Chevrolet Indycar at Detroit: Team Chevy Race Report
Proving both exciting and tricky from green flag to the checkered flag, Chevrolet raced to two of three positions on the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix podium in the hometown event for General Motors.
As the race returned to the streets of downtown Detroit for the first time in 32 years, Will Power, driver of the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finished second, and Felix Rosenqvist, driver of the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, finishing third.
Discussing his race day and the tight racing that occurred, Power reflected on the 100-lap event saying, “It was a great day. Had a good strategy there with the red tires and tried everything to get (Alex Palou). Unfortunately, I didn’t know (Scott) Dixon was on my inside. I didn’t see the replay. I hope I didn’t do any damage to him and affect his race. Great day for the Verizon Chevy. Would love to get one step up on the podium.”
Also discussing tight racing with Arrow McLaren INDYCAR teammate Alexander Rossi, driver of the No. 7 Chevrolet, Rosenqvist noted “It was tight at the end, maybe a bit too tight for comfort. Unfortunately, we were in the situation now with Arrow McLaren that we’re fighting each other at the front almost every weekend. It’s a good problem to have, let’s say. Obviously, we don’t want to put each other into the wall or anything, but we raced each other really hard a couple of times, me and Alex (Rossi) all season.”
Further discussing the first event underneath the shadows of General Motors World Headquarters in over three decades, Rosenqvist said, “They did an awesome job here with this race at the waterfront in Detroit. I think it was a good show for the fans. They put this together in a pretty short time, so I’m just super happy to be part of this race.”
Up next for the Team Chevy drivers and teams is the Sonsio Grand Prix of Road America Sunday, June 18. With 55 laps, or 220.55 miles, determining the winner in Wisconsin, the race broadcast airs live Sunday starting at 1 p.m. ET on USA Network. Additional coverage is streamed by Peacock, and also with radio coverage from INDYCAR Radio and SiriusXM Channel 160.
TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 RACE RESULT:
2nd Will Power
3rd Felix Rosenqvist
7th Scott McLaughlin
10th Josef Newgarden
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES)
Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“I’ll be honest I’m ready to get to Nashville, hang out with Kota and Ashley and rest for a couple days. It’s been a long week where I wasn’t able to fully tune into the team. For us to come here – a brand new circuit, make the Firestone Fast Six and have a shot at a top-five finish shows the makeup of this Hitachi Chevy team. It got a little rough out there at times and we were on the receiving end of it, but you’ll have that on a street course. That stuff always comes back on you, like it did later in the race. Aside from all that, to see what kind of event this city just put on is incredible. There will be key learnings that are taken away to make it better for the future, but everyone involved should be thrilled with how the first year came off.”
Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“The incident with Grosjean basically destroyed our day. Getting into turn 1 – pit exit is a little bit awkward, but he just drove straight for the apex. I was already committed, braking as deep as I could, and he just drove straight to the apex. I had nowhere to go. It’s the duty of all of us to get out of that area cleanly and I don’t think he cared where I was and turned across my nose. It is what it is. That Gallagher Chevy was fast. We hammered through those last few restarts. I think we started 12th and came through to seventh. It was definitely a reasonable recovery but overall, pretty gutted with the day.”
Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“It was a great day. Had a good strategy there with the red tires and tried everything to get (Alex Palou). Unfortunately, I didn’t know (Scott) Dixon was on my inside. I didn’t see the replay. I hope I didn’t do any damage to him and affect his race. Great day for the Verizon Chevy. Would love to get one step up on the podium. Seconds aren’t what you look back on when you lose a championship. You had to be aggressive (today) to keep position and get position. This is IndyCar these days. So tough, so many good drivers. You fight for every inch.”
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“Well, I got into the marbles when I had to get by Santino (Ferrucci) because if (Alex) Palou would get us we were going to go a lap down. My push-to-pass was disabled, as expected, because we were lap down. I was pretty boxed in as to what I could do, and it was either race over or trying to get passed but ended up being raced over. It is what it is. Honestly, our race went upside down on that pitstop and all downhill from there. We’ll move on to Road America.”
Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“I mean, I was on the inside and (Alexander Rossi) squeezed me quite a lot on the first apex. I had to run into him otherwise I was going to clip the left wall, and on the exit, you’re just racing out of the corner. I think I was a fair bit ahead, so he played it hard on entry and I played it hard on exit. So I think it was fair. We’ll discuss it. It’s never optimal to do that with teammates, but if you race hard, you have to race hard back. It’s all good. It’s always tough out there in IndyCar. I shouldn’t be ashamed of being elbows out. I think it was all fair play. It’s tough. Obviously, I don’t want to race teammates too much, it’s never fun, but that’s the way it is. That’s IndyCar.”
“It was tight at the end, maybe a bit too tight for comfort. Unfortunately, we were in the situation now with Arrow McLaren that we’re fighting each other at the front almost every weekend. It’s a good problem to have, let’s say. Obviously, we don’t want to put each other into the wall or anything, but we raced each other really hard a couple of times, me and Alex (Rossi) all season. Unfortunate and good at the same time but I was happy to see he didn’t fall back too much in the field. He was struggling a bit after the restart and we were quite a bit quicker. I was on the inside, and he gave me not enough room on the entry, and you know I think he played it hard on entry, I played it hard on exit so it was kind of fair, I’d say. We, obviously, don’t want to have that situation. It’s something we’ll talk about internally.”
"That was a hell of a race, I’ve got to say. They did an awesome job here with this race at the waterfront in Detroit. I think it was a good show for the fans. They put this together in a pretty short time, so I’m just super happy to be part of this race. Arrow McLaren, we were up there fighting for the podium again, so it’s just phenomenal."
Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“I mean, it's tight. We all knew it was going to be chaotic around here, but I think the race went on very well from our side. Starting 13th, we had a hole to dig ourselves out of. The team did a great job from a car setup standpoint, strategy was great stops were great. We kind of inherited second when there was a bit of a melee, and then we just ended up kind of back where we started. So, we struggled to switch tires on restarts, we'll look into that. And yeah, taking our top-five and move on to Road America.”
“I mean, I really enjoyed this whole weekend. You know, I think, you know, the city of Detroit and Penske Corp and GM did an amazing job with this facility and the fan turnout was amazing. So I know there was a lot of kind of suspicions going into it, but I thought it was a good race. In certainly next year, we'll have a better idea of what we need to do to be better but you know, I think that was another classic IndyCar race and hopefully everyone enjoyed it.”
Conor Daly, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
"After sorting through some of that chaos at the beginning of the race, we weren’t bad. We were trying to run with Rinus (VeeKay) but had to switch to the other strategy pretty quickly. We just lost out a little bit on some of the strategy side of the race. At the end, the car was good enough to make some moves on some people and try to improve our position. Not the most fun racetrack, but we salvaged something today. This is one of of our better street course finishes in a while, so that is good."
Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
“I worked pretty hard and was in the Top 10 quite a bit. On the last restart, I was hit from behind and lost momentum. I had to go on the defense there and got too many marbles on my tires, then I couldn’t turn anymore. It was tough. I struggled to keep my car on the track, which I did, but it was only enough for P18. There was way more in the car. I am very bummed. I learned a lot and it is nice to have a weekend off before Road America."
Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“Very uneventful day for us in the 14 Chevy. Brake bias adjuster broke probably first or second stint. Just got locked out at 63 percent. Nothing I could do, just lost all front grip, calipers got hot, pedal got really long. So it just made it for a difficult day. Just need to regroup after this weekend and figure out where our car is at and move on to Road America.”
Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“Pretty eventful day. Honestly, it was looking really good. We were on track to likely get into the top-10. Unfortunately got caught up in a collision with other cars with some tricky circumstances that happened on the track that were out of my control, and ultimately led up to a bit of collisions. We’ll look into why that happened, but we were able to get the car restarted and going right away. The team did a great job recovering, and making changes right away in pit lane. P20 in the end, ahead of quite a few guys who are around me in the championship, so we’ll move up a little more. It’s a little bittersweet today, because we had very good pace. We’re coming forward with the set up, we just need a little luck to come our way. On to Road America testing and the next event.”
Callum Ilott, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“Pretty premature end to our race. I feel quite bad. Just misjudged it on the last part of the braking. The cars in front, unfortunately it was Kyle (Kirkwood), and I clipped his wheel and took off. To be fair, I wasn’t carrying too much speed compared to him, but as soon as I hit the wheel, it took off. Big shame. Sorry to the team and to Kyle (Kirkwood). I think we would have had a good result. The car was quick. I felt quick in warm up, so big shame but you live and learn, and on to the next one.”
Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“We did a great race today. I’m really happy and for the guys, the team, that was really good racing because we crashed on Friday, and now we finish P14. Doing really good, a lot of good overtakes, fighting with some guys at the top teams. I’m really happy for the rest of today.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST, NO. 6 ARROW MCLAREN CHEVROLET, and WILL POWER, NO. 12 TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – End of Day Press Conference:
THE MODERATOR: We are joined now by the second-place finisher and last year's winner of this event, Will Power.
Second podium of the season for you. Some craziness there at the end. Pleased with your podium today?
WILL POWER: Yeah, very satisfied. Good strategy. I mean, starting on the blacks, everything played out as we thought. I guess we were worried when the yellow came. Everyone packs up. But then we got a yellow again, so that kind of helped us. We had 10 laps to push hard. I got Palou on the restart. Then they went off, he got me back. Yeah, I couldn't get him. I tried everything.
I think my one chance was when Dixon got into me a little bit, I was trying to switch back and get a run, get him into four. Apart from that, yeah, the next restart was in third so I didn't have another shot at him.
Very good job. Man, you're never looking back on seconds as a bad day. Although the guy I was needing to close points to was the guy that won. We limited the damage.
THE MODERATOR: Consistency was your key last year, too.
WILL POWER: Yeah, that's why I kick myself for the tiniest mistake at Indy. Caught me a chance to win. Just got the wall. That was a big chunk of points.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Will Power.
Q. Was that one of the most aggressive drives you've had in the last couple years? When you were coming up through the field, it was pretty fierce.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, no, pretty measured moves. But yeah, I was never going to do something that I didn't feel was going to be pulled off. I've been around too long to try that.
Yeah, we're in the situation to be aggressive. That's why we start on blacks. We're too far back to try to play conservative. We've got to attack every chance. That's why I'm trying to do as hard as I can right now.
Q. Went up on two wheels there. It was obvious what you were trying to do. What comes over you guys going into a turn like that with a race on the line?
WILL POWER: For me, it was just trying my absolute best to get Palou in a clean way. I wasn't going to do any sort of dive bomb.
Yeah, as it gets down to it, depending on who's in the game, obviously Palou had the most to lose because he's leading by a chunk, but there's a few guys in there that don't have as much to lose. I was one of 'em. I'm thinking in my head I've got to try to get this guy, if I can, to limit the damage.
Q. Do you ever think, We put on a heck of a show?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I did. I said it coming up the elevator, It's a pretty good race from the outside. Some pretty big moves in there from people. I can't imagine what it was like back in the pack. Looked like it was a great race.
THE MODERATOR: Also joined by the third-place finisher, Felix Rosenqvist. First podium of the season, fifth of his career.
Felix, great way to finish out this weekend for you.
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, that was an awesome race. I have to say, I was really impressed what GM and Chevy have done to make this happen. There was some criticism to start the weekend, but it all played out really nicely. I have to say it was a fun racetrack, it raced really well.
That long straightaway, we picked a low downforce option and we were able to pass on cars at the end of the straight. Yeah, it was awesome. I thought it wasn't going to be a lot of passing, but it raced super well. Big thanks to GM and Chevy.
Yeah, good race. I thought it was good to be back on the podium. It's been a while. We'll take that.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.
Q. Will, when you won last year at Belle Isle, you used the alternates on the last stint of the race. What was the reason you went for the alternates the second stint this time around?
WILL POWER: Yeah, to protect from losing too much 'cause if they happen to go off badly, you have a full stint, the last stint was going to be the longest because you're always going to pit on the early side and save fuel for the chance of getting caught by a yellow and the pits are closing, you're done, everyone's got you. That was the reason.
Try to minimize the amount of laps basically.
Q. Felix, how great is it you have the momentum coming in now going into Road America?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: I think we needed it. We've been pretty much up there every weekend. We had three DNFs which hurt.
It seems this year in the championship a lot of the top runners have had tough races as well. I think we can recover if we keep the momentum going.
It's nice. I think all the boys and girls on the 6 car, Arrow McLaren, really deserved it. We've been up there sniffing for a long time. Hasn't worked out.
It was a fun race. Felt like we were just quick all through it. We went up every stage of race. We were in a position where we could maybe win it in the end. Yeah, it was a bit dicey on the restarts in the end. The second to last there, Dixon went wide. I had to grab the clutch. I think Will had the same. That potentially could have cost us a bit.
I'm happy to finish on the podium after all the close calls.
Q. Felix, the thing with Rossi at the end. You have been racing around each other all year. A thing at Toronto. Have you talked to him before? How do you work through it?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: I mean, we race hard, but I think we also race fair. Obviously we like each other. We don't have any intentions to put each other in the wall.
But, yeah, it was tight. I think the move wasn't really high-risk. I was completely alongside him into three. Yeah, just gets tight, man. It's so close. He squeezed me a little bit on entry, I squeezed him a little bit on exit.
Yeah, I think it's a good problem to have. The Arrow McLaren cars have been up there every race. You're going to find yourself in a situation where you're fighting teammates. I think it's something we'll discuss internally if we can manage it differently. Obviously there were no team calls on this one, which is cool. They let us battle it out on the track.
I think Will can explain how it works when you have a lot of good cars at the front. It's good problems to have.
Q. Will, can you give us the entire Flavor Flav story, how he got your T-shirt?
WILL POWER: I was just sitting and talking to Roger and Tim yesterday. No, we were watching an interview of Kevin Lee, an interview of Flavor Flav. I said, If he's here, he's got to come over.
I got to meet him. Then he came on to my truck. He had the Will Power shirt on. His girlfriend had the same. A couple of my boys from Toowoomba said, You have made it. We all listened to Public Enemy in the '90s. Flavor Flav was someone I thought I would never meet.
He is the most (indiscernible) dude you will ever meet. I thought he was going to come to the podium. I think if I won, he would have.
Pretty cool experience. Pretty cool to put it on your personal Facebook. All your friends that you went to school with, This man is big-time, he's hanging out with Flavor Flav.
I sat next to Ice-T at dinner. I have also had dinner with Slash from Guns N' Roses. No one cares about race cars or I won the Indy 500, it's like, You had dinner with Slash, you know Flavor Flav.
Q. Did he buy the T-shirt?
WILL POWER: I think he went to the (indiscernible) and bought the T-shirts.
Q. Do you have a favorite Public Enemy song or album?
WILL POWER: I said this morning to Flavor Flav, People today are going to have to fight the power. That's what I said. It was true. They have to fight the power.
Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, he lives here. Should get Eminem. I'm more of a '90s rap guy. If I met Eminem, that would be epic. If I could meet Ice Cube or Snoop Dogg in Long Beach. Why doesn't someone bring them to Long Beach? Maybe they should have an Ice Cube day. It would be dope.
Q. (No microphone.)
FELIX ROSENQVIST: I'm older than you think (smiling). I'm 10 years older than Pato, nine maybe. I'm getting there.
THE MODERATOR: This is your wheelhouse? Something you understand?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah.
Q. The fact that you said it needs to be discussed internally, you're racing for position at the end of the race, racing for a victory. What is there a reason to discuss?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: I don't know. I mean, we'll talk about it. As I said, I didn't think committing to the move was high risk. I wouldn't want to do it high risk. With a teammate, you never want to.
Yeah, we'll talk about it. We'll get through it. Alex is a good dude. As I say, we've been fighting each other before, and a lot this year. We've pretty much been around each other all season.
Yeah, we're probably going to keep doing it.
Q. He squeezed you going in, you kind of squeezed him going out, but nobody hit the wall.
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, I mean, I think he actually hit the wall, but I think he got out in the marbles. I think it's a good thing he was able to get back in.
I have to say, I pretty much didn't have any more room on entry. I was just trying to not go into the wall on apex. After that, I just tried to get out of the corner as quick as I can, give him the room he needed.
As I say, we'll talk about it. No biggie. I'm just happy we both finished up front, so...
Q. People criticized this track. When did it become apparent to y'all it turned into a pretty good racetrack? Did it become apparent yesterday or in the race?
WILL POWER: Yeah, like second session you started to like it, like the challenge of it. Yeah, racing perspective, having that long straight with the hairpin is definitely good. I think next year if they resurface the second half of the straight you would have more passing. It was tough to go on the outside.
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, I think the track really came alive during the race. It seems like this track, every session the track goes more slippery. As you do more laps it gets grippier and grippier, more than other street courses.
I thought during the race it really came alive. It was cool. The steering was heavy, you're carrying a lot of speed. Even on full tanks, we were doing like qualifying lap times.
This is cool, you're doing some good corner speeds. You have to be so focused. Bouncing between the walls, it's insane how much effort goes into it mentally to do a hundred laps out there, especially when you have to race other guys around you.
I think it was a cool challenge and awesome show for everyone.
Q. You said it got really grippy. We also saw a couple drivers that got a hair offline, found themselves in the wall. Was it that slick out there because of the marbles or that much different based on what had built up?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: If you go out there, it's not fun. You don't want to be offline there.
But I think surprisingly on the braking, the inside line was really good. We have some tracks like St. Pete, if you do a dive bomb into one, you just go straight because there's so many marbles. Actually here was fairly clean.
I don't think the fact that we all like swerved left on the straight was actually good for the marble pickup, allowed you to do some good passing.
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