Will Power put the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet on pole for the fifth running of the INDYCAR Grand Prix (IGP) on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). It is the 51stcareer pole for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) champion that puts him third all-time behind AJ Foyt (53) and Mario Andretti (67).
It is the third IGP pole for Power. His two previous number one starting positions-2015 and 2017- on the IMS road course resulted in wins.
Also making the Firestone Fast Six in their Chevrolet 2.2 liter V6 powered cars were Jordan King, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet who will start fifth, and defending Series’ champion Josef Newgarden, No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who captured the sixth starting position.
Other Team Chevy drivers will start as follows:
Simon Pagenaud 7th
Spencer Pigot 9th
Helio Castroneves 10th
Tony Kanaan 12th
Max Chilton 16th
Matheus Leist 21st
Gabby Chaves 22nd
Charlie Kimball 23rd
Kyle Kaiser 24th
Robert Wickens, Sebastien Bourdais and James Hinchcliffe (all Honda) completed the top six contenders that made a run for the pole.
ABC will telecast the 85-lap race on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course live at 3:30 p.m. May 12. The race also will be broadcast on INDYCAR Radio Network affiliates, RaceControl.IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com, the INDYCAR Mobile app, Sirius 214, and XM209.
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER: “We did have to dig deep. That was everything I had. We made a downforce adjustment after the first round when we saw how fast the other guys were, and kind of got close to them. Then, on used tires the car was really good. I’m stoked, really stoked.”
JORDAN KING, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 5TH: “The added time I got to practice here before the INDYCAR Grand Prix definitely helped me. We did a whole day of testing beforehand and the first lap this morning, I was straight up to speed where normally it takes a couple of runs to really get into the circuit and learns it’s characteristics. I didn’t need to do that today! It was a good start, really. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised on where we qualified. I’ve been focusing on doing my job and doing it at my own speed!”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED “The big thing was getting in the Fast Six for us. Unfortunately that was kind of my goal. We’d been in the top 10, just kind of hovering in it. We haven’t been super strong this weekend, been kind of tentative throughout. So he put in a good lap, so congrats to him. That was a good lap he did at the end. I think we would have been okay. Happy to be in the Fast Six. I think that’s good for us tomorrow. We can work with that. We’ve just got to keep trying to chip away and find our speed, and we’ve just been missing it this weekend for whatever reason. I think we’re getting there. We made some progress in qualifying, we just have to keep going and make it last for tomorrow now.”
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 7TH: “The Menards team this weekend has made major improvements with the racecar. I’m quite happy. I feel like we’ve made such a big improvement. Coming back, I’m a little disappointed. I think the car has more pace and I think we can challenge for the pole. We managed to save a lap on the first set of red Firestones. For the Fast Six, we would’ve been really good. It is what it is. It’s going to be good racing tomorrow and we’ve got a fast car.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 PREFERRED FREEZER SERVICE ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 9TH:
“Starting inside the Top 10 is nice! We can definitely race from there, hopefully staying clean throughout the first lap and pick up a few positions. I’m happy with the Preferred Freezer Services Chevy. We had a good first round of qualifying. Once we got to Round 2, it felt like we picked up a bit too much understeer. That cost us, but overall, the car is good and we should have a good race!”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 10TH: “It’s been great to be back. It is definitely a different car, but my Verizon Chevy machine looking strong! We did a lot of adjustments in one session to try to capitalize. We have nothing to lose. So instead of being conservative, we just took a chance, unfortunately it wasn’t the right direction. Good job from everyone to keep pushing. Now we have a race tomorrow. Starting in the top 10, it’s not that bad. We started 9th and finished on the podium. So we start one position back might get us a victory!”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 12TH: “Today was a big improvement from our performance at Barber. They are quite similar race tracks so I’m quite pleased with the performance of our car today. On the last qualifying run, we tried something different. I made a little mistake that cost us two-tenths of a second. I didn’t match my lap time from Q1 (qualifying round 1). You cannot afford to lose two-tenths in this series. We have a good car and I believe that we can fight to the front tomorrow.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 16TH: “Considering we’ve never been here before and other teams who were testing here last month on the road course finished behind us, I’d say we’re doing okay. I really thought we had a little chance of scraping through to the fast 12, especially with my last lap time, but it’s hot and windy out there and I didn’t get a perfect lap with the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet. Unfortunately I don’t think many people got a perfect lap though so everyone is going to be saying that they had a little bit left. Regardless, I’m really happy with the progress we made in such a short period of time.”
MATTEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 21ST: “Qualifying was a bit difficult. We’re still struggling with the setup of the car. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s race. It’s a long race, and I am hoping I can move forward from where I am starting. Hopefully, the entire team has a great result tomorrow.
We are struggling while on black tires. When we have black tires, the car feels loose. If we can figure out this issue, we should be in a good place for the race tomorrow.”
GABBY CHAVES, NO. 88 HARDING GROUP HARDING RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 22ND: “It’s an obviously disappointing qualifying session to end up where we did. We did improve the car a bit and I think the good thing is that came from this session. We’ve taken a step towards the right direction and now we are getting ready to go over some data to see how we can make it even better for the race.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 23 TRESIBA CARLIN CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 23RD: “Today was a big improvement from our performance at Barber. They are quite similar race tracks so I’m quite pleased with the performance of our car today. On the last qualifying run, we tried something different. I made a little mistake that cost us two-tenths of a second. I didn’t match my lap time from Q1 (qualifying round 1). You cannot afford to lose two-tenths in this series. We have a good car and I believe that we can fight to the front tomorrow.”
KYLE KAISER, NO. 32 NFP JUNCOS RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 24TH: “So obviously, not the result we were hoping for in qualifying, but overall, I’m happy with the progress we made today. We didn’t get a chance to test here, so it was our first time rolling out here. From where we started to where we ended today in qualifying, we made huge strides. We tried stuff we have never tried before and got really good data, which will be useful the rest of the season. I’m happy with the overall effort and all of the work the team has put in with the changes, so we can get a good read on the car. I think come race time, we will have a pretty good race car, and hopefully, we can work our way through the field and come up with a good finish. I know it’s important to log in as many laps and get as much experience as we can, so that we just get better.”
IndyCar Media Conference
Friday May 11, 2018
THE MODERATOR: We will get started with today’s Verizon IndyCar Series post-qualifying press conference for the IndyCar Grand Prix. Joined now by two of our Firestone Fast Six, Robert Wickens, driving the No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and also reigning champion Josef Newgarden, driving the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
Josef will be starting sixth in tomorrow’s IndyCar Grand Prix. Josef, I know that it’s a good qualifying day for you but probably not quite where you wanted to be in the Firestone Fast Six, but take us through your qualifying session and ultimately how you ended up with this result.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I mean, I think the big thing was getting in the Fast Six for us. Unfortunately that was kind of my goal. We’d been in the top 10, just kind of hovering in it. We haven’t been super strong this weekend, been kind of tentative throughout. So he put in a good lap, so congrats to him. That was a good lap he did at the end. I think we would have been okay.
I think we probably had third or fourth potential. I don’t know, we ran out the one lap, had a huge lockup in Turn 1 with the rear, and then just didn’t really get to finish it. Not ultimately where we would have landed, but I think we were in that third or fourth range, so happy to be in the Fast Six. I think that’s good for us tomorrow. We can work with that. We’ve just got to keep trying to chip away and find our speed, and we’ve just been missing it this weekend for whatever reason. I think we’re getting there. We made some progress in qualifying, we just have to keep going and make it last for tomorrow now.
Everyone has done a good job. It’s good to have a good Verizon IndyCar, and hoping to have a good weekend tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: You also have two teammates that have been quite dominant here on the IndyCar Grand Prix circuit. Does that ultimately add to the data information and add to the success of your car potentially?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Oh, yeah, it’s always good to have good teammates. All the guys, it’s good to have Helio back. He’s got something to contribute all the time, so we always have a wealth of information to look at. The trick is making the most of it. We’ve got a lot to look at. You’ve got to pick it apart and take what’s good, kind of ignore the bad but not let it overload you as far as trying to learn too much.
It’s a good problem to have most of the time. I’d rather have more than not enough, so yeah, it’s just you’ve got to manage it the best you can, but yeah, we have some of the best. Will has always been strong here, same with Simon, so we’ve got a lot of good data to look at.
THE MODERATOR: Jordan King, driving the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for the team, starting fifth in tomorrow’s race, also making his second Firestone Fast Six appearance, his first in St. Pete. Jordan, you were saying that this track was one of the first tracks that you actually got to test on prior to coming here. Do you feel like that added time really helped you?
JORDAN KING: Definitely, so after we did a whole day testing beforehand and the first lap this morning, I was straight up to speed. Normally it takes a couple of runs to really get into the circuit and learn the little characteristics, but I didn’t need to do that today, so it was a good start really.
THE MODERATOR: Joined now by our pole winner Will Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Will’s third pole here at the IndyCar Grand Prix and his 51st all time, which brings a tie for third on the all-time poles record list. You also mentioned that you had a rough time at Barber and maybe unsure heading into this race. What do you think came together, and it’s obviously a race you feel quite confident on because of your success here.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean — yeah, we just obviously had a rough start to the season, but we’ve been quick everywhere, started in the front row pretty much every race except for Phoenix. Yeah, we’ve been strong, just very disappointing the way have gone how it flows sometimes, and not changing anything. I know I’ve got the speed and we can put races together. Yeah, very stoked to start P1. Definitely a hard fight, a lot of really quick guys here and very good teams. Yeah, good start.
Q. For whoever wants to answer this, how surprised are you that there’s some big names that didn’t make this Fast Six? It just kind of shows how competitive the series has gotten, especially in qualifying, there’s no Pagenaud, no Dixon, no Graham Rahal, and historically they’ve driven pretty well in this race.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I’m not surprised at all. You look at the competition, the guys that are up here, it’s totally expected. Young guys are coming in, rookies are really fast, and obviously guys that have been around a long time and won championships. I mean, it’s just the tightest field there’s ever been in IndyCar, and the level of the teams is the best it’s ever been, so it’s no surprise the way it is right now.
Q. Will, what does it mean to you to be third all time pole winner in IndyCar history? Where does that rank on your mantle?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I haven’t really thought about it. It’s obviously a lot of hard work goes into qualifying, just it’s something I really enjoy, but yeah, I’d love to make it to the top. That would be — I think it’s Mario, like 60 something. 51 is it?
THE MODERATOR: 51.
WILL POWER: Oh, 51.
THE MODERATOR: Yeah, you have 51. Just 16 to go, no big deal.
WILL POWER: 67, no one is going to beat that.
Q. Will, was it always your intention to do three laps in qually in the Fast Six? Did you run two sets of tires?
WILL POWER: I did two laps Fast Six. I just did one and one.
Q. Yeah, on two different sets —
WILL POWER: Oh, yeah, two sets. Yeah, that was the plan. I felt like that would give me the best chance because I think if you went two laps on one set, you’d probably lose out on the second lap, but yeah, the tire hung on really well. It felt as good as a new.
Q. Will and Josef, the past several years at this race, passing has been difficult, so I’m curious with the new universal aero kit, do you expect there will be more passing, more competition?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it definitely is easier to follow. Yeah, and I think there will be more mistakes, especially it’s hotter and the cars have less downforce. Yeah, I think so. I think, you know, when we raced here with the original DW12, there was a lot of passing and tires went off, and you could get a good run on people because they’d make a mistake in the last corner, which last year was easy wide open every lap, so yeah.
Q. One for Jordan. With two Fast Sixes in your first four IndyCar qualifying attempts, are you ahead of where you expected to be at this point or have you surprised yourself?
JORDAN KING: I wouldn’t say I’ve surprised myself. I’m more just focusing on doing my own job and doing it at my own speed, and it’s proven to work. It’s not so much that I’m constantly looking at the timing and scoring and seeing where I am, I’m just getting on with it, and where I end up is where I end up.
Q. And for Will, you’ve got a lot of fast young drivers in the series this year that are pushing you pretty hard, but you’re still the master when it comes to poles. How satisfying is that?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely satisfying when you get a pole like this. You’ve got to work so hard for it these days, so when you get one, you’re pretty happy because you’re beating I reckon the best guys in the world. Yeah, I like to give the young blokes a hard time when I can. I hate saying that now because I don’t class myself as old.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: We do. Everybody else does.
Q. Jordan, I’m not sure if I saw this correctly, but it seemed to me, maybe it was the top six that you didn’t go out until there was less than a minute, and I was just wondering if you had just a lot of confidence in your ability to do that and whether you were saving tires for the race. I’m just wondering what the thinking was behind that. You’d be under a lot of pressure to do that with only like one run basically?
JORDAN KING: What, in the first session? Oh, in Q3. Yeah, so in Q3, I didn’t think we waited that much later than anybody else, but no, I was quite confident. I thought we would be a bit higher up after Q2. It felt good, felt like we had some good margins. But on the used tires I just couldn’t quite switch them on in the same way and get the lap time out of it. So yeah, maybe we hindered ourselves a little bit there by being a bit confident, but I didn’t see it being a problem.
Team CHEVY PR/FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports