Chevrolet Indycar at St. Petersburg: Team Chevy Practice Report

Chevrolet opened the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season with six drivers finishing in the top-10 of the first on-track session for this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, led the session for Team Chevy, finishing second with a fastest lap of 1:00:8112. O’Ward was followed by Will Power, driver of the No. 2 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet in second, Rinus VeeKay, driver of the No. 21 askROI Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet in fifth to round out the top-five.
Saturday sees Team Chevy take to the track for second practice at 9:35 a.m. ET, as well as qualifying and the Firestone Fast Six at 2 p.m. ET for Sunday’s race on the Streets of St. Petersburg.


2nd Pato O’Ward

4th Will Power

5th Rinus VeeKay

6th Scott McLaughlin

7th Romain Grosjean

10th Callum Ilott


Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“Feeling good about today. The DEX Imaging Chevy fells very good. Between Team Penske, Chevy, and everyone in between we have worked really hard on some things, and we have come out with some pretty strong things, but a lot of hard work is going to have to continue to happen to keep us in the front. INDYCAR is even harder and tougher this year, but I am excited for the challenge. Good first day for us back in 2024 and hopefully we have more coming Saturday and Sunday. “

Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“Yeah, it was tough man, but the car is pretty good, felt good. We made some major improvements where we needed to. We are way more prepared this year and obviously last year coming in, I hadn’t really been able to do anything because my wife was in the hospital, so this year, very determined to be better because I was very disappointed last year.”

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

“I’m happy with the first practice of the year. It was quite a messy session, but I’m glad we got somewhat of a read on both of the Firestone tires. So it gives us some information to look at and prepare for tomorrow.”

Callum Ilott, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren:

“The day was really good. Honestly, I’m very impressed with the team, as with the car. I think it was a good start, and obviously there are things to work on. For me, not having driven (an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car) for a couple of months, it was refreshing. But this team has a good program, and we got through everything that we wanted to. The session was a bit different to what we are used to, but I think we made the most of it. Big thanks to everyone who got me in the car.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren:

“I’m not sure that the split practice really helped anything, but it was a valiant effort to try it. It was hard to get a lap. Our best lap came on the Firestone Primary tire, so we don’t know right now how we are on the alternate. I think, in general, the car feels good and we are starting in a good spot. We will see what tomorrow brings.”

Gavin Ward, Team Principal at Arrow McLaren:

“In my experience, Practice 1 at St. Pete is a tricky one to judge performance off of. Today was no exception. Pato had a pretty good run there at the end. Everyone is feeling pretty reasonable, and it’s always tough in traffic to complete your lap. I applaud the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for trying something new with the split practice sessions, but I don’t think it made it easier to digest today.”

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

“It’s nice to be back after such a long offseason, I think also for all the fans, everyone. It’s great to finally to finally be here. Finished P2 in my group session, and now P5. I’m really happy. The car felt good. I still think we have some time left on the table, but it’s a good start. It’ll make me sleep well tonight and good rest for tomorrow, that’s for sure. It felt good. I really feel like Team Chevy upped their game, and of course Ed Carpenter Racing did a great job giving me a car that’s comfortably fast.”

On Christian Rasmussen and rapport so far…

“I think he’s a great guy. It’s great to have him with me and joining this team. This is my fifth year in the series, so I’m really trying to help him as much as possible, make him get familiar with as much as possible as soon as possible. He’s had a clean session so far, so good for him.”

Romain Grosjean, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“First day back at school and it went really well. This first practice session I think the team did a really good job from Sebring (test session) getting the car in a better window. Chevy has been helping a lot as well with good drivability and then a good car from the engine, so excited for the weekend. I think there’s more work to be done but a good start.”

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

“We started the session with a really good performance. We were P8 with the green tires. Unfortunately, we had a flag when we put on the greens, but I’m really happy with this car. Thanks for Team Chevy and our whole team for a great start to the season.”

WILL POWER, NO. 2 VERIZON BUSINESS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – First Practice Press Conference Transcript:

Right now joined by nine-time pole winner here on the Streets of St. Pete. Finished fourth in that practice session at 1:00.8. Driving the No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet. Two-time winner here at St. Pete. Will power, got it out of the way. What happens the rest of the weekend?

WILL POWER: Just small improvements. Felix is on another planet out there, but everyone else is extremely close. We’ll go back and look at it.

I felt like overall the session was pretty good. I don’t mind that. There’s more room on track and less backing up.

But, good, car feels good. Everything feels calm. When you are fast and things are calm, it’s good. You’ve got a little bit in reserve.


Q. Will, the trade-off is there’s less congestion with the groups, but do you get a chance to really get in a rhythm and try things?

WILL POWER: Honestly it’s a very similar flow to qualifying. You get the ten minutes, so you have to get a run done. Yeah, I didn’t mind it. It’s been very difficult in the past just to get a lap, and each time you went out, you got clear runs. For me I liked the format.

Q. I don’t want to devalue the guy sitting next to you, but I mean, the team didn’t really perform that well without him. Are you surprised how quickly he’s put him up on top of the board?

WILL POWER: Not really. I actually thought he would do really well in that environment. I think, yeah, he’s quick. He’s quick. Doesn’t surprise me he’s been very quick. At the end of last year he’s been coming on very strong, so no surprise.

Q. One for Will and one for Felix. Will, we all know what you had to go through last year in January and February and even December, and you didn’t really have a chance to properly get prepared for the season. Thank God Liz is doing fine and doing better, but how much better prepared, even though you’ve got an allergy right now, do you feel entering the season?

WILL POWER: Oh, yeah, way more prepared. Way, way more than I was last year. I’m fitter, have more miles, and just, yeah, ahead of the game in many ways. Mentally better because you’re not thinking of your family. It’s tough when your mind is somewhere else. My mind is right in the game, right in the game.

Q. One for both. I’ll start with Will. Can you give me a sense of the mood at Team Penske coming into this year? I know you guys won the Indy 500 last year, but you went winless. Josef seemed really frustrated at the end of the year. Scotty won once. Then you have Penske doing so well with NASCAR Championship and the IMSA Team, the WEC Team, the Rolex win. Is there more motivation I guess is what I’m asking? What’s the mood like coming in this year for you and your teammates?

WILL POWER: It’s personal. I think everyone is personally a little different. I’m certainly very motivated to have a strong year after going winless. I was really pissed off about that, so putting a lot of emphasis on that.

Yeah, Team Penske, man, they’ve been right on it the last couple of years. Two NASCAR titles, INDYCAR title, Indy 500, 24-hour of Daytona. So, yeah, it’s expected of that team. It’s expected. You must perform. They’ve got the resources, and you are given the car each week.

I’ve had my head down. I haven’t really been thinking about anything else but competing at a very high level this year. I’ve worked hard, and I’m sure the other boys are in similar situations, and there’s a lot of people in the field that are in contract years and trying to prove points. It will be a very tough INDYCAR season, which is just great.

Q. Will, a couple for you. The first one being, have you noticed any differences in the track in terms of how they’ve eased a few of the corners and then the repitching that’s taken place, has that affected anything?

WILL POWER: Yeah, the track at turn three is a lot smoother. A lot nicer there. They haven’t really changed anything else. It’s all pretty similar apart from that. Yeah, but that was a big problem last year, turn three.

Q. Then just one other thing. Sort of crystal-balling towards the end of the season, this year is quite different to previous years where we’re going to have a bunch of oval races at the end with St. Louis, a return to Milwaukee, return to Nashville. Does that change a team’s outlook on how they prepare cars knowing that you’re going into a stretch of ovals rather than the traditional road courses to round out a championship?

WILL POWER: As far as car preparation, those short ovals street you pretty much run your street and road course cars anyway. Super speedways are slightly different. Indy is where you build a special car. Everywhere else these days are pretty similar. Yeah, the cars, that won’t be a big deal.