind of killed our braking. We started to develop a mechanical issue throughout the run that they saw on the data. We thought it was best to retire the car. We didn’t want to hurt anything, obviously, going into the Speedway so it’s just unfortunate. We could be in pretty good shape today but it is what it is.”

Sting Ray Robb, No. 41 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet:

“Today was a bit of a long day. The race went green for most event which was good and bad. We had a really good race start but lost it all pretty early in the race just being on the black tires, we fell back a lot but still net gain which was good. Pit stops were really good. I don’t know if we had a fuel issue, but we had to do a massive fuel save which was a bit frustrating but Chevy did a good job. You know, I think that we held on there at the end for position that was hard to fight for, but it was very rewarding. So, happy with the team, happy with the strategy, and we made some good improvements throughout the weekend. So heads up and on to the Indy 500.”

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

“We didn’t have it today. We’ve got work to do the next two weeks before we’re ready to race again. Luckily we have a lot of time on track to be able to work to where we need to be come race day for the Indy 500.”

Théo Pourchaire, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“That was a tough race. I got caught up in the mess at Turn 1 on Lap 1, went through the grass and found myself in last by the start of Lap 2. However, I came back to finish 19th, which was good. It’s a shame to have lost two positions at the end, but I’ll own it and learn from that penalty. I think we were strong everywhere – the car, strategy, pit stops. I think if we clean a few things up, we can fight for the top 10 and even top five. Thanks again to the team. It’s been great to work with Arrow McLaren, and I can’t wait until I can get back in the car again in Detroit.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“I’m a little disappointed because I think we could have pushed to fifth or sixth. It ended up being more of a track position race than usual around here. We got hit at the start and honestly, I don’t know if there was anything that we could have done differently. It was just one of those days where you kind of end where you started. The team did a great job in pit lane, the strategy was good and overall the balance and the pace was good. It was just harder to go through the field than what I thought, but that is the way it goes.”

Romain Grosjean, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“I think it was quite eventful. We started fast. Had a bit of a mess in Turn 1. I went to the grass to avoid that. Made it back, then was actually making good progress until I met another driver that forced me off the track. Lost quite a bit there. From that point, it was a bit difficult to recover. I feel like if we had a very strong pace. We just didn’t have a strong pace when catching people. We left a bit of time, but all-in-all I think the pit stops were really good. The strategy, we probably were a little bit on the conservative side. Saw people got lucky with the late yellow. We didn’t play our luck. I think P12 on an afternoon where we started P23, and we didn’t really get a good weekend to that point, is a good race for us.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“Unfortunately, I broke the front wing on the first lap. I could not do anything, honestly. The car was, of course, with this problem. I started to lose a lot of positions. We had to change during the green flag, so I lost a lap because of that. It is what it is. It’s part of the racing. We started really well in the weekend. We did P2 in practice, P8 in the second practice, but unfortunately, we were losing time during the sessions. The good thing is we’re showing some good pace at the beginning of the season. We’ll see what happened, and we’ll focus on the next.”

Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“Tough day for the Snap-on Chevy team. We just didn’t have the pace today and we were particularly off on the primary tires. Definitely need to do a deep dive and see where we missed it, but I’m excited to get onto the oval next week. The confidence is high with this team and with Chevy power we know we’ll be in the game for the (Indianapolis) 500.”

Will Power, No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“It was a good run. Alex (Palou) was super quick at the end. We had a shot at him. I just pushed that much on the restart there. Man, he was fast at the end, but we’re just sort of knocking on the door each week. It’d be nice to get a win. You never know how these things play out. All you can do is keep pushing and do your best.”

“This is what was available today. Yes, you do get sick of finishing second. You’re just racing very tough people. If you’re not exactly perfect, you won’t win. I wasn’t exactly perfect in qualifying, and I didn’t win. I think if we had gone longer on that second stint, it would’ve kept (Alex) Palou behind us. He wouldn’t have been able to use his speed. Then, maybe we jump (Christian) Lundgaard on the pit stop. I mean, I don’t know. We thought that was the best option at the time. I thought that too. I thought the undercut would be good. It was slightly cold today, so the overcut wasn’t bad. All you can do is your best. I’m driving really well, and my crew is the best on pit lane. We’re the quickest guys on pit lane, so every time the Verizon Chevy stopped, we had a good shot at jumping someone. That’s actually what happened to get second. I’m looking forward to the (Indianapolis) 500. Chevy has done a very job, and the whole team has done a really good job on everything. We have a good shot at fighting for a pole, and it’s been a long time since we’ve fought for pole, and fight for a win.”

WILL POWER, DRIVER OF THE NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – Sonsio Grand Prix Podium Press Conference Transcript:

THE MODERATOR: Joined now by the driver of the No. 12 Verizon business Team Penske Chevrolet in Will Power with his third runner-up finish of 2024. His 101st career podium, which is fourth all time, breaking the tie that he had set at Barber Motorsports Park a couple weeks ago with Michael Andretti, 31st career runner-up finish, which ties him for sixth all time with Al Unser.

I know you’re already thinking back to the race a little bit. Just your thoughts on a podium finish to begin your month of May here.

WILL POWER: Yeah, I don’t know what else we could have done there. I think that was a very solid day from us. We tried the undercut. It was just a little cooler today where the undercut wasn’t quite as strong. But yeah, we gave it all we got.

Once again, my boys on pit lane were gaining me positions. Actually at Barber, two races in a row, we jumped Lundgaard in a pit stop. But I’m lucky to have them. They’re solid.

It was just a solid day. Just didn’t quite have enough on that restart. I had to lift coming into the last corner, just had too much push. Had to lift, otherwise would have been an interesting battle into Turn 1. I didn’t know whether to go for the inside or the outside but he made it very clear he was going to blow up the inside, so I kind of went the outside. Just wasn’t far enough along to make it work.

Q. All told, you head into the 500 now, and I know it’s difficult to talk about points. Here we are in May. Now 12 points out of the championship. You’re very much in the hunt with a bunch of second-place finishes. This is a decent start for you here this season.

WILL POWER: Not a bad start. Yeah, good start. Only thing we’re lacking is a win. That would have made it a better start to the season.

But we’re there every week. We’re there every week. It’s there to be taken if we do everything perfectly.

I just wish I was a bit more like Dixon where some of them just fall into place for you. Yeah, yellow drops here and you start on blacks. You qualified so you got your reds and da-da-da.

Doesn’t seem to flow like that for me. I don’t know why. Every win I get it’s just the hardest fought win. I’ll take an easy one at some point. I’ll take that, the next one. The next race. If it was an easy, give me — and I got absolutely lucky I would be very proud of that. If I got just a total luck — like the dude should not have won, he wasn’t the quickest, but he did. I’d be like, yes, I’m taking that. I’m taking it.

Q. In lieu of everything that’s happened the past couple of weeks, have you become the steady hand at Team Penske because you’ve been on the podium the last two races, the only driver of the three that’s done that?

WILL POWER: No, I mean, honestly, it has run very well this weekend, even with everything that’s happened. Everyone has got their head down. They’re working hard. Yep, disappointed all that sort of played out. But focusing forward, not even thinking about sort of the penalties.

It is just one of those things. It was a mistake, and it happened. When you’re a top team like Penske, people certainly like to really blow everything up and make a big deal of it, although it was just a mistake. It was actually a mistake. I know, I was testing when the software was put in. It was just one of those things.

Man, I’ve just kept my head down, tried to block out all the noise. Looking forward. That’s my job. My job is to turn up every week and give my absolute best and be professional and race to the best of my ability, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m working hard and trying to get a win but just being smart.

Q. Will, your engineer obviously handled double duty with the strategy. Faustino obviously did really well with that. Do you anticipate it will stay that way the next two weeks? Will he remain in that dual role?

WILL POWER: Yeah, I anticipate he will be at the 500. I expect that to be the case, I think. I can’t see why not. He did a very good job. Didn’t really have any issues. He’s done it for so long — ultimately he has a lot to do with the strategy anyway. He just doesn’t call it.

Yeah, I would expect him to be in that same position.

Q. There was a moment during the race, I can’t remember which pit stop it was, but I think you were behind Marcus Ericsson and it was either Christian or Palou was coming up. Did Ericsson hold you up a little bit there?

WILL POWER: Yes, he definitely — I mean, he’s on the lead lap, right, I’m guessing. So there’s nothing that he did wrong. It just happened to be in that spot. Would be nice if he had let me go. It’s just not — he’s racing, too. If he’s a lap down, yes, that sort of thing is very frustrating, but if you’re pitting into where he is on track, well, that’s on us. We took the risk maybe hoping we would jump ahead of that car. Yeah, that certainly stopped my chance of getting Christian. If he’s on the lead lap, yeah, it’s not on him to let me go.

Q. You said again after this race, Indy 500, Chevy is good, you’re looking forward to it. What gives you all this confidence? I know you did the test, but you’ve been saying that I feel like since the start of the season.

WILL POWER: Yeah, I just know the work that we’ve done. I know that we’ve improved from last year. Put it that way. Just cracked in the top 12 last year, and we’ve definitely improved on that quite a bit I feel. I kind of think that we should — and everyone else had something taken away with those push rods.

I feel like we should be right there. You don’t know. Everyone is working hard, as well. Other teams can improve. I just know that we’ve improved.

Q. Obviously not having two people on your team this weekend but still coming away with the same result that you got at Barber with a second, what kind of statement does this say about your team?

WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, the team just has good people. You can lose a couple and then the slack is taken up pretty easily. I think every stand ran pretty flawlessly even though we’re lacking people.

That’s just the way that that team is. It’s got a lot of depth, a lot of good people. It’s easy to move people around and put them in different positions, and they perform at a really high standard. Not surprising.

Q. Will, at Barber and also yesterday you had mentioned that you’ve been knocking on the proverbial door. At what point does frustration take over, or is it just hey, good points day, we’re only 12 back heading to the 500?

WILL POWER: Yeah, anytime you’re finishing on the podium, it’s a good day. It really is. It’s a tough series. But yes, it is frustrating seeing that it’s right there for you even on a restart. We’re pretty determined. You can only do what you can do. It’s just only so much risk you can take without having a bad day if it doesn’t come off.

Yep, definitely on my mind often to try and win a race, but also fighting for a championship is nice. We’ll see. If you keep knocking on the door like that, I just know eventually you’re going to get a win.

Q. Will, obviously you’ve won a 500 before. You kind of were talking about how you keep getting second, keep getting these podium finishes. What does it take to win a 500 or any race? What does it take?

WILL POWER: It’s got to be a perfect day, man. I remember the day I won the 500 was a perfect day on strategy, pit stops, everything, no mistakes. There weren’t really any mistakes today. It was just circumstance. Qualifying, little mistake puts you on the back foot.

Yeah, just some days if you keep working hard, it just falls together for you at some point.

Q. Will, in football they have a term “next man up.” Do you feel at Team Penske your bench is so deep that your second- and third-string crew members are probably better than a lot of teams’ first teamers?

WILL POWER: Yeah, a lot of depth there. A lot of depth and guys that have been there a long time. It’s a well-oiled machine. You can miss a couple of cogs and it still works.

Q. Is that why this latest bump in the road has been nothing more than a bump in the road?

WILL POWER: Yeah, it’s not a big deal. Not a big deal. It’s disappointing, but just one of those things.

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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