Chevrolet Indycar at Road America: Team Chevy Qualifying Recap

  • Pato O’Ward captured a front row starting position at Road America with a lap of one minute, 40.3643 seconds
  • Three Team Chevy drivers advanced to Firestone Fast Six-O’Ward-No.5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden-No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet and Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet
  • For the first time since St.  Petersburg, 2018 AJ Foyt Racing had both drivers advance to the Fast 12 in INDYCAR knockout qualifying
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay made his first appearance as the new driver of the No. Bitnile.com Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing – an off-track excursion cut his qualifying attempt short
  • All 27 drivers qualifying for tomorrow’s race beat the pole time from last year of one minute, 44.8645 seconds
  • Colton Herta won the NTT P1 award with time of one minute, 40.1945 secoonds
  • The 55-lap, 220.77-mile race on Sunday will take the green flag at 12:25 p.m. CT, 1:25 p.m. ET, live on USA Network. 

 

 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES):

Josef Newgarden, No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet:

“Hey Everybody – great session for us in the No. 2 car. We ended up P4 here in qualifying which was not too bad. You know I think our potential was was right around that I think it was going to be difficult to talk for today. He had really good speed up the whole session and we made really good gains this morning and then all throughout qualifying. So so proud of the team. I think our our Chevy engine was was really solid. We had good good power today. Really good drivability. So super happy with everybody’s performance, just missing a little bit still. So those those first couple of cars so I think if we can work tonight on how to take care of the tires, we should be in a good position to fight for the win tomorrow and it’d be great to get PBG car back in victory lane this weekend.”

 

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

“Front row start, we just missed pole there by a tad. I got a little wide in the Canada Corner [Turn 12]. By then, you can’t back off, so I rode through it. I think that’s where we lost it a bit.

“This is a very good starting position for us. It’s a long race. It’ll be interesting tomorrow with the Firestone Reds and Blacks because the reds just aren’t faster. That’s usually the complete opposite everywhere else we’ve ever been. I’m happy with the car, and we’re ready to flow with it tomorrow.”

 

Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 onsemi Arrow McLaren INDYCAR Chevrolet:

“I made a mistake on my Firestone Blacks tire run. We decided to run new blacks to start the round and in Turn 12, as I was finishing the lap, I had a wobble and basically threw away the lap. From then on, there was the red flag and it was hard to come back from that. It was on me, I made a mistake. Normally, I’m pretty good at piecing a lap together, but it didn’t work out today. I think we definitely had a car for the Firestone Fast Six. You can fight from here on this track, we’ll just have to regroup for tomorrow.”

 

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren INDYCAR Chevrolet:

”We’ve had a great car all weekend. The test last week was good for us, obviously, as we led both practices. It was a messy qualifying for us; I got a pit speed penalty in Round 1, which really put us on the back foot because we never got a lap down on Firestone Reds. You can’t make those mistakes. That one’s on me.

“The car has been great all weekend, and it’s still our best road and street course qualifying by far this year, so we’ll take that positive. We certainly have a car that can win the race tomorrow.”

 

Will Power, No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet:

“The incident this morning with (Scott) Dixon in practice ruined the whole weekend for us. We got out there and did everything I could manage. It’s just so hard in this INDYCAR field that if you’re behind the eight ball, it’s hard to recover.  When you go out after the damage we had from the crash-a new front wing and a new floor so you don’t really know where the arrow balance will be. It is so frustrating because I felt like we were really quick this morning. I gave it my all, just couldn’t string anything together. Massively disappointing for the team. The guys worked so hard to repair the car.”

 

Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 20 Bitnile.com Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:

 “We were definitely trying everything we could set-up wise to get more speed out of the No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet. We had some really promising changes going into qualifying, just trying to get the most out of it. We were pushing 110%, searching for a half of a tenth of a second, and just lost the rear of the car. Once you get in the gravel, it’s all over from there. It’s not a big setback in terms of contact, just tough not to be able to get everything out of it today.”

 

Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Direct Supply Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:

 “We had the pace for at least the Fast 12 and I wish we could have made it! The red tires were just a bit unpredictable and handled a lot differently than at other race tracks. We couldn’t really maximize those perfectly, so that set us back. It’s a long race tomorrow and many things can happen, we will work our way forward to where we should be!”

 

Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Sexton Properties AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet:

“To have both of our cars to be starting next to each other is a huge feat considering where this road course program was a year ago. So you know, we’ll just keep working on it. I feel our car doesn’t wear the tires out so excited for the race. It’s just it’s a fun track. The repave is really nice. So hats off to this place. It’s phenomenal. I mean, I was actually surprised to hear that they were going to repave it because I really liked the old track but driving on the new the new pavement I just like it that much more.”

 

Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Sexton Properties AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet:

Hey Benjamin Peterson here at driver the number 55 Sexton properties team Chevy IndyCar really good. Good week so far we struggled a bit in the beginning but the whole team did a tremendous job to recover to qualify well. Best-Ever qualifying for me my IndyCar career. Not that I’ve had very many, but yeah, P10. As a rookie made into the fast 12 Yeah,  just huge momentum for the whole team, especially coming off the month of May. But yeah, very, very proud of everyone. And yeah, we’re just getting better and better and better. Everyone’s working really hard. And yeah, starting a race p 10. And looking forward to tomorrow for the race day.”

 

Callum Ilott, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“Yeah, it is a weird session for us. Honestly, I expected quite a lot more. Ended up P17 overall. So still okay place to raise from but a bit more work to do for tomorrow. Well we had two guys spin in front of me on both runs. Now we’re in a couple of laps, which was annoying. So there was a little bit more in it, but still, there’s a lot for us to improve on. So just need to see. This has been a tricky weekend so far haven’t haven’t quite got there. But the race is a whole different ballgame and I think we can do a good job

 

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“We finish at P21 in our qualification, I’m very happy with the performance from our team. We are improving between the morning and now. I think we have a good car for  tomorrow to do a race. We always go to finish the race and we try to finish the race in the best position possible. I am looking forward to the race.”

 

Pato O’Ward

Press Conference Transcript

THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up qualifying at Road America, great to be joined by Pato O’Ward on the front row for tomorrow’s race,

THE MODERATOR: (No microphone).

PATO O’WARD: Very solid start for us tomorrow. It’s been a real joy to drive this new repaved track. It’s been, yeah, very, very enjoyable. I think it’s been a challenge for sure. Very high commitment.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. What are you expecting tomorrow? Chaos? Guys in the gravel trap every other lap?

PATO O’WARD: I don’t know, man. I think obviously the following will be different to what it’s been in the last few years just because offline, the balance, the car just turns upside down if you go offline.

I think that’s obviously going to make passing tricky. It will make guys trying to get a bit of cleaner air on at least half of their wing. There is a penalty to pay for that. It doesn’t seem to pay off yet.

Yeah, I see it being there’s maybe a lane and a half of, like, very high grip. But you go off of that, and it’s like ice. I think that’s also why there’s just been a lot of excursions. You miss it by just a tad, and it’s like, What happened to the car?

To extract the lap time, especially now with the new pavement, like there is so much more grip, but it’s only in the line. You have to commit so much into the corners where a lot of the times it kind of bites once you’re already committed. I think that’s why you see a lot of spins, a lot of guys going off, just a lot of random snaps. It makes you feel like there’s unlimited amounts of grip, but there’s obviously limits to everything.

Q. Because of the grip level and the physical demands on how it’s been with the repave, do you think tomorrow’s race might favor two younger drivers such as yourselves because of your physical shape? It seems like a lot of the mistakes today were made by older veteran drivers.

PATO O’WARD: Yeah, I mean, I think it gets really sketchy when you’ve got the cold tires and you’re fighting a car that’s a lot heavier than what it is in qualifying. I think that’s where it can get really, really tricky. That’s usually in the pit stop sequences. That’s where a lot of the passes either are made or are lost.

I mean, do I see it being eventful? Absolutely. I don’t know how chaotic it will be in terms of yellow. Obviously looking back at what it was today, it looks pretty savage.

I don’t know. I think it will be a learning curve to a lot of us. I do think the deg compared to last year, it should be less, but I might completely have missed it. So who knows (smiling).

Q. (No microphone.) About racing together throughout their careers

PATO O’WARD: It has just been four years against each other in INDYCAR, but it has been ever since, like, 2009-ish. I mean, it’s basically been a whole journey. We got led to the same place in extremely different paths. But ultimately that’s the beauty of it, right? It’s really on different experiences. He’s gotten to drive some really cool cars, I haven’t. I got a chance to drive some cool cars, and he hasn’t.

We’ve been able to be teammates in ’18 in Indy Lights. We made the jump here. We won Daytona together. We’ve had a really lot of nice memories. I feel like the respect that we both have for each other is showed upon on track when we’re around each other.

Q. You mentioned how heavy the steering is in the carrousel. That word was used a lot in the old manufacturer aero kits, more downforce. A similar level of grip but now it’s more mechanical?

PATO O’WARD: Yeah, so I don’t know what it felt like. I know it was heavy, but I know it was a lot more planted. Maybe you can agree, but what makes it really tough is the car likes to move. When it starts moving, and it’s so heavy, that’s where the catches are really, really tough to recover, in my experience.

Q. In Detroit a couple weeks ago, the lap there was quite short, over a mile in length. Now you’re at four miles in length. What does that do to your mental approach coming into qualifying knowing that you potentially only have one shot as a decent lap as opposed to multiple laps on the shorter distance?

PATO O’WARD: I think it all depends on the tire. I thought that we had multiple attempts on the black. I think you saw a lot of guys doing it on lap three or lap four. Mine was on lap four because I didn’t complete my lap three.

I think it really depends on what tire Firestone decides to bring to certain weekends. Sometimes it’s a one-lap shot, sometimes you’re out, it’s one flyer, the next one is half a second off.

For the prime this weekend, I feel like there has been a consistency in terms of there’s more lap time the more you go. There’s at least two laps into the set. It’s more forgiving than in other circuits in a way, even if the lap is so long.

Q. Pato, with this result today, do you think Arrow McLaren are on the way for the championship this year?

PATO O’WARD: I mean, we’ve been fighting in the top three every single weekend. There hasn’t been one that we haven’t. I see that continuing. I don’t see it changing. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and see where we stack up at the end of the year.

Q. How do you think your race pace is in terms of tomorrow?

PATO O’WARD: I think it’s a bit of an unknown for everybody. I don’t think anybody has done a full race stint on their tires. The most, I guess, laps on a set that I’ve had is when I tested here, but the tire was not what we have this weekend.

This weekend’s is definitely different in terms of at least deg. A lot of what we learned in terms of race pace in the test probably is not going to be very helpful.

I think tomorrow warmup is going to be all about trying to learn what you want and what do you want to take care of during those stints. I think the red also is kind of a big question mark for everybody.

can run reds and the blacks for a longer period of time than just two laps.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for coming in.

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