CHEVROLET INDYCAR AT BARBER: Team Chevy Qualifying Report

Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Good Ranchers Team Penske Chevrolet, captured his sixth career NTT P1 Pole Award in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, and his first at Barber Motorsports Park, with his fastest lap of 1:05.9490 seconds during Saturday’s Firestone Fast Six.
McLaughlin’s pole award is Team Chevy’s 129th earned pole in the 2.2-liter twin turbo direct injected era since 2012, and 10th on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course of Barber Motorsports Park.
The NTT P1 Pole Award for the driver of the No. 3 is the 300th pole for Team Penske in NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition.
McLaughlin’s Team Penske teammate Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet, will start from second, giving the Bowtie-brand an all-Chevy front row as the Penske pair leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES field to the green flag Sunday.
Four Chevrolet drivers and teams qualified in the top-10, with McLaughlin in first, Power in second, Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, in fourth, and Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, in eighth.
Chevrolet was represented by McLaughlin, O’Ward, and Power in the Firestone Fast Six at Barber Motorsports Park.
McLaughlin finished first in Group 2, followed by his teammates Power (second) and Newgarden (third), to transfer and represent Chevrolet in the Fast 12.
Of the four Chevrolet teams in Group 1 of qualifying, O’Ward and Romain Grosjean, driver of the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, transferred to the second round to battle for the Firestone Fast Six amongst the fastest 12.
Chevrolet finished second practice Saturday morning represented by six drivers in the top-10, including Rinus VeeKay, driver of the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet in first, Grosjean in second, McLaughlin in third, O’Ward in sixth, Power in seventh, and Newgarden in ninth.
The Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix race day Sunday from Barber Motorsports Park sees Team Chevy take to the track for warm-up at 10:15 a.m. ET. The 90-lap, 207-mile main event takes the green flag at 1 p.m. ET live on NBC.


1st Scott McLaughlin

2nd Will Power

4th Pato O’ward

8th Josef Newgarden


Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet:

“We have a really great car. The team’s done a done a great job this weekend getting things going. It’s hard when you come off the back foot from another weekend and you’re the last pit stall as you have less time in qualifying because you’re the last car out. So, you normally lose about a minute. And we just ended up making it back [to the pit box] and by the time we were fueled and had a set strategy, we were on our fast laps when other people were coming out of the pits. We didn’t have enough fuel to cool down, re-gap and push one more lap. But we have a good car, so we’ll move forward. We’ll definitely move forward.”

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

“I think we did a good job. We made a good step forward. We found something in the car that was not what we expected after practice 2, but after we made that change, it kind of woke the car up a little bit and I feel like it put us in a better window. I underdrove a little bit. So there’s still more on the table with my driving, but at least I know where it’s at now and I can feel what’s going on. So I’m proud of the team. I think that we figured out a lot of issues and we know what direction to go for tomorrow for the race. I think we’ll roll off in the warmup with a pretty good setup and hopefully that correlates to a good race.”

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

“We definitely squeezed out a lot of what the car had in it today. We’ll be starting second row, P4, so I think we’ll be looking good for a strong race tomorrow. We’ll have to get creative on the strategy. Team Penske will be really strong, so we’ll see if we can make our way forward and get ourselves on the podium.”

Théo Pourchaire, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“Everything I learned from Long Beach is out of the window in a way and we’re starting from zero. It’s not easy jumping into new tracks that I am unfamiliar with, especially one of the toughest ones on the calendar here in Barber. It’s a high-commitment track and I enjoyed it. Our qualifying was not too bad until I made a mistake into Turn 12 and 13. I lost most of my time there and thought I could have been much closer to my teammate Alexander. I continue to learn every single day, and tomorrow with the race we will give our best to overtake a lot of cars for a great race. I am a lot better in the races and enjoy managing the tires and saving fuel. Last weekend we were able to push forward, and I think we can do the same, perhaps even better, here tomorrow.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“We missed a lot of lap time, so I think there’s nothing you can do other than try to figure it out. We’re quite a ways off, and in previous qualifying sessions this season, we missed the execution side with a pretty good car. Today the execution was there, but there was no lap time. We’ll look into why we didn’t feel much quicker on Firestone reds. There are a lot of questions. It’s been a pretty tough weekend so far.”

“There’s been several qualifying sessions earlier in the year where there was missed execution and there were things we didn’t do right which prevented us from transferring, but this one seemed pretty good. It’s frustrating when you don’t really have an answer.”

The sun was coming in and out behind the clouds, and when it does that, Group 2 was slower than Group 1. Does the track temperature change and impact things, slow them down?

“Oh, yeah. 100%. But that’s not an excuse. Certainly, you know these cars and tires are very track sensitive, and that’s why I imagine Group 2 was slower than Group 1.”

Gavin Ward, Team Principal at Arrow McLaren:

“Another NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying session and another reminder that it is quite competitive out here. Pato (O’Ward) and the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet team did a great job to squeeze everything out of it today, but we didn’t have the performance to fight for pole. Alexander (Rossi) just missed out on pushing through Q1; a lot of people were in that boat today. Théo (Pourchaire) continues to learn with a steep learning curve in INDYCAR without test time. I’ve been really happy with him, and I know he is still building up to it. We’ll look forward to have a strong race tomorrow.”

Christian Rasmussen, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:

“I think I got a little greedy there in Turn 12, 13. I was on a good lap, and I just wanted to finish it off strong. I think at this point, I just wanted to finish it off a little too strong. I lost a little bit of time in Turn 12, 13 which I think without that, we would have been transferring and in my first top-12. It’s not awesome when you’re that close. But again, it’s my third (time) qualifying. I’m pretty happy with the progression we’re making. We’re getting closer and closer and closer. We’ve had a strong weekend so far, so we’ll finish it off in the race.”

Both of these cars have been good so far this weekend. What’s working well?

“I think we’re starting to build a little more rear security in the car, which is coming in handy, I think. Again, it’s also me getting used to the car. We’re getting better and better, both me and Rinus (VeeKay). Obviously, Rinus had a super strong Practice 2. We rolled off the truck well. Made good changes, and kind of figured out what’s working for us. I think we’re in a good spot.”

Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:

“The car felt good to be honest. It just lost power on the straightaways. We didn’t have the right fix here for it in pit lane. The best thing to do is to fix it overnight and save a set of tires for the race.”

You talk about how much you love it here due to commitment. How much commitment will you have to be tomorrow to pass all these cars?

“We will be. We have to be. That guy right there, “Woody,” he knows strategies. Nothing’s lost. We’ll go for a great comeback, but it just really sucks being the fastest in the practice. Liking this track. I know we were going to be fast in qualifying. We would have definitely made it through here. I would have just loved it so much for the guys to make it through, to give them something back for their hard work. We’ll have to do that tomorrow. I’m so proud of them. It’s nothing they did wrong. It’s racecars. They break sometimes.”

Romain Grosjean, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“I think the whole weekend has really positive for us. We’ve been very fast for Practice 1, very fast for Practice 2, very fast doing some segments of qualifying. For some reason in Q2 on red tires, I couldn’t improve and couldn’t find a pace as much as some. We’re not very happy in P11 on the grid, but I still think it’s not far from the top-10, which is great. We are steadily improving and getting better. I think today we had a shot of doing more, but out of our control, we just couldn’t do it.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“The second practice was much better. I was 13th and it felt good.I was discussing it with Romain (Grosjean) after qualifying and the No 78 car has some work to do with the car tomorrow. Things can happen in racing. The good thing is, we have a long race tomorrow. We are going to try our best and get some points.”

Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet:

What would have helped you advance?

“Just a better lap. I didn’t do a very good job, so we’re going to roll of eighth. Team did a good job though. Had a good PPG Chevy this weekend. Wish we could have got a little bit more out of there. PPG and Chevrolet’s support has been great as always, and just excited to race.”

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“It’s been tough. The Good Ranchers Chevy was so good today, I just want to give these guys and girls on the team an opportunity to be back on the front row and be back on pole. It’s been tough the last couple of races, we just haven’t hit it in qualifying. I’m so proud of that. Super proud of the execution today. Obviously, this means a lot, but we just have to keep focusing like this for the rest of the season and keep working hard.”

How did you find that extra tenth to get by Will Power?

“I don’t know. I sent it pretty hard the last couple of corners. Anytime you get the chance to get a Team Penske front row, that’s the main thing and a great objective for the team. I’m really proud of everyone.”

Talk about getting pole position…

“We wanted an opportunity to be back on the pole, and the Good Ranchers Chevy was great. We’re just proud to get back in this fight, be back in the qualifying and hopefully we can start our championship run this weekend.”

Take us through that flier of a lap in the Fast Six…

“I knew I had to find something because I stuffed it on the first run, but the car was very good the whole session. We hardly changed it. Just a matter of putting it together. Thankfully, the space between the steering wheel and the seat did his job.”

What’s it going to take for the “Meat Wagon” (Good Ranchers Chevy) to bring home the bacon this weekend?

“We’ll just try our best. We’ve got a great car here. I love this place and love the people here. Hopefully, we can put a good show on for the fans. May the best person win.”

Will Power, No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet:

Did you have anything more for your teammate Scott (McLaughlin)?

“Not much. It’s all so close these days. It’s just little bits here and there honestly That’s just the way it is these days. Anytime you are in the top-six in this series, you’ve done a bloody good job.”

On strategy for tomorrow…

“We are always bloody quick. Last week, there was a very unfortunate yellow and we’d already used our good tires up, the soft compound, so we didn’t really have any defense for (Scott) Dixon. But if we keep starting up front, man, it’s going to come. We are going to get a win here. I’m bloody determined.”


THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up qualifying. Joined now by the NTT P1 Award winner, Scott McLaughlin. Getting it done. First pole of the season, sixth of his career.

Scott, saving the best for last at the end. Talk us through that pole-winning run.

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I lost my voice on the way in from the finish line to the pit entry (smiling).

Look, it obviously means a lot. Really proud for Good Ranchers to come back here with another fast car. Ultimately proud for Team Penske. 1-2, it’s quite tough to come by in any series, let alone INDYCAR. Obviously after the week we’ve all had, it’s a nice little reward.

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Will Power. All-Team Penske front row. Second straight front row start. Two-time winner here.

Will, I guess if you’re going to give up pole position for this race, might as well do it for a teammate. Your thoughts?

WILL POWER: Yeah, good bounceback for the team. Man, from the moment we rolled off the truck, the thing’s been great. Really haven’t changed much at all. Felt comfortable the whole time.

Just cool to be back in the Fast Six each week. Felt like we should have done it at St. Pete. Yeah, enjoying it a lot. Enjoying it a lot. Like fighting for poles. Always sucks to miss out by a little bit. At least this is like almost a 10th. The hundredths really hurt.

It’s cool to start up the front. We’re strong in racing. So determined to win a race, man. If I get a sniff of a win, it’s been so long. I’m hanging for that. So starting there gives you a great shot.

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

Q. Scott, obviously you’re on the radio with your crew. They’re telling you Will’s time. How do you balance getting that little extra while listening or reading on your steering wheel? How do you manage that?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: They don’t tell me much. I ask for no lap times. I just go out there and drive basically. I don’t have a predicted lap on the dash like Will or anything. It’s more for me a feel thing, just drive the wheels off it. For me, it’s a process that I go about. It’s an execution.

The car today was just phenomenal. Like Will said, we’ve hardly changed it. When you arrive here, you drop it out of the truck, you don’t have to change it that much, you build more confidence, more confidence, more confidence. You just find the limit, know the limit.

Thankfully the car was really good on that final set of reds. We were able to put her up the front.

Q. Why did you choose to attack twice with red tires this time?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Because we thought it was faster, so we did that. I think pole last year, they did a 2-2 type strategy. That’s exactly what we did, as well. It worked.

Q. Scott, you seemed to gain a lot of time in the 13, 14 section. Was there something there different you did or…

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I had a pretty good run through there. I just love this place. I mean, Will does, as well. I think it’s a matter of just putting it together.

I knew on my first flyer I didn’t quite nail that part of the track. I had a little bit of a time left up in me. I knew if I could just nail the first part of the lap, then get to 13, sort of send it through there. It was really just see what happens when I turned right into there. It worked. Yeah, it was all good.

Q. Will, you were kind of handicapped last weekend going with the 2-2 reds situation. In that same boat now going into the race. What’s the tire situation here?

WILL POWER: That is true. That is true. But you sort of have to take that hit to go for a pole. It’s either sit back and save…

Yeah, could have saved the first set maybe. I only put one lap on ’em. Yeah, it is what it is. We’ll start up front is what matters, man. It just does, big-time.

Q. I believe I heard a stat 114 front row starts out of 288 races.

WILL POWER: That’s not bad (smiling).

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: 300 poles for Team Penske, and he’s had ton of them.

Q. Starting up front is more important than the tires?

WILL POWER: Yeah, big-time. That was the problem last year. Even the year I won the championship, yeah, was just on the back foot from qualifying. I focused on that pretty hard this year. It makes things a lot easier.

Obviously it didn’t last week. Like if I qualified eighth or seventh, it would have been nice because you’re saving your green tires, starting on the hard compound. Literally that yellow last week fell just as bad as it could from that perspective, yeah.

Q. Scott, same thing on the tire situation. Do you feel comfortable?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Got to live for the now. That’s exactly what we did.

THE MODERATOR: Scott, all those poles means he’s been around for a while.

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Still bloody good.

Q. Will, I was wondering if anything sort of clicked in qualifying this year compared to last season.

WILL POWER: Yeah, man, we worked pretty hard in the off-season on the car. Chevy has improved, for sure. Last year was tough for me. I just wasn’t all there because my wife was sick. The preparation for the start of the season wasn’t good. I was constantly in the back of my mind worried what might happen, whether I should even keep racing or not. Once you have a kid, do a dangerous sport, if my wife is sick, what if something happens to her, I’m doing this. I was sort of juggling that last year.

Just all in right now, as I usually am. Just a weird circumstances. Unfortunate circumstance last year.

Q. Scott, you ended last season with seven front rows in the last eight races. What’s clicked for you compared to your two teammates?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, the last couple races we just probably haven’t nailed qualifying. Circumstances and mistakes by me, whatnot. We’ve been through to Q2, just missed the Fast Six. It’s nice to nail and get our first Fast Six of the year and put it on pole.

Yeah, ultimately it’s so hard to just continually be up the front in the sport. You’ve got to put everything into it. As Will shows, if you had a little bit of adversity or whatever it is, it’s very hard to keep track, keep focused.

But we’ve all been working together really well. I think we’re really pushing this team forward, along with Team Chevy. It’s nice to turn up to the racetrack knowing you can have a really good shot at a win or a pole every time.

Q. With the events of the last week, is there an extra motivation to go out there and prove yourself again tomorrow?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Look, just take it as it comes. Ultimately, we’re always out there to win. Yeah, look, like I said before, it’s been a tough week, but it is what it is. We’ve moved forward.

We’ll just keep starting our championship I guess comeback we would like to say and do the best we can. The best thing we can do is continue getting poles and hope to get a win, but we know it’s going to be hard.

Q. Scott, a lot of people were commenting about the variation in cloud cover and temperature, track temperature. Did you feel any of that at all? Changes and variations in the track temperature.

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, the sun is pretty strong here. It’s quite hot here at the moment. Certainly there were times where we had a lot of cloud cover and times where we didn’t.

I think it probably affects more for me the newer tire, track temp, how the car feels. On those two runs it felt pretty similar at the end there.

Q. I noticed how aggressive you need to be before you get to the demarcation line. That’s a tricky section to negotiate during the race, isn’t it?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, it is, particularly if someone is not pitting. It’s quite a wide entry, late apex to turn 16. You sort of have to wait on people, especially if you are behind them, so you don’t hit them.

It’s a wicked track here. Someone from Australia, New Zealand needs to come and check it out because it’s really cool. A lot of camping. It is great for the fans. The fans can watch from everywhere, too. We have a blast here.

Q. Will, last week at Long Beach you said how quick these cars are, you felt you’re still on for a front row lockout at Indianapolis. Do you still feel that way?

WILL POWER: I certainly do, yeah. Just like I said, I’d be shocked if one of our cars isn’t fighting for pole at Indy. Done a lot of work. We’ve been quick everywhere. But in particular we’ve done a lot of work for that race.

I think we’d all be a bit disappointed if one of our cars wasn’t on the front row, but I think fighting for pole.