Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, will start on the front row in second for Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Just 0.0039 seconds separated the pole winner from Power in second, in what is the tightest front row on a street course in NTT INDYCAR SERIES history, dating back to 2008.
Power, along with Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden represented Chevrolet in the Firestone Fast-Six Saturday.
Scott McLaughlin (fourth) and Newgarden (sixth) finished in the top-six of Group 2, transferring to the fast twelve.
Power finished fourth in Group 1, transferring to the fast twelve and representing Team Chevy.
McLaughlin paced for Team Chevy during second practice with his fastest lap of 1:06.7359 in fifth.
Chevrolet completed second practice Saturday morning with five drivers in the top-10, including McLaughlin, Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Romain Grosjean (seventh), Power (eighth), Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Agustin Canapino (ninth), and Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi (10th).
Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden 200th NTT INDYCAR SERIES event, with 149 of those coming behind the wheel of a Chevrolet.
Sunday sees Team Chevy take to the track for warm-up at noon ET on Peacock. The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach takes the green flag at 3 p.m. ET for the 85-lap, 167.28-mile event on USA Network.


2nd Will Power

3rd Josef Newgarden


Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“The Hitachi Chevy was exactly where I needed it to be. It absolutely had pole-winning potential. I just did not nail the lap completely. Still, a great effort by Chevy and everyone on this No. 2 team. Felix (Rosenqvist), Will (Power) and I were so close in time; almost historically close. We can definitely make something happen in the race from the third position.”

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“As the race approaches, I’m focused on finding the right strategy to stay at the front. I’ll be sending the Odyssey Battery Chevrolet toward the front on the first lap and making sure we have good stops and in-and-out laps, make the right strategic moves at the right times. While luck and good fortune play a role, if we keep heads down and keep working to hopefully find themselves at the front of the race on Sunday. I’m optimistic about our chances for success.”

Will Power, No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“I’ll take a top-six. Just getting back into the Fast Six again is a big deal for me. Working hard on my qualifying, been quick all year in practice, so super stoked to transfer. Obviously, it’s a bit when you miss out by that much, but Felix (Rosenqvist) must have done a phenomenal lap. I couldn’t pick anywhere where I made a mistake. It was about as good as I could do, so it’s cool to get the Verizon car on the front row again. It’s been a long time. We can certainly win from there. You’ve just got to be smart. You can never predict what’s going to happen. We’ll try and get a good start. We’ll try and stay in second and go from there.”

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

“I wasn’t unhappy with it, to be honest. We’re just slow or not fast enough. No real explanation for that. I thought it was going to be fine, at least, to transfer, but I think we went the wrong way in P2 and went back to what we had yesterday, and I just think we missed the window a little bit. I wasn’t unhappy with the car at all, just not fast enough. The race is a different monster, so you try and get it as good as possible for what this race trends to be, which is usually fuel-save, sitting behind the leader kind of thing, unless it starts getting messy with yellows. We just need to focus on that tomorrow and make our way forward with pit stops and all that stuff. It’s a good thing we’ve got a fresh set of greens to use in the race tomorrow, I’d say. I’d be surprised if it’s a black (tires) race. If our race car is good, I can (win). We just need to make sure we get it at that position, and we get it in that window where I can really take advantage of the tools that I’ve got. For now, we just have to really dive in to see what, where we missed it, because it’s not a tenth, it’s three-tenths. It’s quite a chunk here.”

Théo Pourchaire, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“Of course, I’m disappointed because I’m a driver and I always want to do the best job possible. It was my first ever INDYCAR qualifying session. It was really fun. I pushed the limits. That’s not as bad as I thought. Not so far from Pato (O’Ward), and he’s a really good driver. I have to look at the data to understand where I can find some time on him, but overall, of course, it’s the first INDYCAR qualifying. That’s fine. We’ll work hard. We will improve. Tomorrow is the race, so it’s a completely new thing for me.”

What goals do you have now?

“Starting so far back like this, I will just try to complete the race, learn as much as possible on the strategy, on the tire degradation, on the fuel saving. It will be new for me. Hopefully we can grab some positions. I will try to do my best and I think finishing in the top-15 or close to the top-10, that can be a good goal. Let’s focus on the race now. I will work a little bit on the data to see where I can improve, but overall, that was fun and I enjoyed it.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“We’ve had some moments where it was okay but struggling for grip. Not much we could do. It’s not there yet. We’ve been fighting the same problems since we rolled off, and we’ve had glimpses of it being better. It’s not just quite within the window that we need. We need to keep at it and see what we can do to make it better.”

Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet:

“Tough day for everybody on the No. 14 crew. Just fighting some gremlins inside the car, and in this series, it’s tight. It’s hard to lose practice and then qualify competitively with how tight the field is. Overall, some valuable things were learned to move into warm up and then the race tomorrow. Without a doubt, we should be able to advance without any issues.”

Christian Rasmussen, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:

“Our balance on the black Firestone Firehawks was pretty good. When we switched to the green Firehawks, I couldn’t feel the car underneath me as well. It is unfortunate, we have had a strong weekend so far. We will focus on the positives and see what we can do about getting a little bit better on the greens. We’ll do our best to move forward during the race!”

Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:

“I think everyone hoped to be up there a bit further! We were pretty good on the black Firestone Firehawks, but we expected a bit more from the green tires. We have made good decisions so far and have a good plan for the race tomorrow. I look forward to passing some guys!”

Romain Grosjean, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“I think qualifying didn’t really go the way we wanted. I think we had a little bit more pace than where we show on track. It was probably a little bit conservative in the first part of qualifying, and we finished eighth. It was tight, and we didn’t think it would be that tight. We made some set up changes that were not the right ones, but I still think we should have been through. A bit more work to do for the race.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“We were in the worst group because I am only three tenths off on my fastest lap. I made a mistake on the last lap and I lost my fastest lap, but I only lost one position because the next lap was similar. I am three or four tenths off of the leaders. Not bad at all. I think our group is really competitive. We have good cars as we were ninth and 10th in practice. Not as good of a result in qualifying, but I think we have a chance to get good points tomorrow. Both Romain (Grosjean) and I have good cars, but in this INDYCAR it is so competitive.

WILL POWER, DRIVER OF THE NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – Qualifying Press Conference Transcript:

THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up qualifying, we are joined by Will Power (indiscernible).

WILL POWER: That’s been the story of the last two years. One of the data engineers said if we added up all the time you missed getting in the Fast Six, it would be 2/10ths. At St. Pete I missed the Fast Six by 21 thousandths. What was this one?

THE MODERATOR: 39 10 thousandths.

WILL POWER: One day I’m not going to be that far. We had a bunch of poles by 21 thousandths of a second. It ebbs and flows. That’s my experience over time.

THE MODERATOR: Is there a section of the track…

WILL POWER: There was not much left on the table. Like really, I know, every sector… The only thing I could say is a bit into 10 and the hairpin. You’re in the going to see a chunk anywhere. It’s going to be hundredths. That just shows how good of a lap Felix did, how tight it is in this series.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up for questions.

Q. How long did it take for you to nail turn eight after what you went through this morning?

WILL POWER: Pretty much my best on my last lap. Slowly got better and better and better and better. The last lap was the best.

Q. Was the car completely back to normal after the repairs?

WILL POWER: Yeah. All I was doing was damaging the toe link. I was so sideways, it bent the toe link. Done it three times. Just lights up out of there. It’s been (indiscernible). It’s much nicer. Used to have a big hump there. Now it’s really nice and smooth. A really cool corner.

Yeah, not what the boys wanted to do. I felt bad, but yeah.

Q. Obviously turn eight, the change to it, has made it a little bit different. How do you anticipate that affecting things tomorrow?

WILL POWER: Yeah, it’s made it nicer. It just made it so you can get on the throttle earlier, so you have more power when you’re getting out near the wall.

Yeah, I keep testing it. You should lift a little. You’ll crash otherwise.

Q. We have seen continual opposite lock seemingly corner by corner practice and qualifying. You describe why we are getting so much of that. Is it tire, track, both?

WILL POWER: I actually think it’s the right rear we have now. You can actually get away with being a little sideways and not lose time. It’s a more nimble car. You can hustle it more simply.

Q. Will, you come in here clearly having more fun. How much is that a translation into your speed or are you having more fun because you’re faster?

WILL POWER: I’m having more fun because I’m going faster, honestly. I’ve been quick all year, even in testing. Everywhere I have been quick. St. Pete qualifying I didn’t put it together. Went the wrong way on the setup. I have been quick.

Super stoked to be in the top six. I’ve worked pretty hard in the off-season. I’ve continually worked hard my whole career. I’m still working extremely hard on all my driving details, constantly improving and evolving. It’s never ending for me.

Enjoying it. Enjoying it. I love the competition. It’s tough extracting the most out of yourself. Yeah, you get to compete with different eras of guys. The young group will be around for another 20 year. Competing with the middle group, which is sort of Newgarden, Rossi. You have Dixon and myself.

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER: I’m friends with all of them. I like ’em all. You do get pissed off with them at times. You just know that’s how it goes. It’s just tough competition.

There isn’t a guy I dislike in the paddock. I feel privileged to race at this level with these guys. I feel like recently there’s a lot of respect on track. There’s a lot of respect for racing.

Yeah, man, it’s a great situation to be in. You get paid to drive. Great community in INDYCAR. Very nice over here.

Q. Seemed like in a sense you must feel fortunate to get into the Fast Six because there’s so much stacking up in the early sessions. Were there close calls for you? Did you feel like you were fortunate to get in because of the stacking up and traffic?

WILL POWER: There wasn’t any in qualifying. You get a penalty if you do that.

Yeah, in practice it’s always like that here. You just can’t get frustrated. It’s just going to be that way. I was in the pits most of the time (smiling). I didn’t have to deal with it. Kind of helped, I think.

Q. You talked about the new changes to turn eight. Do you see that as a better opportunity to get a run and move going into nine?

WILL POWER: Yeah, it’s hard to say. Will people make mistakes because it has a bit of a weird, like, grip transition? Maybe, yeah. It’s a very open entry. It can do like O’Ward does and just jam it in there, man, jam it in there. You’re going to have to deal with someone after.

Yeah, it’s become a riskier corner to make a pass, to be honest. Used to have a curb there, so you had to slow it up and turn later. It’s a brave corner, I would say. That wasn’t your question, but I’m just putting that in there.

Q. You talked about the difference in the weight of the car at the moment, waiting for the hybrid. Are we going to see some of that translate into the differences of the car for the 500 this year in terms of weight distribution?

WILL POWER: The car we could say will be a long time at the 500 because they’re a bit lighter.

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER: I think my pole will be like 236.5 will be my quickest lap. Averaging in the 35s. Yeah, that’s quick.

Q. Will, what improvements do you feel you have made as a team and yourself in qualifying this year?

WILL POWER: Yeah, it’s a couple of things. I think the engine’s better. I think Chevy did some really good work in the off-season. As a team, we’ve worked hard on street course setups and road course. Overall actually we were kind of disappointed with the season, even though the team won the 500.

Yeah, we’re just stronger overall. I’ve personally worked hard. I’m sure the other two boys, they’re working hard as well. I think it’s all clicking well.