Hinchcliffe, Honda Head Opening Day Indianapolis 500 Practice

  • James Hinchcliffe leads Honda top-four sweep in first day of practice
  • Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay complete top four for Honda
  • First of three practice days prior to Indianapolis 500 qualifying this weekend

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 12, 2020) – James Hinchcliffe led the way in “Opening Day” practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, heading a Honda sweep of the top four speeds in the first day of track action in preparation for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500.  Hinchcliffe’s Andretti Autosport teammates Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay ended the day second and fourth, respectively, while Scott Dixon slotted into third in his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Running a partial-season program in 2020, Hinchcliffe posted an average speed of 224.526 mph around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis oval in the second of two “full field” practice sessions to top the time charts for the day.  Dixon led the morning session with a speed of 224.047, which ended up as third-fastest on the day.  Hunter-Reay, third overall at 223.341 mph, also led the “no tow” rankings with a traffic-free lap of 220.725 mph.

Jack Harvey ran seventh-overall with a speed of 223.178 mph in his Meyer Shank Racing Honda. The only Honda-powered rookie in the field, Alex Palou, completed all four phases of the required “Rookie Orientation” by mid-day, and went on to record the 8th-fastest overall speed of 223.128 mph in the full-field afternoon session as Honda drivers claimed six of the top eight positions on the speed chart for the day.

Practice activities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway continue through Friday, with qualifying action to set the field of 33 on the historic 2.5-mile oval scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Honda Racing social media content and videos from practice and qualifying from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – and 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 on August 23 – will be available on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter at (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD).  Produced by the CoForce Digital Media, YouTube video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.  


James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Autosport Honda) Fastest in opening-day practice: “It’s always nice ‘rolling off the truck’ here with a car that has good pace. Huge credit to everybody at Honda and Andretti Autosport; we’ve got a bunch of quick cars. It’s got good single-car pace, it has good pace in traffic. You can’t ask for much more for a first day. We have a lot of work to do still. There are lot of things we want to change and get through. Each car [in the six-car Andretti team] has got their list of things [to try]. But today was a nice, clean start for us.”

Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) 3rd fastest: “We had a decent start in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. We were trying to get through some [setup choices] that we have on the list [to test]. It’s a pretty extensive list, especially with the condensed schedule. It’s a totally new car for me this year with [engineer] Mike Cannon and with a few off-season projects. I definitely think the team and Honda are going in the right direction. First practice, we’re just trying to get the car comfortable in traffic.  So far, that seems to be pretty good. The aeroscreen, when we first tested it, seemed to affect the car a little different aerodynamically. I’d say today it actually felt more normal. No real difference [from the previous full open cockpit], and the vision is good.”

DiBenedetto, Menards/Dutch Boy Team Ready To Hit The Road (Course) At Daytona

August 12, 2020

Matt DiBenedetto and the No. 21 Menards/Dutch Boy team, like all their peers in NASCAR’s Cup Series, will be in uncharted territory this weekend as the series races for the first time on the 14-turn, 3.6-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

Like most other races in COVID-19 pandemic times, there will be no practice or qualifying prior to the start of Sunday’s 65-lap Go Bowling 235.

DiBenedetto, who will start the race from ninth place, has had some strong runs on road courses throughout his career. He said he is looking to capitalize on his road-course skills, while being mindful of his position in the Playoff standings. With four regular-season races left to run before the start of the championship-deciding Playoffs, DiBenedetto has a 57-point cushion over the cutoff line.
“I’ve always had the approach of trying to race smart, especially this weekend,” he said. “You don’t want to make any stupid mistakes, so racing smart will be very key, especially on a new race track a lot of us are unfamiliar with.”

He said that in many ways his approach to the Daytona road course race is no different than for other tracks.
“I’ve been called patiently aggressive,” he said. “I think that’s maybe a cool and good description that I like and try to live by,” he said. “I guess that’s sort of my style – be smart and be aggressive when you can when it counts and drive hard.”
DiBenedetto said he, crew chief Greg Erwin the rest of the Menards/Dutch Boy crew have learned a lot about each other despite the external challenges they’ve faced this year. He says that’s starting to pay off.

“The first part of the year we as a team were really kind of getting acclimated with each other,” he said. “All the COVID stuff that made it a little tougher because of no practice and no qualifying and all that.
“But we’ve gotten into a good rhythm. We’re working together great, so the strength of our team is definitely there.”
The Go Bowling 235 is set to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBC.

chevy racing–nascar–daytona–bubba wallace

BUBBA WALLACE, NO. 43 CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met with media via teleconference regarding today’s announcement of a multiyear sponsorship with Columbia Sportswear, which enlists Wallace as a brand ambassador and includes a primary sponsorship of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet. Other topics discussed were the important things in his future, getting prepared for the Daytona Road Course race, how the team has progressed from a year ago, and more. Partial Transcript:
DOES THE SPONSORSHIP WITH COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR MEAN THAT YOU’RE STAYING AT RPM? WHAT IS THE BREAKOUT BETWEEN IT BEING A PERSONAL SERVICES DEAL AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR RICHARD PETTY AND FOR COMPETITION?“We’re in the middle of Silly Season still and for both parties, my team and RPM are still trying to figure out ways to finalize deals and get everything together. This definitely solves a big piece of the puzzle and working together. So, nothing’s set in stone yet. It’s still all being worked out and ironed out. Hopefully we’ll have that announcement coming soon.”
WHAT IS THE BREAKOUT REGARDING PERSONAL SERVICES?“It’s a two-part way. It’s definitely a personal services of mine, and also bringing funding to the race cars to allow us to keep being competitive and keep racking those top 10’s and putting together those good runs. We have four races left to the Playoffs, a big hill to climb, but this is definitely going to knock us up a notch to go out there and compete and give it our all.”
WHEN YOU LOOK AT TRYING TO DECIDE YOUR FUTURE, WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT MONEY? IS IT STABILITY? IS IT LOYALTY? WHAT ARE YOU CONSIDERING?“All those things considered the first thing is to deal with RPM. I can’t believe it has already been three years. And the first thing I said is it feels like family. And, to this day, I feel like family; and that’s been very important to me. It’s easy to kind of get caught-up in just being a driver and showing up at the race track and getting the job done and going home and it’s kind of a wash and repeat. And here, its family. It’s being in contact with everybody and part of the team. It’s obviously being close with Richard. You have that family aspect. That goes along with that I’m a family guy. I love my family here, so to have that feel is definitely important. And, obviously you want to be competitive. I came into this sport wanting to win races and be a household name on the track, so we have a lot of work to do as a team and together, to get there. So again, we’re figuring out all our options and figure out the best solution for both of us to go out and be competitive on the race track.”
YOU TOLD NBC SPORTS THAT YOU HAVE A CONTRACT OFFER FROM CHIP GANASSI RACING. WHAT IS THE DECIDING FACTOR BETWEEN GOING WITH THEM AND GOING WITH RPM OR LOOKING AT OTHER ORGANIZATIONS? AND, WHAT IS YOUR DEADLINE?“Yeah, my deadline is usually I think the Thursday or Friday before climbing in the car at Daytona. So, we’re well ahead of that deadline right now. And so, it’s good to be having these conversations and all options that are on the table, again, we’re still in the heart of it and in the thick of it. But, we’re working out everything as we go.”
WITH ROAD COURSES, YOU GUYS LIKE A LOT OF CREATURE COMFORTS IN THERE THAT ARE DIFFERENT THAN THE OVALS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW YOU’RE GOING TO GET TO THAT WITHOUT HAVING ANY LAPS ON TRACK, AND REALLY FEEL LIKE YOU’RE READY TO RACE WHEN THE GREEN GOES?“I don’t know if any of us are going to feel like we’re ready to race. So, it’s going to be exciting for sure. I’m glad I’m not on the front row for this one to drive off in there and find my marks. And, I don’t want to be like Brad at the Roval two years ago and overshoot the corner. So, we just have to be mindful. I’ve spent, this is the most time I’ve spent preparing for a road course and going to the SIM. I’m actually heading up to jump on the SIM immediately after this call. I’m just trying to prep myself for as much as I can to be ready for putting corners together. It’s crazy how, just from watching the 24 Hours, you kind of learn which way this kind of track goes. Obviously turning left immediately after the Start/Finish Line, going through the infield there. And then you kind of visualize, like man, I used to park here in the road course parking lot. So, it’s going to be cool to kind of be racing all around that. It’ll be exciting for the fans putting it all together. But again, I’ve tried to spend so much time prepping for this; so hopefully it works out for us in the end.”
IS THERE ONE THING YOU NEED TO GET RIGHT IN THE COCKPIT, YOU PERSONALLY, EVERY TIME?‘I think as long as we’re comfortable and usually my guys do a top-notch job, an A+ job, every time of not really having mistakes. I know without practice it’s easy to forget something. But each and every week I show up and the belts are the same, the steering wheel height is the same, seat mounts, everything is the same. My guys do a great job back at RPM, so we’re all good.”
WHAT IS YOUR FEELING ABOUT WHERE THE TEAM STANDS NOW COMPARED TO A YEAR AGO AT THIS TIME? HAVE YOU SEEN MORE CONSISTENCY THAT YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR?“Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think we are leaps and bounds ahead of last year. And, I think that’s important to build off of. I remember an old-school motto was ‘suck less than your last race’. So, that’s how we kind of went about it. And then, moving forward this year and having Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) come in and have Jerry learn the ins-and-outs of the Cup series has been very important and very influential and positive for us. Making those bold strategy calls, stay out, take two tires, whatever it may be to keep us in the game; even talking with the pit crew. They are appreciative of Jerry and how he keeps them in the game. Whether if we have a bad day and we’re fighting a penalty lap, and taking strategy there; or, it’s like Vegas earlier this year when we were running 20th with about four or five (laps) to go, stayed out, and ended-up sixth. It’s just those types of things that produce good racing and good momentum, and we’ve carried that. You look at Michigan, we had a really good car and a really solid weekend. Sunday didn’t go as well as Saturday, but still, having those little highlights of success like you mentioned continue to build momentum for us moving forward. So, we’ve got some tough races coming up on the schedule, but with the team behind me right now, we’re ready to tackle anything.”
FOR THE SEASON AS A WHOLE, HOW HAS YOUR SPONSORSHIP INTEREST COMPARED THIS YEAR VERSUS IN PAST YEARS? ARE YOU GETTING YOUR CHOICE OF SPONSORS AND COMPANIES AND HOW ARE YOU MAKING THOSE DECISIONS?“Yeah, I’ve been in racing and motorsports for 17 years now. And we may not have been looking for sponsorship right off the bat, but I’d say ever since 2010, a good ten years now, we’ve been looking for sponsorship. I was always told when, and they’ll come. And we won a couple, we won a few in the Truck Series and still fighting sponsorship issues. I haven’t won much since then. But we’ve been doing things. We’ve been winning off the race track. I think that’s helped being much bigger than an athlete, standing up for human beings. It’s something that we often don’t get to do just because we’re put on a pedestal. With the spotlight that I put myself into, being vocal about what’s going on the world, has created opportunities for new partners. Look at Columbia here. A brand new partner, a part of the sport, a part of RPM, a part of the Bubba Wallace brand. We’re doing good things off the race track that helps our on-track performance. So, we will just continue those ways. This doesn’t even compare to how the little bit of sponsor momentum we’ve had in years past. This is an incredible opportunity for me; one the best years in my racing career from that standpoint. We’re building up on a great future here, getting these partnerships and deals in place; to set the team, the partner, and myself up for great success and we’ll continue to do that.”
OVERALL, HOW ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW? YOU’VE CERTAINLY GONE THROUGH A LOT. EVEN SIX WEEKS AGO YOU WERE TIRED, HAVING GONE THROUGH THE WRINGER OF THE ROLE OF ACTIVISM, AND NOW THERE’S STILL THE COMPETITOR ASPECT GOING ON AND NOW WITH YOUR FUTURE. THERE IS A LOT ON YOUR SHOULDERS. HOW ARE YOU HANDLING IT?“I definitely feel a lot more upbeat. Like I said, there’s a lot of positive momentum on our side. Big things being worked on behind the scenes like this (Columbia Sportswear) that we’re excited to share with people. It’s part of it. You go through the wringer. It makes you a better person at the end of the day. Maybe it’s a new outlet for you to explore, like I said about being outspoken about things that are going on in the country and in the world, and you want to be a part of it. And that’s how I’ve felt. I didn’t know what to expect. You know me, I’m always just the ‘do it and figure out everything after’; and so that’s just a part of Bubba Wallace in everyday life and we’ll continue to go on. I’m always ready for whatever is thrown at me. I try to handle it in the best way I can. I’ll get beat-up and worn down about it and you’ll hear about it because I wear my heart on my sleeve. But all in all, we’re refreshed. We got that week off and had a great vacation, Amanda and I, we tried to decompress and turn off my phone and just get away. It was a good to refresh and refocus on what we need to do on the race track as well as off the race track.”
HAS THERE BEEN A LOT OF TALK AS FAR AS SOCIAL ACTIVISM THAT YOU’RE INVOLVED IN THAT WE DON’T SEE ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS? DO YOU FEEL LIKE BEHIND THE SCENES THAT THERE IS STUFF GOING ON IN THE INDUSTRY WHERE PEOPLE ARE TAKING WHAT THEY SAID A MONTH OR TWO AGO AND TRYING TO PUT WORDS INTO ACTION?“Yeah, for sure. I had a great lunch with Brandon Thompson and NASCAR Diversity Affairs there, and we were talking some really good things of how we can just make our sport better for everybody. Diversity training is coming into place and we’re trying to get that going. And that’s going to be a lot of fun and a good process to see how it works out. From the sports-side, good things are coming. And from the personal side, as well, I’m excited to be still working out and getting my foundation up and running and having my sister be a part of that. So, I know we’re basically right on the goal line of finalizing things up with that. To be able to dive into the communities, the conversations that we’ve had, we’ve even had them with Columbia about my foundation. It’s just so tough with COVID-19 going on right now, to really be in-person and reach out to the communities to get them, whether is a part of the sport or just educate them on things that are going on in the world. So, there are a lot of good things away from the race track, away from racing, that deal with the issues that go on in the world that are being worked out as well.”
WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL THIS WEEKEND. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON NOT GOING TO THE GLEN THIS YEAR?“I’m all right with it. It hasn’t been one of my best race tracks. But I think this, with everything going on with COVID, I know NASCAR has been up to their necks in trying to figure out what the schedule is going to be. So, I definitely don’t envy them right now. But kudos to them for coming up with an alternative. And it’s something new. It’s new for NASCAR. I know the road course has been around for years and years and being able to watch that on TV right before our season kick-off at Daytona. So, for us to go in there with no practice, I remember when I was asked about hey, we need a solid answer if you’re okay with no practice. And I was like, okay, what does everybody else think about this? The final verdict was no practice. Drive off into Turn 1 and figure out where you go after that. So, it’ll be cool. It’ll be a different alternative to definitely have fans tune-in for that and to be able to watch all the action on NBC, so it’ll be cool. None of us really know what to expect. But, to have a good race and try to continue on momentum from there. Like I said earlier, I’ve prepped a lot; a lot more than I have in the past to be good here and be successful here. So, hopefully it goes hand-in-hand.”

2020 Corvette Stingray To Lead Field To Green Flag of 104th Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020 – A Torch Red 2020 Corvette Stingray coupe will serve as the Official Pace Car for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, continuing Chevrolet’s tradition of leading the field to the green flag. The Pace Car will be driven by GM President Mark Reuss.This year, the race will be held outside of May for the first time – Sunday, Aug. 23 – with live NBC coverage at 2:30 p.m. (ET). This marks the 17th time a Corvette has served as the Pace Car, starting in 1978, and the 31st time a Chevrolet has led the field dating to 1948 when a Fleetmaster Six convertible held the honor. No other brand or vehicle has served as the “500” Pace Car more often than Chevrolet and the Corvette, respectively. “It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to be behind the wheel of the mid-engine Corvette Pace Car at such a historic race as the Indy 500,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “The 2020 Corvette Stingray is the result of a close collaboration between the Corvette Racing and production engineering teams, setting a new benchmark for supercars around the world.” The Torch Red 2020 Corvette Stingray Pace Car features:·       All-new mid-engine LT2 6.2L V8 engine·       8-Speed Dual Clutch transmission·       Z51 performance package·       Corvette accessory spoiler and ground effects package·       Carbon Flash exterior accents and badge package·       GT2 Bucket Seats·       Unique Indy 500 Livery With 495 horsepower, the Torch Red Corvette Stingray can accelerate from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, capable of 194 mph. It has been named MotorTrend Car of the Year for 2020. “This is a continuation of our outstanding partnership with Chevrolet,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “We’re so grateful for all that Chevrolet has contributed to the success of our events. The Torch Red 2020 Corvette Stingray is a world-class machine rich with speed, performance and excitement, perfectly suited to pace the ‘500’ field.” Chevrolet has a storied history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural 500-mile race, and company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, along with brothers Arthur and Gaston, competed in early Indy 500s. Arthur competed in the 1911 race and Gaston won in 1920. Nine drivers with Chevrolet engines have combined to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” 11 times, with Rick Mears, Emerson Fittipaldi, Arie Luyendyk, Al Unser Jr., Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power and most recently Simon Pagenaud driving to Victory Lane with bowtie power. Pagenaud won the 2019 Indianapolis 500 from the pole driving the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet. In 2018, Ed Carpenter won the pole and Power the race in Chevrolet-powered machines. Josef Newgarden won last year’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship driving the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Pagenaud finished second in the standings. Visit IMS.com for more information about this year’s schedule. The race will be televised live on NBC for the second consecutive year, with the pre-race show starting at 1 p.m. The Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network will provide live coverage of the race to its affiliates and on Sirius 211, XM 205, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile App powered by NTT DATA. 

chevy racing–indycar–indiapolis 500–Drivers and leadership

THE MODERATOR: Fernando, back at Indianapolis, lots of preparation leading into this, then obviously was delayed because of the pandemic. How excited are you to be back in Indianapolis, a track you have a really special connection with?FERNANDO ALONSO: Definitely very excited. I think it’s going to be a little bit different without fans. Yeah, for me it’s going to be the first race with empty grandstands. I know the guys have been racing lately with no fans. It’s going to be a shock I’m sure on race day.But, yeah, looking forward. I think we did a nice preparations with the circumstances, we didn’t have any test day, any simulator or anything like that, compare other 500s.At the same time I saw a very well-prepared, organized team, very hungry of success, doing something good this month. Looking forward. Yeah, tomorrow first day on the car.
THE MODERATOR: Oliver, this is an oval track you’ve had some success at, winning the Freedom 100 last year. How does the Road to Indy prepare you for racing in your first Indianapolis 500? How excited are you to get out for your first practice tomorrow?OLIVER ASKEW: Yeah, the Road to Indy has been tremendous for my career and many others in this paddock racing at the 500 this year. My experience last year at the Freedom 100 is enabling me to go into this next couple weeks having somewhat of an understanding of the track. Obviously we’re going to be going a lot quicker. It seems to have helped me so far this year at a lot of the tracks, having experience at these circuits we go to in INDYCAR.Like Fernando said, Arrow McLaren SP has been putting in so much work for this race. I think we’re going to have three really fast cars this weekend and next weekend. Really looking forward to the experience.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and open it up to questions.Q. Fernando, how dramatic of a difference does, say, 13 months make? Last year everything that could have gone wrong did. Now you’re on a team that’s among the top teams in the INDYCAR Series, a teammate fourth in the standings. You probably have three cars that are capable of winning the Indianapolis 500. How big a difference is that for you to be able to compare and contrast this year opposed to last year?FERNANDO ALONSO: Well, hopefully you’re right and we are fast enough that we can compete for the win. At the moment one day before the practice, we have optimistic feeling last year and we have optimistic feeling this year as well.I think we need to wait and see where we are on the speed of the pace of the car. But, yeah, it makes a difference the team itself, how Arrow SP is well-prepared, the experience in the series. Is going to be a big difference compared to last year that we were not prepared enough for the challenge.I’m with reasonable confidence that there’s going to be a good event for us. But we take it step by step. We know there are a lot of things to do from our side. We will miss some experience. All three drivers, we’re rookies for the 500. We need to rely and we need to work very close to the team and learn every day, make it step by step, concentrate a little bit more on the race this year.Qualifying, we are already 53 cars. Maybe that eases the pressure and stress on the first couple of days, and we can concentrate on race day.
Q. How impressed have you been with the season that Oliver and Pato have had so far?FERNANDO ALONSO: I was very impressed definitely. I think I was watching all the races from TV with attention because I knew that the test day we had in April was canceled. The simulator days that we had programmed were canceled. I knew it was very limited time for me on the car before the 500. I wanted to know how the team was performing every weekend.I mean, was very impressive what both did. I remember the Indy GP, Oliver was super fast, on pole. Then Pato with the points he achieved every Sunday. Probably even more that skip away in some unlucky moments. I knew that they are very talented, very brave.Is going to be a huge boost for the team to have these two young drivers, talented drivers, bringing fresh ideas, fresh in terms of car performance, and I’m looking forward to work with everybody.
Q. Who is your engineer? Are you working with Craig Hansen? He’s been a bit of a wizard in his career with Sebastien Bourdais.FERNANDO ALONSO: Yeah, he’s the man.
Q. He’s going to be the guy you work with the whole month?FERNANDO ALONSO: Yeah.
Q. Fernando, you mentioned how impressed you’ve been with the start of Pato and Oliver’s seasons so far. How important, given the fact you mentioned you haven’t maybe had a whole lot of seat or simulator time, lost a day of practice, how important was it for you being able to get up to speed and them having as much success as they have had so far this year for the engineers and the team, the data, to make sure the cars are ready when you unload?FERNANDO ALONSO: Well, as you mentioned now, it is a huge challenge. I’m aware of that. I’m aware of maybe not being among the favorites because we lacking the experience of the 500. The team is not new, but this collaboration is only a few months in the way.I think it’s going to be things that we need to learn within days, in the practice, into qualifying, and next week. Personally, yeah, I was following the races, tried to learn as much as I could from home, tried to ask the engineers what may surprise me watching television and I didn’t understand completely on Mondays, they were trying to help me with understanding. I was making questions why we did that, why we didn’t stop here, there. It was a constant communication.At the same time I was training at the simulator at home. I think these couple of months of pandemic, of the virus, make huge step on eSports, things that I was very active, like the Le Mans Virtual that has been the biggest racing sporting event to date. Not only I have been busy preparing the race, because I joined the team with Barrichello and some other friends, but stakeholder of motorsport games who put on these great event with many technical challenges. At the end more than 14 million viewers, which is an amazing thing for the E gaming.Right now, talking to you, even in INDYCAR, why not in the future to have this great event with motorsport games to have also individual 500 with another 14 or 20 million viewers because this race is something unique.
Q. Oliver and Pato, we haven’t gotten on track yet, but do you have a sense yet of specifically how adding Fernando to the engineering, all the other aspects of the infrastructure that you have already thrived under so far, how that will make a difference and improve things for you over the next couple weeks?PATO O’WARD: Yeah, I think it just raises the game for everybody. One, having a driver with Fernando’s caliber is huge, not just for the team but for Oliver and I that we’re learning. He’s got so much experience with so many different cars. Even though we’re all rookies, the experience that we’ve had in the past definitely will help in many different ways.I think there’s lots of experience behind the team. We know that we’re going to have very good cars. Like Fernando said, we have to wait and see exactly where we’re going to fall. But I think we all have faith in what the team is going to give us. We know that they’re going to give their best to give us the tools to ultimately try and win the Indy 500. That’s all the work that has been going into it the past lots of months. In us drivers, as well, we’re looking forward to it.I think it’s a really cool thing to have him here, but as well as just someone that knows what he’s doing, having an extra car out there to test different things definitely helps us use our time more efficiently.OLIVER ASKEW: It continues to amaze me the amount of knowledge and the personnel that we have on this team right now, especially this weekend with three cars now. There’s some new people, people who have been more involved than they have been in the past.Yeah, as Pato said, it’s going to be really fun to have Fernando on the team. We both looked up to him for a long time. We look forward to experiencing how he works, his work ethic around the engineers and throughout these next couple weeks. It’s going to be interesting for us. I’m sure we’re going to learn a lot from him.
Q. Fernando, apart from Dakar, our best opportunity to see you compete this season has been in eSports events. How important has the whole sim racing become, especially in a year like this when the fans can’t get to these events like Le Mans and Indy?FERNANDO ALONSO: Well, as I said before, I think this virus shows how important is sim racing and how important became the eSport world. I think not only drivers, but fans, promoters, sponsors, different series, they’ve been enjoying a growth of maybe three or four years, even 10 years, only in two or three months. That shows many people it was a good timing to open the eyes of an unlimited possibility that we have with the eSports and the gaming.I’m happy that many people discover this direction. As I said before, especially in the iconic races, the Le Mans 24 hour, when I saw that 14 million people watched the race, 55 country, 200 top drivers from the real world were competing, I think that opens the door for many, many possibilities.The Indy 500, as I said before, should be one of those embracing this thing because I think the fans love the show. You see things, teammates, there are another atmosphere inside the virtual world that I think the fans love that.
Q. Fernando, we know how meticulous you are in your preparation. The big change this weekend is likely to be the Aeroscreen. What have you been able to learn from the team and the data you’ve gathered so far? What can you say about the Aeroscreen, how it will affect the racing next weekend?FERNANDO ALONSO: On the personal side, I only try last weekend on the seat of the factory, they put it on the car. I had a first look at it. It seem okay on the driving visibility and things like that.My teammates, I think the overall comment of INDYCAR, it gets quite warm in the car, quite hot. The ventilation is not the same. They are trying to figure out the ways to improve that. Hopefully we see some improvements and updates for this weekend.Then, yeah, on the car itself, there are some downsides in terms of the aerodynamics, in terms of drag. But is the same for everyone. We just need to adapt to that.In a way it’s a challenge for the engineers as well, this 500. Even if the car starts the same as last year, I think they still need to find and balance this Aeroscreen implementation. We are ready to work on that. We all start from zero in a way. Let’s see if we can find the best direction as soon as possible.
Q. How are you approaching the event mentally this year? You signed the deal with Renault to go back to Formula 1. Are you approaching this as the last chance for a little while to try to win the race? Do you think it’s possible in the future you can keep coming back?FERNANDO ALONSO: It’s a good question. I think I approach the race, as you said, knowing the next two years is going to be impossible to come. I will have to miss qualifying weekend if I wanted to do so. I will not be any more with McLaren next year in F1. That will not work either. I know at least for two years I will not be here.Look, this is the way it is at the moment. I’m here ready to enjoy the event, ready to give my best, and help the team as much as I can. Let’s see in the future what are the possibilities. If you eventually win one day the race, maybe that opens the possibility for different things.
Q. Fernando, with everything going on because of COVID-19, it’s no secret that INDYCAR does give its fans generous access to the drivers in the pit area, paddock, which can be a shock to those not native to the series. Do you think having a quieter track, empty track, will make it easier to focus on getting the job done, maybe lift some pressure off your back?FERNANDO ALONSO: No, I don’t think so. I think it was the magic part of the 500, the fans, around the garages, the interaction you have with them. I will miss a lot that part. Especially the race is here in the U.S., they are all very special. Racing at Daytona, Sebring, there is always this close contact with the fans. That will be really missed.It’s not releasing the pressure. Probably my life outside the car will be a little bit easier so I don’t need to run away. Sometimes I can go to the bathroom with no tight phone cameras pointed at me. Apart of that, I think when you close the visor and you are racing, it will be the same pressure.As I said, being in this huge place with these huge grandstands, not having a full, packed grandstand on Sunday is going to be a little bit difficult. But we will put a good show on television where we will make somehow big thanks to the fans and celebrate with them even on a distance.
Q. Regardless of what happens come August 24th, let’s fast forward to the day after the 500, what’s next for you? Is it as simple as putting on the Renault suit and carrying on?FERNANDO ALONSO: Look, last year when I stopped F1 in 2018, then 2019, last year, it was too much. It was too active. I was racing from January, the 24 Hour of Daytona, then Sebring, then was testing, then Spa, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indy, the preparation of the car. I had the full attack season.This 2020 I wanted to relax a little bit. Doing the Dakar in January, then full focus on the Indy 500. The second part of the season just relax, charge the batteries. 2021, coming back to F1, I knew it could be very demanding.Arrive the virus, then we have a quiet season more than we wanted, everybody. But in my case I just planned to do the Indy 500. Is what I’m doing. But from Monday, 24th, is going to be again quiet season preparing myself physically, mentally, couple of simulator days with Renault, maybe attending two or three Grand Prix just to see how they work on track. But, yeah, quite easy second part of the year.
Q. Fernando, seven months without competing. How are you fit and mental? With this seven months, the challenge is more difficult than the Dakar?FERNANDO ALONSO: Has been long time, yes, without sitting in a racecar. But I think everybody is struggling with that. We were missing our racecars even if you are on a normal drive or just one event driver. I don’t think that I have a huge disadvantage there.Physically I’ve been training a lot. I’ve been a little bit sick March, April. Yeah, I used that time to get recover well and have a lot of bicycle and gym, try to do things on the lockdown.Then on the preparation, on the challenge, I don’t think that is more difficult than Dakar because that was a completely unknown territory for me. Every kilometer is new. You have to adapt to different things that obviously I was completely rookie. Here I have disadvantage, yes, compared to the others. I’m not as experienced as some others. I know that. But this race is so special that sometimes the place choose who is going to win that Sunday.I’m confident that we do things well, maybe luck goes to our side this time. There are many factors here, many yellows, many things that may happen in the race that are out of your control. So you have to be there.I think the Indy 500 is such a special race that you have to keep trying because eventually one day you will get everything right.
Q. What is your reaction to no fans in the stands at the 500? How have you been mentally and emotionally preparing for the 500 without that energy from the fans this year?PATO O’WARD: I think in a way we’ve had a chance to see fans in Road America. I don’t think we’ve had like a full blackout season. But in Road America I was telling the team, my family and everything, whenever you get there, the energy of having fans is so much better. You see the people are, like, super happy to be there. You feel the energy. You feel everything. Whenever it’s closed doors, it’s so different.So I think for the guys that have seen the Indy 500 or I guess raced in it for many years before this year, I’m not going to be able to really compare, but I know that the 500, it is the event to be at in terms of amount of people, the energy, just everything.I know once race day comes, everything is empty, we’re definitely going to miss it, for sure.OLIVER ASKEW: I feel pretty calm about this next couple weeks. We have way more preparation now than we’ve had over the past couple races where we pretty much show up and roll out of the trailer and go racing.This is going to be more of a traditional approach, more of what I’m used to. We can take our time a little bit. I’m just looking forward to seeing how these next couple weeks come to us and learning as much as possible.Like I said earlier, I’ve had some experience here in Indy Lights in the Freedom 100. For the fans, the fans made that day and that event complete. I think that’s what made that day probably the best racing day and experience I’ve ever had in my life.Having fans here this year would definitely have topped that for the Indy 500. We know that everyone is watching at home. We’re looking forward to putting on such a great show for them.
Q. Pato, first time at Indy 500, how does it feel to be the first Mexican driver in so many years?PATO O’WARD: It’s very humbling, to be honest. I think it’s a really cool opportunity to be able to try and do the best for my country, for my people, as I’ve always tried in every single race that I compete in.It’s going to be really nice to be representing Mexico. Hopefully we give a good race and a good show for everybody back at home and to all the fans watching.Q. Being a rookie at the 500 can be intimidating. How does it feel to be a rookie, being teammates with someone like Fernando Alonso? What would be his role with you during these two weeks?OLIVER ASKEW: Being a rookie here can definitely be daunting. With the extra boost this year, I think it’s an extra 50 horsepower, so we’re going to be quite a lot quicker than the past. We’re expecting the corners to be a little bit more difficult. I’m sure we’re going to have to run a little more downforce in qualifying than years past.But, yeah, I’m glad that this year we’re able to run a couple more ovals before the Indy 500. Traditionally the Indy 500 would be the first oval of the year. I think that’s definitely helped the rookies. Texas and Iowa in their own ways are a little more difficult than this track. This track brings its own challenges.For Fernando, like I said before, it’s an absolute honor to have him on the team. I know we’re all really looking forward to working with him. Just, yeah, really glad he’s able to race here with us. I’m sure he’s going to lead the team and teach us a lot, Pato and I, quite a bit. Yeah, looking forward to the next couple weeks with him.
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the Arrow McLaren SP pre-event press conference. We have the leadership of the team here. We have Sam Schmidt, co-owner of Arrow McLaren SP. We have Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing. We have Taylor Kiel, managing director of Arrow McLaren SP. Gil de Ferran, sporting director of McLaren Racing and working with INDYCAR program.Why don’t we go ahead and start off with Sam. We’re a few months later than usual getting ready for the Indy 500, but what does it mean to you after the year we’ve had to finally be ready to race at Indianapolis?SAM SCHMIDT: What a relief. Very disappointing that we can’t (indiscernible) heartbeat of Indy 500. This is an epic 104-year history. We have to have it. It’s part of our blood. It’s what makes it breathe. This race is the reason I’m here as a team owner, period.We’re looking forward to doing it. Yes, our guys are pretty much meeting (indiscernible) at this point especially without having the ability to have on-track testing.The team is amped up. We’ve had an extra three months to prepare these cars. Yeah, can’t wait to get to the track tomorrow and be fully immersed in the process. I wish fans could see what Roger has done because he’s done a phenomenal job around here.
THE MODERATOR: Zak, this is almost a year in the making, Arrow McLaren SP getting to the Indy 500. What does it mean to McLaren to be back at the track and have another shot ate the this year with Fernando?ZAK BROWN: We’re very excited, extremely excited to be back. The combination of Arrow McLaren SP, it’s great to be back for a variety of reasons. Obviously last year didn’t go according to plan. We did that with Fernando. It’s good to be back with him. I think we’re coming back in a much more competitive environment, teaming up with SP. Equally as excited about Pato and Oliver, our collective three-driver lineup is exciting as any driver lineup out there.I think everyone in Indianapolis, we got a bunch of people out from England, a lot of great partners, new partners. As Sam said, disappointed we’re not able to do it in front of live fans, but very happy we’re able to do it. I know there will be millions of people watching around the world.I’m looking forward to getting out next week. I think Gil is there with a fresh haircut (laughter). Let’s go racing.
THE MODERATOR: Taylor, obviously not been a normal season by any means. The team has worked hard to adapt to the circumstances. Once again we have another thing to adapt to with a slightly condensed schedule. What is the team doing to prepare and get ready to be on track tomorrow?TAYLOR KIEL: Yeah, we’ve obviously been working very hard under the ever-changing conditions. It seems like things change day-to-day. Kudos to the team. They’ve been very flexible throughout the entire process. We’ve had to adapt our ways of working down to the bare basics.We’re certainly putting the time in, are prepared and ready to go. Indy 500 in August is certainly unique, but what isn’t here in 2020? We’re just excited to be here. We feel good. We feel ready to go. We’re ready to race.
THE MODERATOR: Gil, you’ve kind of overseen on the technical side the strategic partnership between arrow SP and McLaren, forming Arrow McLaren SP. How has that led us to where we are today getting ready for the Indy 500?GIL de FERRAN: I think, like Taylor touched on, also Zak, this has been a huge amount of effort from people on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s nice to be here now. You can’t see me smile with the mask, but it’s nice to be here now with all the uncertainty behind us, getting ready to go.Certainly putting two very diverse groups of people together, there is a lot. I think we need to learn about each other. We knew that from the beginning. This is certainly a role that we working together. So far if I was to assess how things are going and looking back at the results this season, I would say things are going fairly well.We got to be humble. We got to realize that we got a lot of very strong competitors here. Just keep our heads down, our feet to the ground, tackle these next few days here in practice one by one.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up to questions.Q. Zak and Gil, in a lot of ways what a difference a year and three months makes. Last May we were here, the McLaren effort wasn’t able to get into the race. Now the Arrow McLaren SP finally has a driver in fourth place in the INDYCAR standings. You probably have three drivers capable of winning the Indianapolis 500. Contrast and talk about how different it is to be on a team this year that has the kind of tools that you have.ZAK BROWN: As the guys said, it’s extremely competitive, so we’re very excited. I think we do have three cars that should be capable of winning the race. That being said, it’s so competitive I think you can broaden that to 15 cars, maybe even as much as half the field.That being said, we got bit pretty hard last year. Let’s make sure we have good practice, good qualifying. We do have two rookies in addition to a guy who hasn’t done it a lot, as great as he is.I think we do need to kind of keep our head down. I think if we do the right things and everyone executes, we can have three cars there at the end. For that basis, it’s super exciting.GIL de FERRAN: Yeah, to me it’s clear when we started talking even last year to the guys here in Indianapolis, the depth of the talent here and the experience was very apparent to me. There’s no question that it’s been a positive thing for us to be in this partnership. It’s been all good.As you said, we have two rookies that are doing fairly well. We have a few podiums already this year. One of the guys is in fourth place. This is not about counting or chickens, it’s about the road that we’re on together. There’s still a long way to go here.
Q. Zak, the effort from Alonso’s perspective, to be able to come over here at a highly unusual time, continent to continent. What is he able to do to keep himself in race shape?ZAK BROWN: Yeah, Fernando, as we all know, is an immense talent. I’ve not seen someone more prepared to go motor racing as far as how they go racing. Talked to Fernando earlier. He knows he needs to be there at the end. I think he’ll take quite a methodical approach as he does to the race, be well-prepared. I don’t have any concerns over Fernando’s ability to step in and get with the program.GIL de FERRAN: If I might add, I think Zak touched on it, but Fernando is all about preparation. He has been that way ever since I met him. He send me a text the other day: I just spent eight hours on a bicycle (laughter). He’s fully prepared I think physically and mentally.
Q. Zak, how beneficial is it for you as a team and personally having Fernando back in Indy, given that you have two relative rookies in the series?ZAK BROWN: Yeah, I think it’s great to have him back. While he doesn’t have a tremendous amount of experience around Indianapolis, he has a tremendous amount of experience, as we’ve been speaking about, his approach to a race weekend.I think what Oliver and Pato will learn from Fernando is how he approaches a race. I’m sure they’ll learn something about Indianapolis itself, but it will be more of his experience of what a two-time world champion and all the things he’s accomplished, how he approaches a race weekend.Our rookies are rookies. The more experience they can get, the better. So I think the combination of the driver lineup, plus their speed and competitiveness, should make it exciting. Looking forward to Taylor and Gil and the whole team putting these three cars out there this week.
Q. Taylor, how has McLaren helped in the preparations for the race this year? Obviously Schmidt Peterson Motorsport is the side of the operation that has the oval experience. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s not blatantly obvious what McLaren are actually bringing to the equation. What has been going on behind the scenes between the two? I’m sure the engineering prowess.TAYLOR KIEL: Gil, you take that and I can expand on it.GIL de FERRAN: I can. However, I got to be careful with what I say because we don’t want to give away our secrets.I think to your point, what we bring mostly to the table is depth of engineering. Ultimately we have a lot of systems and technologies that have been developed over many decades across in the UK. I think a lot of these technologies are also applicable to frankly any form of motorsports, but particularly here in INDYCAR. We are walking, as I said, on a long road together trying to lift the tide here.TAYLOR KIEL: I think we’ve touched on it before, but I think I’m a huge proponent of new thoughts, new ideas, different ways of looking at solving a problem. I think our two organizations have come together and meshed really well to solve problems that we face every day but with a new outlook and some fresh perspective. I think that in itself has been a huge help for us here in 2020.
Q. Zak, what have you seen through the start of this INDYCAR season that has either most encouraged or most satisfied you as far as the results that you guys have gotten from this partnership with McLaren from a year ago to now?ZAK BROWN: Yeah, I think there’s a lot that we’re pleased with how it’s going. It’s ultimately producing results on the track. As the guys were just speaking about, COVID, when we started integrating our know-how and technologies to Taylor and the team, we were also finishing a season getting ready to test and trying to do that on the fly. It’s not that easy.I think when COVID put the brakes on things, one of the things that it did benefit us is I think it gave an opportunity for our two teams to get to know each other and collaborate in a slower environment, if I want to I guess call it that. I’m very pleased with that.The relationship that I have with Sam and Ric, the owners of Arrow McLaren SP, is great. Ashleigh, who runs the commercial side, working alongside Phil, our partners are happy. We’ve brought quite a few partners to the table. It’s quite a nice effort that’s come together really well at the start of the year which is not an easy thing to do.To have almost won a race, podiums with both drivers, more good weekends than bad weekends, here we are at Indy, couldn’t be more pleased with where we are from when we got started.
Q. Taylor and Gil, how important has it been to have so much success both in the qualifying process and in actual race, from both Pato and Oliver heading into this weekend being able to provide Fernando with data, the added plus of having so much early season success from those two guys?TAYLOR KIEL: I mean, our pace out of the box so far this year has been good. There’s still room for improvement there. But I think kudos to Oliver and Pato for being able to get on the horse and ride right away under extremely difficult circumstances.They’ve certainly been impressive, but also likewise it takes a great team behind you to make that happen. Our engineering staff, our mechanics, everybody that gets these cars to the racetrack, have done a phenomenal job. Likewise operationally pulling in the McLaren group, being able to work out the kinks very early so we could hit the ground running has been a massive help.Yes, it is hugely important for us to be able to unload the cars and hit the track quick, especially with the way the schedules are. I expect no different here at Indianapolis. I think that Fernando is going to bring a level of expertise and being able to close that feedback loop that we haven’t had in quite some time.I’m excited to see all of that work together here in about 24 hours.GIL de FERRAN: Yeah, I was thinking about it when everybody was talking. Look, I’m pleasantly surprised with our performance. I don’t know if you recall, but when this whole thing started, I was very aware of the fact that we’re on a long journey here. We signed two rookie drivers with very little experience in INDYCAR, but they’ve clearly shown a lot of potential and a lot of talent. Certainly my expectations personally were quite a bit lower than where we’re at today.I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Both guys have shown a great deal of speed. As Taylor said, our integration has been getting certainly from my perspective very high marks.Also, as usual, we see it, we talk a lot about opportunities for improvement. There’s still plenty of them. In time hopefully we will tackle. There’s still a long road ahead of us. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the performance of the drivers and the results that we’ve been getting so far.
Q. Sam, your impressions about Fernando? You have the chance to know him in previous years. Now your relationship with him is different as one of your drivers. How do you describe him, his way of working and approaching the race?SAM SCHMIDT: (Indiscernible) engineering staff, pit stop winners last year, we’ve been building for this moment for quite some time. Somebody you know is a true professional, two-time world champion. That says it all. It’s a great opportunity for these two young guys to be able to ride on his coattail for about 10 days.I’m happy to be here for this time period in every way, whether we’re running it without fans, the way we’re running the program, et cetera. We had a conversation, a couple conversations, in 2017 in passing. I don’t know him that well. What we’ve seen in just a few days is (indiscernible) approaching this race like he wants to win. I can’t wait to see him in action.
Q. Gil, do you feel with Fernando’s vast experience, also two years of attempting to race at Indy, your role as adviser for him is still crucial or do you feel your work this year will be more focused towards getting Pato and Oliver comfortable?GIL de FERRAN: Well, I guess I established the relationship with Fernando, now your point goes back to 2017. There’s no way that will go away because once you establish a good relationship, the guy is your friend and that’s it, end of story.I think from a professional perspective, I’m planning to be on his radio. The relationship there, it’s a little bit different. But if I step back for a second, to be quite honest with you, I’ll be equally happy if any of our three drivers did well this race.Certainly within the team there’s no favorite. I think Taylor can attest to that. Very open environment. We discuss everything. Every lesson, every piece of information, wherever it comes from, to make sure we lift the team.Taylor is on Pato’s radio, I’ll be on Fernando’s radio. We’re a team here. If one or three of our three drivers do well, we’ll all be happy.
Q. Zak, the point about how much it’s changed the infrastructure of McLaren to have you guys increasing your participation in this race, how many people actually are dedicated to the INDYCAR side of the things back at the MTC?ZAK BROWN: As Gil has said, I think we want to be a little bit careful with giving too much detail. What I would say is it’s a good, strong handful of fully dedicated, 100% INDYCAR, that have their own space at the MTC, then they have a variety of tools and additional people they can pull on.At the end of the day what we’ve provided is additive to Arrow SP before it became Arrow McLaren SP, which is exciting. When we first came in in ’17, we teamed up with Michael. Other than a little bit of influence from the team, primarily from Gil from a relationship, Michael ran that effort. We feel like we’re definitely much more hands on in this effort, which is great.We’re racers. We want to go racing. Have a lot of people over there with a variety of accents, primarily British. It will be good. I’m looking forward to seeing it all, as I’ve not been to an INDYCAR race yet. I’m very much looking forward to seeing it live myself.
Q. Zak, looking at obviously what transpired the last two years, now coming into this season, can you take me through some of the lessons that were learned from what happened last year, what you’re going to be doing with those lessons learned for this season?ZAK BROWN: Yeah. Obviously I think I’ve spoken quite a bit about it. I think the biggest lesson we learned is don’t do what we did last year. I don’t want to rehash, but there were a lot of obviously mistakes that you make when you don’t qualify for a race. You’ve got to get it pretty wrong for a team like McLaren and a driver like Fernando Alonso to not make the show.Really it was a lot of little mistakes, predictable. Saw a lot of them, unfortunately didn’t kind of react fast enough, that ultimately compound.If I look at the end result, it really started with our first test, which we have a variety of issues at that we should have had enough time to be well-prepared for. Then when we had these issues, we didn’t respond to them quickly enough, urgently enough.When you don’t solve those issues, you continue to have them, a car gets crashed, you don’t have your spare ready for a variety of reasons, all of which has been documented in some silly headlines, unfortunately. They’re not quite as silly. There’s an explanation behind each one went wrong, but we got it wrong.I think teaming up with Sam and Ric and the team, a lot of these rookie mistakes we made, they’re as well-prepared, as you said, especially oval experience, INDYCAR team.I think that’s the biggest mistakes we made, is we came collectively almost as a bunch of rookies, and that didn’t work well. I think we’ve come in in a much better way, long-term view to the sport. That’s what we’re doing differently, without getting into the finer details of each item.
Q. Gil, the team obviously extremely strong this season in INDYCAR. You spoke about being on the radio with Fernando. Bringing a guy like Fernando Alonso into a team like this with two young, up-and-coming drivers, tell me what you think Fernando might be able to bring and offer these young drivers.GIL de FERRAN: Well, look, I guess the way I think about this is if I was in that position, right? I guess I was a driver once upon a time. I would say, having had for example the opportunity to work with Sir Jack Hewitt for many years, it was something that was hugely beneficial, particularly early in my career.Being a complete racing driver is not just about how fast you can go. There are many, many, many, many things that you have to learn how to do well to be able to win championships on a consistent basis and race year after year, which is something that Fernando has done pretty much his whole life.In my mind, I think it was Zak that said it earlier, seeing how I think Sam and Taylor also touched on it, a guy that has had such an accomplished career, seeing how he goes about his business, not just steering to the right, to the left, how you touch the brakes, so on and so forth, but every aspect of being a racing driver, I think it can only be a positive.I can’t see how they couldn’t come out of this experience better than they were before.
Q. What has been the biggest takeaway assuring that this year’s 500 will go much better?GIL de FERRAN: I’ll touch on that.Look, I guess the fact that we’re here today in a partnership with a team that has over 50 people and have been doing this for many, many years now. They have won races before, has a great deal of talent and experience within their roster should tell you everything that you need to know.I think Zak touched on this at the end of his previous answer on this topic. That’s it really. I’m not too sure there’s much more to say than that.
Q. Zak, Fernando had an unfortunate exit from the 500 last year. Is he extra determined to have more success to getting in there this season?ZAK BROWN: Yeah, I think Fernando is as dedicated as ever in his desire to win the Indy 500. I think that he’s getting back to Formula 1 next year will mean that potentially this is the last time he has to win the Indy 500 in the near future, therefore he’s never wavered during this time of COVID, is the race on, off, what date. He cleared his calendar post Paris-Dakar to come compete and hopefully win the Indy 500.He’s been very focused on that. He’s excited to get back in the car this week.GIL de FERRAN: I have a question for you, Asher? Are you racing yet?ASHER: I have my second win my last race, so yeah.GIL de FERRAN: Congratulations. In a few years, we’ll talk, okay?ASHER: Okay.
Q. Gil, even though you’re in the technical area, you have two young drivers now, you’re bringing a Formula 1 champion into the Indy 500, seeing what you’ve been doing this year, I feel you are top contenders to win this race. Will you let them race, let him disregard team orders?GIL de FERRAN: Thank you for being as confident as you are. Have to focus on doing well and prepare well for the race.Look, hopefully these preparations will go well. If we’re in a position in the front, we have all drivers involved, I think the policy is usually the same: you have to let them race, but race with respect. I think people want to watch a 500 that is hard fought. That’s what this race is all about, whether it’s between teammates or not.You seen that in the past. I can’t remember exactly where, I think it was between Will and Montoya when they were teammates. They were fighting all the way till the end. That is what the 500 is all about. For me, I think the drivers understand that, they respect each other, and hopefully if we’re in this position, which would be very nice, those certainly are my thoughts.
Q. Gil, following last year, the moment you turned around and walked away from Indy, what would you say is the first or biggest decision you had to make to make sure nothing like that happened again?GIL de FERRAN: Well, look, nothing is guaranteed in life, either successes or failures. I always go through this review process in my own head with everything that I do, frankly. Something I’ve been doing for many years, is to analyze everything we do on a daily basis. In my mind, that’s the only way you can move forward, even within the operations and engineering, whatever task is at hand. I think you always have to review very carefully.Ultimately that was a very painful one that we had to review. But we grouped everyone together, we talked about it, dissected in every single way that you can possibly imagine. I think we became stronger because of it. We learned our lessons. As Zak mentioned earlier, this eventually led to this partnership.
Q. Zak, Lando Norris is massively popular, had some success in the virtual races. Any possibility that he could come over to INDYCAR?ZAK BROWN: Lando, it’s great racing with him. He loves other forms of motorsport. He’ll drive anything. He’s one of those guys.I think realistically, given how early he is in his F1 career, how unlikely it is that there won’t be a scheduling conflict between Monaco and Indy, because they need to be two weeks apart, not one week apart. I think on that basis, unfortunately he’s probably years away.I think he’d love to do it. I think he’d be great at it. I think he’s got a lot of time. He’s very young still to come over to Indy. We shouldn’t get our hopes up for the next first half of this decade, but who knows thereafter. He’s got a long way to go in his career.
Q. Has he shown any interest?ZAK BROWN: He’ll race anything. If I called Lando tomorrow and said, Do you want to do the Indy 500? He’d say yes. Logistically we want to be able to get that to work out. Yeah, it’s very clear Lando likes everything from karts to INDYCARS to sports cars to Formula 1 cars. No doubt he’d like to do it.THE MODERATOR: Thank you, everybody, for joining today.

Three Days of Sunoco Race Fuels North/South Events

BATAVIA, OHIO (August 11, 2020) – The stars of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will be at Florence Speedway, competing in three separate events, over four days. After Wednesday’s Ralph Latham Memorial, the Sunoco North/South Shootout – Presented by Lucas Oil will take place on Thursday, August 13th, paying $10,000-to-win, as a prelude to the 38th Annual Sunoco North/South 100 – Presented by Lucas Oil on August 14th-15th, paying $50,000-to-win.

Florence Speedway is also excited to announce a bonus for Thursday August 13th’s North/South Shootout, a $2,034 fast time award in memory of Doug Lee. Lee was a big supporter of racing locally and his friends have come together to give this award in his honor. 

Series drivers, along with local and regional standouts, will compete in two rounds of heats on Friday with passing points being awarded for the heats to set the stage for Saturday’s B-Mains and North/South 100. The 30-lap, $2,000 to win non-qualifiers race will cap off the weekend. Open Wheel Modifieds will also be in contention each day. 

Thursday’s North/South Shootout will see the pit gate open at 3 PM EDT, with the main and back gates opening at 5:30 PM EDT. On track action will get underway at 6:30 PM EDT, with hot laps and time trials, racing set to begin at 7:30 PM EDT.  
On Friday, for the prelim night of the Sunoco North/South 100, the pit gate opens at 3 PM EDT, while the main and back gates open at 5:30 PM EDT. Hot laps start at 6:30 PM EDT, with racing one hour later, at 7:30 PM EDT. The pit, main, and back gates will all open at 3 PM EDT for Saturday’s North/South 100. Hot laps are set to begin at 7:00 PM EDT, with racing at 7:30 PM EDT. 

Advance tickets for the Ralph Latham Memorial, Sunoco North/South Shootout, and/or the Sunoco North/South 100, are available at: http://florence.getmytix.net/tickets

For decades, Sunoco’s fuels have been associated with racing excellence. As the largest manufacturer of racing gasolines in the world, Sunoco has a 40-year track record of winning performances. With an expanded product line, Sunoco offers drivers more choices than ever before. To find your nearest dealer visit www.racegas.com and use our fuel finder to locate Sunoco HCR Plus or any of the other blends that fit your needs. You can also call 800-RACEGAS to speak with an engineer to help you decide on which one of our blends is best for your application. For the performance your engine is designed to deliver, consistently choose Sunoco Race Fuels. For more information, visit: sunocoracefuels.com  Jimmy Owens leads the Lucas Oil Championship Standings heading into the weekend. Jonathan Davenport currently trails Owens by 300 points. Rounding out the top five are: Josh Richards in third, Tyler Erb in fourth, and Tim McCreadie in fifth. 

Chevy racing–indycar–indianapolis 500–simon pagenaud

Q. Simon as we’re headed into the month of August, qualifying coming up on the horizon as the defending pole winner and the defending Indy 500 winner, what are your thoughts? PAGENAUD: Yes, it is finally time to get to Indianapolis. This been my number one priority for several years now and it’s it’s an honor to come back being the reigning champion is a very special feeling. It’s obviously a mythical race the biggest race in the world in a lot of people opinion. But in my opinion for sure and coming here being the defending champion just allows you to you know, feel a lot less personal pressure just allows me to be a lot more focus on doing the right thing and not worrying about the result and I do believe when you don’t worry about result things come together better. So so I’m very excited about this this chance to go back to the Speedway and and just focus on on the performance and being in the moment. So very excited the team’s been preparing really well as you know, anyways, I called Team Penske the speed lab and they’re very impressive at building racecars with a lot of speed and that’s what you wanted to Speedway. So huge confidence going in. We don’t know what tomorrow is about that’s for sure but obviously we have really good foundation and an amazing team behind us or for three drivers actually for all four with Helio (Castroneves), so it’s exciting to get back to to the speedway and it’s August but it feels like May, so I can’t wait to be there actually tomorrow great. 
Q. What is the Indy 500 going to be like without fans? Talk about how much you’ll miss having them around. How different will it be for you? PAGENAUD: Well, yeah, it’s you know, it’s been a big news last week and it but I felt very sad for the fans and felt very sad for Roger Penske as well, you know who is passionate about the race and he’s been doing so much work at the Speedway to please the fans and to make it an even more impressive event that you know, he’s my team owner but it’s also the series owner and the speedway owner. So it felt sad for him that you know, it was going to be a different race here. But you know, we have the chance to display what we do and display it in the best manner with NBC Sports Network and you know we’ve with that a an amazing race last year with Rossi and hopefully there is a battle that’s just as exciting for the fans but it definitely is going to feel different the energy is going to be different. It’s going to feel flat. No no reason, but to to think differently it won’t feel as energetic. It won’t feel like like, you know, it’s like it’s it’s going to be very different but it is the biggest race in the world and the fastest race in the world been very excited to get going and to please people with this competition. That’s really what I’m looking forward to right now.
Q. With all the simulation I wanted to ask you about whether your four driving syles between the four you guys have they gotten further apart because of the additional demands of the aero screen or have you actually come closer together? How close are you form setups? PAGENAUD: Well, I don’t think it’s changed all that much in terms of delta between each other. I think we’re all trying to figure out what the car needs and as a team, I think we all working to try and understand how we could make the tires with the best way this added weight to the car and it certainly added stress to the tires and obviously as you can imagine on a Speedway with this kind of speed the centrifuge all forces when you add weight to the front of the car changes the behavior around the corner or the radius of the car around the corner. So those are things that we all noticed and we’re going to have to work with it in the next few days. The fact that it’s a condensed schedule is a bit stressful because we don’t know what to expect very much yet. So it’s we’re going to have to make decisions quickly and be sure that it’s the right decision. Because we won’t have as much time as usual to go back to the pads and set the car up precise me, so it would be be more like a Pocono weekend. It’s going to be a yeah, it’s going to be a some interesting but still I think it hasn’t really changed all that much. It’s just about who hits the set of the best.
Q. Simon what has been the most difficult for you this season? PAGENAUD: I think it’s the unexpected quite frankly Ricardo. It’s you know, we don’t know what tomorrow is about. We don’t know, you know, like a week ago. We were racing in Mid, Ohio and all of a sudden we’re not and you know you prepare yourself. You can regimen of training nutrition hydration preparation for an event and then it has been canceled. It’s it’s not easy to switch your mind to the next thing when you had a goal in mind but for Indianapolis personally Ricardo, it’s my number one goal and he always has been since 2016 end of 2016. That’s my number one goal and that’s my main focus every year. So that’s the race. I look forward to the most that honestly we work with the most focus on and I know it’s happening this weekend and the next one. I’m very excited about it. So just want to get there and get going strap in my car and get to feel good to feel what it’s like.
Q. You talked about how little time you may get in the car that might be compounded by the weather forecast for this week. Unfortunately, whether sort of forecasted for every day, so how much time do you feel like you need in the car to really feel comfortable for qualifying and just kind of setting yourself up for success in two weekends?PAGENAUD: I don’t quite know yet, but I think you’re right. I think you know, we all know that there’s change to thunderstorms a mile to the preparation. But at the end of the day, you know, it’s going to be the same for everybody. So, you know, the best is going to win and that’s that’s key to the keys right there the keys to being the best. So every decisions we’re going to make we’re gonna have to make sure that it’s the right one to me. I put even more emphasis on the communication with my engineer understanding what my teammates are trying also to try to understand the whole process. But at the end of the day, I need to focus on exactly what I need and and clear-cut decisions. That’s really all it’s all about. And if we have very little testing and be the same for everybody we all going to end up racing at the end and you know, it’s I welcome my experience up to this point. I think I think experience could be a big help this year. 
Q. How is the extended wait to defend the 500 affected your stress and or anticipation level and how you approach the first how you approach the first few months of the season.PAGENAUD: Yeah, it’s it’s been a long wait. That’s for sure the anticipation I would say. Yeah, it’s been a serious anticipation on my part just because I love that race. I love the event and I want to go back. I just want to it’s my favorite race and not only because I want it is my favorite race. It’s the favorite feel I get throughout the entire year in the race car, and I’ve learned to learn and learn to love it and it  sucks when you don’t get to do what you love. So, you know, I was very worried we weren’t going to race this year. So I’m relieved that we are going to get to race, but it’s a pain that we won’t have any fans. That’s for sure. But we get to do what we love we get to show what we love once again, and to me to me, that’s everything so I go I can’t wait for tomorrow wake up get to the airport and and then talk to my engineer tomorrow afternoon.
Q. Last year you had the whole month of May to really build up some momentum and get into a rhythm. Just the disjointed part of this season make it difficult for you to sort of find anywhere them or build momentum will feel really confident. Heading into start on Wednesday.PAGENAUD: It is different for sure. Its up and downs and up and downs. It’s a bit of a roller coaster this year. You know, I thought going into Mid-Ohio. I felt some sort of momentum going and I was like, that’s perfect timing just before Indy and it suddenly stopped and it was it was abrupt. I did not expect that. I wasn’t ready for it to be canceled quite frankly. It took a few days for me, to stop training on the simulator for a road course and just switch to oval but but thankfully like I said earlier and many times. It’s my number one priority is always been Indy. So that’s the one I’ve been looking forward to the most and if there was only one race this year that I would be okay with just being Indy. So, you know, it’s it is a different year. It’s kind of weird quite frankly. I don’t have the right words probably but it’s just a roller coaster up and down emotions.
Q. How much is mental preparation? How much does that play into this?PAGENAUD: To me plays a lot. It is what helps me calm down, you know, like for example, this is rollercoaster of emotion. I’ve done a lot of work trying to make things, you know stable and trying to know where I’m going mentally speaking and trying to influence my subconscious as much as possible. So yes to me, I believe 85% of the drivers performance is is the mental side of things. So I work a lot on that and it’s been working well for me so far.
Q. Simon good afternoon, my friend wanted to ask you about the opportunity to take the Borg order to France in your trip home after winning the 500 last year. What was your biggest takeaway from that? Is there a moment from that trip that still sticks with you here A year later. PAGENAUD: Yes. Yes a lot of moments actually, but the first one that came to my mind is those pictures and seeing the Borg with the Effel Tower in the background, you know, we had a huge press conference with all the media coming to see the Borg Warner in a nice hotel and we chose that hotel because it had the Effel Tower in the background and it was such a weird photo because the Borg Warner is not supposed to be in France. So it’s you know, first of all, it was awesome that Borg Warner and IndyCar wanted to do that for me as a champion. It was a very special great gesture and taking it to my hometown. So just so you know just to Picture This we’re talking about 6,500 people. That’s my hometown it from one end to the other hand of the tail. It’s two minutes by car. That’s it. And you know, and you know, I know everybody so and you know everybody from school. I know everybody from the hospital and everybody from the grocery store the the flow people. I mean, it’s just incredible and everybody were just so excited about it that I sign autographs for more than four hours. It was awesome. So it’s just the fact that you know, there’s a my world here in the US and I’ve been very welcome here and my career has taken off here in the US and been very blessed and I was able to take my world in the US to my world in France and to combine them were very emotional moments. Very emotional.
Q. You are one of eight former winners in this year’s race having that designation of being a winner for the rest of your life. How important to you is that distinction going into, you know, coming back to the track. PAGENAUD: its massive its massive. It’s you know, I actually had a conversation with Haley my wife last night. I was like, you know, it’s you know, it’s those moments when you just relax, you sit on the couch. And you say Hey, you know, I feel really good going in this year because I don’t have that pressure of knowing if I ever will put my name on that race or if I will have a chance to experience winning it so, you know when you’ve done it, it’s such a relief. It’s such a satisfying knowledge, you know, it’s it’s looking back at what you’ve done and your trophies and knowing that you’ve climbed the highest peak in racing. So to me, that’s very special. It’s it’s a chance also now to raise a lot more free so I can just focus on myself a lot more and not worry about the outcome as much and to me it’s always been something. I think it’s for any athlete is something difficult to do to be able to part the outcome and not think about it while you’re race and I think that athletes that struggle to do that struggle more than others. So now I don’t have to worry about this at all. I can just go forward and that’s that’s that’s something I’m really excited about. 
Q. Why don’t guys often win back-to-back 500 you don’t see that real often and second part of that is why will you?PAGENAUD: I would answer to the first one is that just as hard as it is to win it once you know, it’s not because you want it once that you’re going to win it twice and it’s not because you’ve won it that you’re entitled to win it again, and I think you know, we all say it but that race does seem to choose a winner. Now you can do everything you can to win it. You can you know, make sure that you put everything in order. That you can make all the right decisions and bring your A-game on that day that you can do all that stuff. But at the end of the day something might take it away from you and it is the way it is. It’s only once a year. So all I can tell you Brant is that it is probably very hard to do it, especially consecutively. It’s probably almost impossible, but I believe in my chances and you know, I’m not thinking too much about last year. I’m just trying to go into this race. And like I said earlier just making sure that we iron everything and we don’t leave any details any stone unturned. That’s really my main focus this year and make sure that the race car suits me so I can do something like I showed you I can do last year. So that’s really my goal.
Q. What is the feeling going into the Indianapolis 500 this year with Roger owning the track .  PAGENAUD: I’m very proud to know Roger quite frankly. I think he’s a he’s a monument of racing is a monument of business in general and him, you know, I think it’s just the story. That he has is just incredible. If you think about the first time we all went to the Indy 500 and if you ever thought about buying the speedway and if you end up doing it in your life is quite an incredible, but it’s that kind of man. You know, he’s that kind of man that can do the impossible. You can make it happen and I’m very proud to be going to Speedway as as his driver as as my car owner. I would say and I want to make him proud by winning. Frankly, I would like to be the driver to win his first Indy 500 as a team or as an owner of the speedway, but like I said, there’s a lot ahead of us just very excited about the future of IndyCar and the Speedway and have seen firsthand. Some of the Improvement is made to the Speedway. It’s very unfortunate. The fans are not going to see it because there’s a lot that has been done already and enhancement of the places is going to be incredible in the future. So very very excited for the fans to see what it’s like in the future.
Q You will miss the crowd in this Indy 500. PAGENAUD: Yes. Yes. It’s you know last year. I said it that’s I use the energy of the crowd is, you know, I’m a very very spiritual person as pragmatic as I can be with the race car. I am a very spiritual person for those who know me personally, they will tell you that but I I use the energy of the crowd to prepare me and give me give me wings. This year will be different, you know test sessions are not that exciting when there’s no fans in in the grandstand. But but the exciting part is to drive the race car at this track and when you know the history of the place when you know, the previous winners and the stories that have been going on for more than a century and you’re part of that. So so, you know as a driver, I just feel blessed I get to go back and I get to race it. It’s it’s quite quite a great feeling

Racer’s Edge Acura NSX GT3 Evo Goes Flag-To-Flag For Sunday Sonoma Win

Racer’s Edge Acura NSX GT3 Evo Goes Flag-To-Flag For Sunday Sonoma Win
Trent Hindman and Shelby Blackstock lead every lap in dominant Sunday victory
Racers Edge Acura NSX GT3 Evo wins poles for both Somona GT events

SONOMA, Calif. (August 9, 2020) – The Racers Edge Motorsports #93 Acura NSX GT3 Evo showed its power on a sunny Sonoma weekend as the Silver Class driver pairing of Trent Hindman and Shelby Blackstock won Sunday’s SRO Motorsport GT series race in wire-to-wire fashion.

The striking red-and-white Acura NSX ruled Friday qualifying, winning the poles for Saturday’s and Sunday’s races around the 2.499-mile Sonoma Raceway. The team used the top starting spot to take a huge lead in Saturday’s race before a penalty blunted its charge, but there was no such drama on Sunday as Hindman and Blackstock dominated all 51 laps.

Hindman led Sunday’s event and was running away from the field before the driver change window opened up, only to see the advantage erased by a lengthy caution period for contact between two GT Sports Club competitors. Undaunted, Hindman sprinted away from the field on the Lap 13 restart and built a sizeable lead heading into the mandatory driver change pit stop.

A flawless driver change saw the Racer’s Edge team widen its advantage over the Mercedes of Colin Braun, and Blackstock spent the rest of his afternoon expanding the lead on his way to the checkered flag. The victory was the third of the year for the #93 team and its first since it swept the opening weekend at Circuit of the Americas.

Unfortunately, a pit-lane issue ended the team’s run to Victory Lane in Saturday’s opener. Having held the lead from the drop of the green flag, the team pitted too early to make its mandatory driver change, resulting in an 87-second penalty. The miscue dropped the team to sixth in the final results, although the duo did earn a victory in the Silver class.

The Racer’s Edge team played one car short this weekend in Sonoma as the defending series Pro/Am champion #80 Acura NSX GT3 Evo driven by Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli was unable to compete due to complications with travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The team is hoping to be back in action for Rounds 7 and 8.

The win this weekend is the fourth in six GT World Challenge races for the Acura NSX GT3 Evo, which won team championships in both IMSA GTD and the SRO GT World Challenge series in 2019. The car, sold and supported by HPD in North America, runs in both Sprint and Endurance racing competition around the world.

Social media content and video links from this weekend’s Acura Motorsports activity at Sonoma Raceway are available on HPD’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter at (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD). 

The GT World Challenge Series will journey back across the country for Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2020 season, which take place at the 4.048-mile permanent road course at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 28-30.

Trent Hindman (#93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo): I am really proud to be part of this Racer’s Edge Motorsports crew. They gave us a fantastic Acura NSX GT3 and Shelby did a hell of a job in the race and with the qualifying.” 

Shelby Blackstock (#93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo): “We WON race 2!! Every part of today’s race was executed to perfection! Started from the pole, Trent [Hindman, starting driver]
had a killer first stint, the Racers Edge Motorsports team produced an amazing pit stop, getting our total pit delta down to .8 of a second! Thank you boys!! Let’s keep it going!”

34th Annual Lucas Oil Ralph Latham Memorial – Presented by E3 Spark Plugs Kicks off Four Days at Florence Speedway

BATAVIA, OHIO (August 10, 2020) – On Wednesday, August 12th, race teams will vie for a $12,000 top prize in the 34th Lucas Oil Annual Ralph Latham Memorial – Presented by E3 Spark Plugs, to kick off four days of competition at Florence Speedway. 

Pit gate opens at 3 PM EDT, on Wednesday, for the Ralph Latham Memorial, with the main and back gates opening at 5:30 PM EDT. On track action will get underway at 6:30 PM EDT, with hot laps, and time trials, racing set to begin at 7:30 PM EDT.  In addition to the Lucas Dirt Series, Modifieds will also have a complete show with a 20 lap A-Main paying $1,000-to-win.

With five back-to-back winners in the event’s history, last year’s Series Champion, Jonathan Davenport looks to add his name to that list.

Advance tickets for the Ralph Latham Memorial, North/South Shootout, and/or the North/South 100, are available at: http://florence.getmytix.net/tickets 

Jimmy Owens leads the Lucas Oil Championship Standings heading into the weekend. Jonathan Davenport currently trails Owens by 300 points. Rounding out the top five are: Josh Richards in third, Tyler Erb in fourth, and Tim McCreadie in fifth. Track and Event Information:Florence Speedway
Phone Number: 859-485-7591Location: 12234 US Hwy 42, Walton, KY 41094Directions: I-75 to exit 180, then 9.2 miles SW on US 42Website: www.florencespeedway.com

Florence Speedway Tire Rule:August 12thLeft Rear/Fronts – Hoosier Rib (28.5) 1350Right Rear – Hoosier (29.0) 1350 NRM, (29.0) 1350 NRMW, (92) LM40*Must use the same set of 4 tires for Time Trials, Heat Races, and B-Main.*For the A-Main, competitors may use 2 new rear tires.*Flat tire must be replaced with a used tire of the same compound and construction to retain starting position.

chevy racing–nascar–daytona–chase elliott

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met with media via teleconference, and discussed the challenges for the new Daytona Road Course race without any on-track practice, the benefits utilizing iRacing and the Chevrolet simulator to prepare, his opinion of the new Choose Rule, racing at Bristol, and more. Full Transcript:
A LOT OF THE CHATTER IS ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH CHASE ELLIOTT’, BUT YOU HAVE THREE STRAIGHT TOP-10’S, SO ARE YOU STRUGGLING, OR NOT?“Well, at least there’s chatter about us. I guess that’s better than not. Yeah, I think we’re struggling a little bit, for sure. I think on one hand, historically the Pocono, Indy, Kentucky, and Texas tracks have been, I would say, historically poor for me, personally. Maybe not from a stat sheet or whatever in some cases, but I think those tracks have been a problem a little bit in the past. So, I’m not as surprised to struggle with those places. But certainly, I thought we would do a little better at Kansas and thought we would be maybe a little better at Michigan. I feel like our success came early there at Michigan. We had some really good runs there in my rookie year and then in that second year. But really, since then I feel like we’ve even struggled there.
“So yes, I do. I feel we’re not performing as we should. Not performing as we expect. Not performing to our full potential, you know? Whether that’s me or whatever it is, I certainly expect more of all of us, myself included. So yes, I think we’re off.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO BRISTOL, THAT’S MORE OF AN EQUALIZER WHEN IT COMES TO RACE TRACKS, BEING A SHORT TRACK, NOT AS MUCH AERO INVOLVED. DO YOU HAVE A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WHERE YOU’VE LED A LOT OF LAPS BUT HAVEN’T ALWAYS GOTTEN THE FINISH THAT YOU DESERVE; AND YET YOU DID WIN THE ALL-STAR THERE?  ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING TO THE NIGHT RACE AT BRISTOL NEXT MONTH?“Yeah, I’m definitely excited to go to Bristol. Coming off a win there is great. And like you said, I feel like we’ve had some really good runs there in the past; not always the results to show it, but yeah, I look forward to going. I do think that even the short track side of things I think it can exploit all of your struggle spots, whatever that may be. For whatever reason, the All-Star race went really well, and that’s really, I feel like, been the only race that we’ve performed like I know we can; heck, over the past month and a half. So yeah, I’m looking forward to going there although we all know that a good run there in the past does not guarantee you a good run next time. But I’m certainly looking forward to trying again.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO THIS WEEKEND AT THE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE, WITH THE 2020 SCHEDULE BEING CRAZY AND THE RESTART AND EVERYTHING ELSE, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO OUT OF THIS PARTICULAR WEEKEND IN A FIRST-TIME RUN ON A ROAD COURSE AT DAYTONA?“I think this weekend is going to be a big time challenge for everyone. I think the one guy that I look at that really has a leg up is Kyle (Busch), having come off that 24-hour event (Rolex 24) this year. In fact, I think if we all knew that we were going to be doing this road course, you probably would have seen all of us trying to get in that 24-Hour race this year to go and do it. But you never know with things like that. I think it’s going to be a challenge. I think it’s going to be a fun challenge for everyone. I’ve never entered a race like that where you literally just have no idea what to expect. Road racing, in my opinion, is a lot about brake-markers and a lot about visual aids and these nuances around the track that you can see with your eyes to help with your hands and your feet do the right things at the right times. Heck, I have no idea where I need to stop on Turn 1 on Sunday; or (Turn) 2 or (Turn) 3 and all the way back around to the Start/Finish Line.
“So, I think that’s going to be super, super difficult for everybody. And it’s going to be one of those things where you have to creep up on it and it’s a hard guess. You know, we can run in the SIM’s and iRacing and all those things until we’re blue in the face. But ultimately that doesn’t, in my opinion, give you the visual aids that you need to do the right things at the right times. The only way to get that is (with) laps around the race track and 65 laps is not really a ton of time to figure those things out. So, learn and learn fast and try not to make any big time mistakes in doing it.”
YOU ARE ONE OF THE DRIVERS ON SATURDAY DURING THE MICHIGAN RACE THAT USED THE CHOOSE RULE TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE PROCESS OF HOW YOU MADE DECISIONS AND WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF EVERYTHING AND ANY TWEAKS THAT NEED TO BE MADE GOING FORWARD?“I think the rule is good. I thought that it opened up options. To me, the biggest thing about it is the way you come off pit road doesn’t determine your destiny, which I think is the right thing. It eliminates the games leaving pit road. And too, I think in a lot of ways, it almost puts a little more stock in your pit stop because although it doesn’t necessarily determine whether or not you’re going to be odd or even, but it does allow to pick ahead of a car or two if you are able to beat those people off of pit road. So, it doesn’t take any of the importance out of having a fast pit stop because choosing before the next guy is still important, but it does allow you to pick. And, I think if things work out for you, great. And like I’ve said before, if you choose the wrong lane, there’s nobody else to blame it on but yourself. So, I think that’s really the way it should be, and I like that we’re doing that now.
“And, I can’t say that I had some super-smart, genius way, of picking lane, but on a couple of those restarts there, it worked out and I had the right pusher. Brad (Keselowski) gave me a great push there on Saturday. That was why we got the lead. And then out front, obviously Kevin (Harvick) was still very fast. Do I think he was going to be really hard to hold off those last 10 or 11 laps? Absolutely. But it gave us an option that we might not have had otherwise.”
WITH SO MUCH CONTRACT TALK THIS PAST WEEK AND ESPECIALLY THE TALK ABOUT WHO IS GOING TO END UP IN THE NO. 48 CAR, WHO DO YOU PERSONALLY WANT TO SEE REPLACE JIMMIE JOHNSON NEXT YEAR IN THAT CAR?“I’d love for Jimmie to stay. How about that? I think Jimmie is a great guy and I enjoy having him as my teammate; so, I’m lobbying for him.”
HOW MUCH TIME HAVE YOU GOTTEN ON THE SIMULATOR ON THE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE OR HAVE YOU DONE ANY IRACING OR GOTTEN ANY SORT OF PRACTICE WHATSOEVER? AND WHAT CONCERNS YOU ABOUT THE COURSE, GOING IN COLD?“I think a lot of it I mentioned there at the beginning; so, I don’t want to double-up on the same comments. But, pretty much everything I said there to start. I’ve run some laps on iRacing. When I messed around with it on iRacing, it didn’t have that chicane there on the front straightaway, which they added; or I guess it’s there and will be there for the race weekend. So yeah, I’m planning on going to the Chevy SIM this week and just try to get some laps. I really think you have to be really smart about how you take that information and apply it to real life because although you can make laps, and maybe get yourself familiar with the course, those visual aids on IRacing or the Chevrolet SIM, are never going to be exactly right.
“The sponsor logos change on the wall every time you go. You might have a section of grass that isn’t green, or it is dead, that you might use as a brake point. All those things are just so dynamic that I think it’s hard to take that to a simulator to real life. So, when I go to the SIM, I’m going to just try to take a super step back, like generalized approach, and try to learn the big things about the course and the layout; but I think it’s going to be really hard to fine tune. And I almost think you’re better off not trying to fine tune because I would rather have no information than to gather wrong information going into an event like that cold turkey.”
ON THE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE REPLACING WATKINS GLEN THIS YEAR, WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON NOT GOING TO THE GLEN SINCE YOU’VE WON THERE THE PAST TWO YEARS?“Obviously we’ve had a good couple of years up there so it would have been nice to go back and try again. But ultimately, I get it. And, I’m glad to see that they’ve put a road course on the schedule that was feasible and an option to do. So, I certainly don’t have anything bad to say about it, honestly. I understand the reasoning behind it and I appreciate NASCAR’s flexibility in being able to change things up and get a road course on the schedule in place of a road course. It’s really, honestly, about all we could ask for, I think. And, I think it will be a really big challenge for all the drivers which, I think, is good. We’re supposed to be challenged and we’re supposed to be the top of our sport of stock car racing. So yeah, I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
WILL YOU REACH OUT TO ANY OF THE GUYS WHO HAVE RACED THE ROLEX 24 TO TRY TO GET SOME IDEAS AND SOME HINTS OF WHAT TO DO? THEY ALL SEEM TO SAY THE BIGGEST ISSUES WILL BE IN THE BRAKING ZONES.“Yeah, I think so. And, I think we need to exploit the Chevrolet-side of things with the Corvette program and the Cadillac programs that they do there on the IMSA-side of things. We have a lot of access to that. So absolutely. I plan on doing that some. Those cars are very different from our cars and they are very high-performance and stop way better and corner faster and all those things, so it is different. But, road course racing, I think, we’ve seen guys come over from that world and come to stock car racing and have a lot of success because I think a lot of the fundamentals of road racing are probably, although I’ve never driven one of those cars, but seeing how they’ve come over and had success, I would have to think they are fundamentally similar in braking and when to be on the brakes and when to be off the brakes and when to do the max braking and when to not, I think are probably all a similar mindset. It’s just going to be your distances and your gaps and things are going to be way different. So just kind of figuring that out, I do think they can offer some good insight to maybe little things around the race track that we can use to our advantage.”


  BROOKLYN, MI – August 10, 2020 – Ford Performance and Roush Yates Engines won at Road America with Austin Cindric and swept the double header at Michigan International Speedway with Kevin Harvick. Cindric’s win marked his fourth win in the 2020 season and the ninth win for Ford Performance in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Harvick’s wins marked three in-a-row in the NASCAR Cup Series for Stewart-Haas Racing and six in-a-row at MIS for Ford Performance teams and Roush Yates Engines.
“What an incredible weekend!” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “The weekend started off with an impressive run and win by Austin Cindric at Road America then ended with Kevin Harvick sweeping Michigan! Winning at Michigan has always been special for our team and the Ford family. It feels great to be able to keep the Heritage trophy in Dearborn.”
The NASCAR Cup Series had an action-packed weekend with a double header at Michigan International Speedway. Harvick dominated on Saturday afternoon, winning both stages and the FireKeepers Casino 400. Harvick‘s fast Ford Mustang was out front the majority of the afternoon, leading a race-high 92 of the 161 laps.
As the laps wound down, the competition began to heat up. There were five restarts in the final 30 laps, including an overtime finish, that forced Harvick, “The Closer”, to close out the win just 0.284 seconds in front of Ford Performance teammate Brad Keselowski.
Ryan Blaney also had a strong day, leading 27 laps, top five finish in both stages, and finishing P4. Joey Logano led 18 laps while finishing P8.
“This was just an awesome car to drive today,” Harvick said. “I think the confidence is high when we come to Michigan anyway. It‘s a race track that‘s been really good to us and for whatever reason just fits our style of cars, everything we do with our cars at Stewart-Haas Racing.”
Sunday’s Michigan race was more of the same, with Harvick winning stage two and the race. Harvick led a race-high 90 of 156 laps. This was his sixth victory of the season, his fifth at Michigan and the 55th of his Cup Series career, tying him with Rusty Wallace on the series’ all-time win list.
Harvick had to hold off a hard charging Denny Hamlin in the closing laps of the Consumers Energy 400 on Sunday. “It was a big challenge.” said Harvick. “Our Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang got really tight there in three and four. I could run really good through one and two still, but I was just tight on that other end all day. So, I’ve just got to thank all my guys. They did a great job all weekend on pit road. Great pit calls. Just got to thank Haas Automation, Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers, Jimmy Johns, Fields. Everybody who helps put this No. 4 car on the track and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing and Roush Yates Engines for awesome power underneath the hood this weekend.”
For Sunday’s race, Logano finished P5, Aric Almirola P6, and Matt DiBenedetto had a great run, finishing P7. Clint Bowyer also led 43 laps while winning stage one.
On Saturday afternoon the NASCAR Xfinity Series took on Road America, a 4.048-mile road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Cindric dove into Turn 1 taking the lead after the green flag dropped and led the opening eight laps before cars were called to pit road due to lightning in the area. After more than an hour of delay, teams returned to their cars.
The entire race was filled with ever changing weather conditions that made pit road strategy crucial. Heavy rain showers during the race forced teams to change to rain tires, but once the sun came out it was a race back to the slick tires.
The race win came down to a three-lap shootout between Cindric and AJ Allmendinger. Cindric came out on top, achieving his fourth win of the year while leading a race high of 19 laps. Chase Briscoe fought hard and was in contention to win all day while finishing P3, his sixth top-five in the last seven races.
Ford leads all manufacturers with 13 NASCAR Cup series wins and nine Xfinity series wins. Stewart-Haas Racing and Harvick lead the owner and driver points standings in NCS and Cindric along with Team Penske lead the owner and driver points standing in the NXS.
Both the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity series will head to Daytona International Speedway to run the road course for the first time ever! Reference the full 2020 schedule on Roushyates.com.

Late Restart Lifts DiBenedetto To A Seventh-Place Finish At Michigan

August 9, 2020

A late-race charge following a pit stop propelled Matt DiBenedetto and his No. 21 NewFordTech.com Mustang to a seventh-place finish in Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway. It was DiBenedetto’s seventh top-10 finish of the season, and coupled with the seven points he earned from a fourth-place finish in Stage One, he now has a 57-point cushion in the Playoff standings with four regular-season races left before the start of the Playoffs.

DiBenedetto started Sunday’s 312-mile race from sixth place as the line-up was set by a partial inversion of the finishing order from Saturday’s race at Michigan, where he finished 15th.

Taking advantage of the track position he started with and some major overnight adjustments to the NewFordTech.com Mustang, DiBenedetto quickly drove up to third place then ended the first 40-lap Stage in fourth place, earning seven points.

In Stage Two he dropped out of the top 10, finishing in 12th place, but was soon back in the top 10. He raced his way back up to third place but had dropped back to 10th place when the race’s final caution flag flew with 19 laps remaining.

DiBenedetto was one of two drivers in the top 20 to head to pit road, and he fell back in line in 19th place then moved up six spot by taking the less-preferred inside line when it came time to choose. When the green flag dropped to start a 15-lap dash to the finish, DiBenedetto used his skills in traffic on restarts to quickly gobble up seven more positions before eventually losing one, which left him in seventh place.

DiBenedetto said he and crew chief Greg Erwin could never get the NewFordTech.com Mustang handling just like he wanted, but they kept working at it and made the most of the day.

“We were really struggling [Saturday], and our team worked super-hard and made some good improvements so we could at least run further up there,” he said. “We didn’t play a lot of defense all day and had to drive the thing for all it was worth…

 “We hung tough. We had a monster restart there at the end and were able to drive our way up there and get a good finish.
“It felt really good to get to go on offense there at the end.”
DiBenedetto said he likes NASCAR’s new choose rule, which has been implemented at tracks other than road courses and superspeedways. It lets drivers choose which lane they will be in for restarts.
DiBenedetto said that after studying the way the choosing works, he’s decided to let his spotter Doug Campbell make the call on which lane to choose.
“It puts a lot of pressure on Doug, but I feel better with that decision in his hands,” he said.
DiBenedetto also said he’s cautiously optimistic about his Playoff chances but knows there is a lot of racing left in the regular season.

“You always want more points,” he said. “I feel good about how we’ve been running. We’ve been racking up some solid points, but you never know what can happen in these races.
“If we keep on doing what we’re doing, hopefully the rest will take care of itself.”
DiBenedetto and the No. 21 team return to work next Sunday for the first-ever Cup Series race on the road course at Daytona International Speedway.

Long-awaited HEMI®-powered Win for Capps at Indianapolis

Comes at Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals Presented by Pennzoil

·        Third-seeded Ron Capps takes Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) HEMI-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to winner’s circle at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil

·        Capps’ win at Indianapolis is the first of his 26-year career at Lucas Oil Raceway and was the only remaining track where he hadn’t yet come away with a trophy

·        Ninth consecutive Funny Car final round appearance for a DSR Dodge SRT Hellcat entry dating back to September 2019

·        DSR is now one wally trophy away from an unprecedented NHRA milestone 350 national event wins

·        No. 1 qualifier Tommy Johnson Jr. takes the lead in Funny Car standings despite disappointing quarterfinal loss

·        DSR Dodge fleet of Funny Cars now 1-2-3-4 in the championship points race

·        No. 3 qualifier Leah Pruett drives Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye dragster to a third semi-final appearance of the year and is third in battle for Top Fuel championship title

Aug. 9, 2020, Brownsburg, Ind. – There was only one track in Ron Capps’ storied 26-year career where a national event victory had eluded him, but the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) veteran Funny Car driver finally checked the historic Indianapolis dragstrip off that list by driving his HEMI-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the winner’s circle at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil. 

“Leave it to 2020 to get my first win at Indianapolis,” said Capps of the emotional and long-awaited victory. “For a driver to be able to say that he’s won at every track on the (NHRA) circuit is pretty incredible and it shows you the talent that I’ve had around me since I started my career.”

“For Dodge to jump in and to win a Dodge race for them and Pennzoil, means something,” adds Capps. “This is hallowed ground and I really started to wonder if I would ever win here. It may not be the U.S. Nationals, but maybe we broke the yolk. This is still a place that has so many great memories and such a great rich history.”

After qualifying third, Capps drove his HEMI-powered ride through eliminations with wins over Tim Wilkerson, Blake Alexander, and Bob Tasca, earning lane choice along the way over his final round opponent, J.R. Todd and then his first win of the year. It was Capps’ first final round appearance since his 2019 win at Brainerd.

Capps’ 64th career Funny Car victory, second only to John Force (151) on the all-time win list, was earned at the third Indianapolis-based event since the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ returned to racing following a four-month hiatus due to the on-going pandemic, and saw the 2016 world champion bounce back from a pair of disappointing first-round losses to DSR teammates in the first two events. 

“The last two weeks were hard with these two races here,” says Capps who jumped up two positions to fourth place in the championship points battle. “After the break, we came back and knew that we were on limited time to make a run in the points. We came back from the hiatus and I didn’t get a whole lot of laps in the car. We didn’t get to do a whole lot of testing like some other teams did. The one saving grace is that I’ve got a great team and (Rahn) Tobler gives me a great car so that helped. I just haven’t had a whole lot of confidence mainly because we haven’t had a whole lot of runs. We’ve been knocked out first round so this helped me a bunch. This was a feel good weekend on many different fronts; my confidence is back and Tobler found his racecar.”

With the win, DSR extends a streak of nine consecutive final round appearances for one of their Dodge Charger SRT Hellcats that dates back to September 2019 (Charlotte), and puts the team just one victory away from an unprecedented NHRA milestone of 350 national event wins. 

The DSR Dodge Charger foursome is also now 1-2-3-4 in the Funny Car championship points standings with each driver having earned a Wally (trophy) of their own this year to date (and one rain postponed final (Indy 2) between Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman yet to be run during the U.S. Nationals.)

Taking over the lead in the championship chase from teammate Beckman is Tommy Johnson Jr. who came into race day with a win (Phoenix) and his second No. 1 qualifier position in three races aboard his MD Anderson Dodge, but fell short of adding more points to his lead after a quarterfinal loss to Paul Lee.  

Seeded second for eliminations, Hagan and his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye remain third in the standings after a first round win over Beckman but encountering a setback in the quarterfinals with a loss to Bob Tasca. 

After advancing to the final round of eliminations in three of four national events this season, Beckman’s difficulties in qualifying put him at a disadvantage for the first time this year with a 15th place on the eliminations ladder. His first-round loss dropped him into second place in the Funny Car championship battle from his position as points leader which he had held since the start of the season.

In Top Fuel competition, Leah Pruett drove her demon-red, black and chrome Mopar Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye dragster from a No. 3 seeded position on the eliminations ladder through to a semifinal match up against Steve Torrence after victories over Shawn Langdon and Pat Dakin. It was her third semifinal appearance this season and while she is still chasing a win this season, Pruett is third in the Top Fuel rankings.

The next scheduled events on the ever-changing calendar are the NHRA Southern Nationals, slated to take place in Atlanta, Ga, on Aug, 28-30, followed by the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Sept. 3-6.


Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car

(No. 15 Qualifier – 4.621 seconds at 179.90 mph)

Round 1: (0.045-second reaction time, 4.293 seconds at 219.01 mph) lost to No. 2 Matt Hagan (0.066/3.993/296.50

“I’ve never been done on Sunday at 10:40 in the morning. It’s a surreal feeling with an early start to get beat first round. We’re not gonna ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ this. We pushed hard both qualifying runs and it was just a little too aggressive. It put us in the unenviable position of running a teammate who had qualified good and had better data than us. That’s drag racing. On a perfect day, you beat four people and they hand you a trophy and it’s damn near impossible. We will pick up the pieces for our next race. I’m not sure when and where that is. These are unprecedented times. We will be back to the form we were in late last year and early this year and we will make an absolute run at that championship.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car  
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.982 seconds at 320.81 mph)

Round 1: (0.066-second reaction time, 3.993 seconds at 296.50 mph) beat No. 15 Jack Beckman (0.045/4.293/219.01)

Round 2: (0.087/4.881/195.17) lost to No. 7 Bob Tasca (0.074/4.034/311.70)

“We still had a really good race weekend. We qualified No. 2 and went some rounds and took out (Jack) Beckman, the points leader. We definitely closed the gap to the top and the DSR Funny Cars are still 1-2-3 and (Ron) Capps had a good day. The points are tight. We have a strong car and sometimes it gets hot and greasy and we make a lot of power and it can be more challenging to reel that in. The crew did a great job, again. (Crew Chief) Dickie (Venables) continues to do a great job running this car and we put on a great show for our partners at Dodge and Mopar and Pennzoil this weekend at the Dodge Nationals, and we’ve had a hell of a streak dating back to last season. We have a consistent and fast race car and I’m ready to go whenever they tell us to come back.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.976 seconds at 318.54 mph)

Round 1: (0.084-second reaction time, 3.955 seconds at 322.81 mph) beats No. 16 Alexis DeJoria (0.088/4.363/209.92)

Round 2: (0.070/4.689/178.50) lost to No. 9 Paul Lee (0.092/4.140/270.70)

“That was very surprising. I wasn’t expecting that second round. We’ve had such a flawless race car going down the track each lap and it caught me off guard when it pulled them loose out there. It seemed like it was on a good run and just drove into smoke. It’s both surprising and frustrating, but you can’t get too disappointed. You lick your wounds and move on, learn from this and be better. We’ll figure out why and address that. To qualify No. 1 again and come out of here with the points lead is a positive.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.987 seconds at 317.05 mph)  
Round 1: (0.078-second reaction time, 4.056 seconds at 273.61 mph) beat No. 14 Tim Wilkerson (0.086/4.413/203.25)

Round 2: (0.069/3.990/320.51) beat No. 6 Blake Alexander (0.088/4.036/318.99)

Round 3: (0.045/4.065/316.30) beat No. 7 Bob Tasca (0.089/9.713/77.18)

Round 4: (0.065/4.110/294.63) beat No. 5 J.R. Todd, (0.074/10.318/80.06)

“This track makes you run it. This is not the kind of track where you roll up to it, stab the gas and go straight down the track. It’s got little nuances that make it really unique. You look at the Indy 500 and there’s things some drivers master and you look at Daytona and there’s things that some drivers have mastered there. You really have to know this track. Rahn Tobler and I work really well together through those nuances. Both lanes have different things that you have to prepare for and they can certainly hurt you.  

“First round, the car moved around on me and that was the reason it smoked the times at the other end but we got lucky. In the final round it did the same thing and started moving me around a little bit and it spun a bit and that’s the reason we ran a 4.11 otherwise we should have run a 3.99 again. We’ll take the win. It was live TV and we didn’t get to warm the car up. We just got up there, strapped in and had no time to think about anything.

“This trophy is going to my wife who has been coming to this racetrack with me for 26 years and has ridden that emotional roller coaster with me getting close and not winning. On top of it her birthday is always at the Indy (U.S. Nationals) race and all those years she’s rod along with me and seen the emotional wreck I’ve been not winning and knowing how much it means to me, I just called home and she was crying. It just means so much to us.”

Leah Pruett, Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster  
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.840 seconds at 318.02 mph)  
Round 1: (0.074-second reaction time, 3.749 seconds at 325.53 mph) beats No. 14 Shawn Langdon (0.055/3.839/304.19)

Round 2: (0.133/3.829/313.07) beats No.10 Pat Dakin (0.066/3.905/312.71)

Round 3: (0.084/3.861/316.60) loss to No. 14 Steve Torrence (0.078/3.819/320.51)

“Another semifinal finish here in Indy for this Dodge Redeye team. We grabbed some points during qualifying and we keep advancing along with the top cars. Unfortunately, we brought a knife to a gun fight in the semis. There was more out there on the track then we anticipated. We’ll regroup and we have a ton of momentum with this team. We got Cory’s (McClenathan) car on track this weekend. Wherever our next race is at, I feel like we’ve got a very good race car. The car is doing what we ask it to. Our DSM parts and pieces are performing well. We need to make the right steps and keep charging hard.”

RCR Post Race Report – Consumers Energy 400

Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off Road/E-Z-GO Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Team Overcome Challenges to Earn Strong Top-10 Finish at Michigan
 31st  17th
“It was a good day for our Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off Road/E-Z-GO Chevrolet team. We had to start last after going to a backup car and we were issued a pass-through penalty on lap one for making unapproved adjustments on pit road. Despite the challenges, we stayed on the lead lap in Stage 1, which just shows how fast our Chevy was today. The race played out pretty similar to yesterday with strategy and the call to take fuel-only on our last pit stop. We were digging at the end of the race, moving from outside the top 15 to eighth. I thought we had something for seventh, but we just ran out of laps. It feels good to work as a team to overcome what we had to and to finish the race as the first Chevrolet in the field. Thanks to Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops, Tracker Off Road and everyone at Textron and E-Z-GO for their support.”-Austin Dillon 
Tyler Reddick and No. 8 Chevrolet Accessories Team Showcase Teamwork at Michigan International Speedway 
 3rd   18th
“We fought hard today at Michigan International Speedway, but our No. 8 Chevrolet Accessories Camaro ZL1 1LE was a challenge during the race. We fired off extremely tight, which made it hard to move around and run the bottom like I needed to be able to do. My crew chief, Randall Burnett, made some good adjustments during the race that helped loosen me up, but we just needed a little bit more today. We’ll definitely look back at this weekend as a team to see what we can learn from it and regroup for next weekend.”
-Tyler Reddick

chevy racing–nascar–michigan 2–post race

TOP TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL FINISHING RESULTS:POS.   DRIVER8th       Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Mobility Science Camaro ZL1 1LE9th       Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 1LE10th     Kurt Busch, No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro ZL1 1LE11th     Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Ally Fueling Futures Camaro ZL1 1LE12th     William Byron, No. 24 Axalta Camaro ZL1 1LE     TOP FIVE UNOFFICIAL FINISHING RESULTS:POS.  DRIVER                                                                     1st       Kevin Harvick (Ford)      2nd      Denny Hamlin (Toyota)3rd       Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota)4th       Kyle Busch (Toyota)5th      Joey Logano (Ford)
TUNE-IN:The NASCAR Cup Series season continues on Sunday, August 16th at Daytona International Speedway with the Go Bowling 235 At the Daytona Road Course at 3:00 p.m. ET. Live coverage will air on NBC, MRN, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW MOBILITY SCIENCE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 8th“It was a good day for our Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off Road/E-Z-GO Chevrolet team. We had to start last after going to a backup car and we were issued a pass-through penalty on lap one for making unapproved adjustments on pit road. Despite the challenges, we stayed on the lead lap in Stage 1, which just shows how fast our Chevy was today. The race played out pretty similar to yesterday with strategy and the call to take fuel-only on our last pit stop. We were digging at the end of the race, moving from outside the top 15 to eighth. I thought we had something for seventh but just ran out of laps. It feels good to work as a team to overcome what we had to, and to finish the race as the first Chevrolet in the field. Thanks to Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops, Tracker Off Road and everyone at Textron and E-Z-GO for their support.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 9th“We struggled to get the Mountain Dew Chevy dialed in today. It was pretty tight, and we just weren’t able to improve the handling. We squeaked by with a top-10 finish. All in all, it was a decent weekend, but we have some work to do.”
MATT MCCALL, CREW CHIEF, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 10thAnother top-10 finish to roundout a doubleheader weekend. Our Monster Energy Chevy was a little bit better on the short-run speed today, which helped us on some of those restarts. We’ll continue to work hard still to be better to contend for wins. We need to stay focused in trying to turn these top-10 into top-five finishes.” 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY FUELING FUTURES CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 11th“We put up a good fight today. Track position was important, and we fought the balance most of the day. I’m looking forward to the road course and both Dover races.”
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 12th“Hard fought day for us at Michigan today and this weekend overall really. After this weekend we came out of Michigan with a bit larger of a points gap than we started which is good. Hopefully we can go on to the road course at Daytona and keep building that point buffer. I think we’re really good at road courses so hopefully we can run well there despite it being an unknown. I’m looking forward to it though and the challenge it will bring. I will definitely be doing a lot of iRacing this week to get ready for it.”  
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 18th“My GEICO-Germain Racing guys did a good job this weekend. We made adjustments from yesterday to today and it definitely improved the handling. At the end there, it took our Camaro ZL1 1LE about three laps to come in and then it started rolling. We ran our fastest lap of the race in the final 10 laps, so I think if we had a few more, we would have finished even better. I’m happy to leave with a top-20 finish though. I’m looking forward to the Daytona Road Course next week.”
BUBBA WALLACE, JR., NO. 43 VICTORY JUNCTION CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 21st“Well, today wasn’t as good as yesterday, obviously. Our Camaro just kind of lacked a little bit in overall speed and overall grip. I couldn’t really find it throughout the race, so the restarts didn’t go our way there, towards the end. I kept getting trapped and everything. I guess we used all of our eggs on the first day. All-in-all, it was a solid day coming out of Michigan. A good points day, a good points swing for us. We’ve still got a lot of work to do to climb up the ladder, but we’re heading in the right direction from the last couple of races. So, progress is showing. On to the Daytona Road Course.”
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 CHEVY ACCESSORIES CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 24th“We fought hard today at Michigan International Speedway, but our No. 8 Chevrolet Accessories Camaro ZL1 1LE was a challenge during the race. We fired off extremely tight, which made it hard to move around and run the bottom like I needed to be able to do. My crew chief, Randall Burnett, made some good adjustments during the race that helped loosen me up, but we just needed a little bit more today. We’ll definitely look back at this weekend as a team to see what we can learn from it and regroup for next weekend.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 CHEVYGOODS.COM/ADAM’S POLISHES CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 36th“That was not what we wanted or needed today. It was just unfortunate events. Greg (Ives) and the guys made great adjustments from yesterday and got the car pretty good. We battled some snug conditions, but the team made great adjustments on pit road. Obviously not the way we wanted to end the double header weekend. We will learn from this and move on to next week.”

• Jason Line claims first No. 1 qualifier position of the season

• Jason Line claims first No. 1 qualifier position of the season, the 57th of his career • Jeg Coughlin, Jr. extends point lead after scoring his second victory of 2020
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 9, 2020) – Jeg Coughlin, driver of the JEGS.COM/Elite Motorsports Camaro, grabbed his second win of the 2020 season and extended his Pro Stock point lead after four events for the division.  Coughlin, who will be retiring from full-time competition at the conclusion of the season, holds a 44 point lead over Jason Line who is also retiring at the end of the year. 
In the final round, five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. drove past nephew Troy Coughlin Jr. in the championship round with a 6.680 at 206.92 in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro. The victory was the 65th in his career.
“I’ve loved having Troy Jr. coming with us week in, week out and I knew I would have my hands full with him in the finals. We’ve been pretty good and what a weekend. We’re going to celebrate and we’re looking forward to getting to the next race.”
Jason Line and teammate Greg Anderson both fell in the semis and remain second and fourth in the standings respectively. Defending Pro Stock champion Erica Enders red-lighted in the quarterfinals and her run was disqualified. She still sits third in the point standings, 77 back of her teammate Coughlin Jr.
JASON LINE, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, (No. 3 qualifier, fell in the finals): “It was just an unfortunate ending to what was a very promising day. You don’t expect to have days like today, but sometimes, it happens. When it does, you just have to put it behind you as soon as you can. It wasn’t all bad – we got both of the Summit Racing Chevy Camaros to the semifinals. The good news is that it really makes you look forward to the next race and getting another chance to win the trophy for Ken Black and Summit Racing.”
GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (qualified 2nd, fell in the semis): “Well, I seemed to have broken the transmission on the burnout. Rookie mistake. Somehow I got it in the wrong gear at the wrong time and ripped the teeth right out of fourth gear. I knew my only chance was if Jeg red-lighted or didn’t make it down the racetrack. But obviously he made it down and got to fourth gear and there was nobody home.  I knew it coming in and it’s a heartbreaker. Unfortunately, that would have been a good race and looks like it would have been very close at the finish line. Rookie mistake, 59-year old rookie mistake.” 

Terry McMillen Races to Final Round at Indianapolis NHRA Nationals

 INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 9, 2020) — Today Terry McMillen and the AMALIEⓇ Motor Oil Top Fuel team started a race with a brand new perspective. For the first time in the veteran driver’s career McMillen was the No. 1 qualifier. The AMALIEⓇ Motor Oil XTERMIGATORⓇ Top Fuel dragster was up to the task and his Rob Wendland tuned Top Fuel dragster continued to show it is one of the top race cars on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. McMillen knew he had a great race car but he also knew that winning four rounds of racing would be a tough order no matter where he started in the qualifying ladder.

“Honestly, I tried to block the fact I was the No. 1 qualifier out of my head. I didn’t want that on my mind and because you start thinking about that and you get yourself in trouble,” said McMillen. “I just ran it like a normal race day. I didn’t care who was in the other lane. We just looked at every situation and ran our race. Whether we won or lost we were going to run on our terms. The No. 1 spot other than the prestige and finally checking that off our bucket list there was no distraction on race day.”

McMillen’s first round opponent was Lex Joon who continues to build a competitive Top Fuel team. The AMALIEⓇ Motor Oil XTERMIGATORⓇ Top Fuel dragster stepped up and made another strong pass 3.799 seconds to get the win. The win moved McMillen into the second round against fellow championship contender Billy Torrence. In the quarterfinal match-up McMillen took a single for the win after Torrence experienced an issue after his burnout and was shut off by the NHRA starter.

In the semifinals McMillen took out Mello Yello point leader Doug Kalitta in one of the closest races of the day. McMillen got the jump off the starting line and never trailed in the race. Both dragsters began hazing the tires but McMillen was able to hold on and get the win advancing to his first final round since the Dallas FallNationals in 2018.

The final round, McMillen’s ninth of his career, was a showdown with the two-time Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence. McMillen’s Amalie Motor Oil Top Fuel dragster was looking to pick up its first win since he took the title at the U.S. Nationals almost two years ago. Unfortunately McMillen lost concentration for a millisecond and it was a costly mistake.

“I just flat lost concentration on the starting line and it cost us,” said McMillen. “This race car is just stout. Ever since we brought it out it has been good. We have been taking it to the shop and reworking a couple things on it and make it better. Every time it goes down the track we learn something new. You can’t complain it is a great car. The driver just cost us.”

Even though McMillen did not pick up his third career win the driver from Elkhart, Indiana has confidence and momentum heading to the biggest race of the year.

“You have to take away that we have a great race car. We have a good team behind that car led by (crew chief) Rob Wendland. That final round I was the weak link. The round before that I was the one that saved it. It is a give and take team effort. Ultimately the biggest positive out of today is we have a wicked good car and the driver just screwed up in the final round in the place you should never screw up. There is no one to blame but me.”

“We are immensely motivated. We had a good car two weeks ago and lost in the semifinals because we put a different blower on it.  It was down on blower boost. You look at our team and we are just going rounds and it was the quickest car two weeks ago. It was the number one qualifier at Indy3. That is a statement. On race day it wasn’t necessarily the quickest car but it was probably the most consistent car,” added McMillen.  

Jeg Coughlin Jr. pads Pro Stock points lead by beating nephew Troy Jr. at third Indy race

INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 9) — Five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. earned a little breathing room in the Mello Yello championship points standings Sunday with a solid victory at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. Coughlin, a veteran of 451 Pro Stock races, beat nephew Troy Coughlin Jr. in the final in what was just Troy Jr.’s second start in the category. Entering the race just eight points ahead of Jason Line, Jeg Jr. now has a 44-point edge against his chief challenger. Jeg Jr. also stretched his advantage over teammate and reigning Pro Stock champion Erica Enders from 15 to 77 points. “Had a helluva day with a really special ending; I couldn’t be happier,” Jeg Jr. said. “We were third-best through qualifying with Rickie (Jones, crew chief) trying a few little things Saturday, but went back to our tried-and-true set-up today and got the job done, despite not having the best car on the property today. We just worked at it and kept our heads down and here we are now with another trophy. “That final with T.J. was quite a treat. The two of us have spent countless hours bench-racing through the years and we’ve had some moments where we’ve actually raced at the sportsman level, but this one was the biggest so far. I looked out the window and thought, I’d better be ready because he had the better car in the semifinals and he had lane choice. “There was a part of me pulling for him to win. It was an echo of the start of my Pro Stock career when I won in just my second start and I can tell you I get more excited watching him win rounds than I do for myself. But in the end, we had to stay focused and do what we needed to do to stay in the points lead. We just don’t know what the future holds.” Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Camaro
In the four NHRA Pro Stock races that have taken place this year, Jeg Jr. has two wins and a runner-up result. He also won $75k at the 75K Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals, a non-sanctioned event held in early March. Jeg Jr.’s race day started with a pedestrian victory against Val Smeland, with the JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro carrying him to a 6.618 at 206.39 mph ahead of Smeland’s 6.662 at 206.35 mph. He then survived a much closer contest against Elite Motorsports teammate Alex Laughlin, whom he beat with a 6.649 at 206.13 mph to Laughlin’s 6.665 at 206.16 mph. On the other side of the ladder, Troy Jr. opened with a win against Kyle Koretsky by posting a 6.637 at 205.69 mph in his JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Ford Mustang to Koretsky’s 6.645 at 206.67 mph. The race wasn’t as close at the ETs suggest with Troy Jr. earning a huge .033-second advantage at the starting line. He then dismissed Enders, who fouled out with a -.004 red-light start. “We had a better car than we showed is qualifying,” said Troy Jr., referring to his 13th-place starting slot. “We left some on the track in Q2 with a little tire shake but my crew chiefs Rick Jones and Mark Ingersoll went to work and got the car to respond. Plus, Robert Freeman came over and helped on clutch. He’s one of the best in the sport. “Everyone on this team did their best all day and we just lost the tires in the final. It was hot and we knew we needed to give it everything to try and beat Uncle Jeg so we were pushing hard. We still gained a ton of data.” The real turning point of the day came in the semifinals when Jeg Jr. and Troy Jr. beat Elite Motorsport’s biggest rivals, Greg Anderson and Line, respectively, when both of the KB Racing drivers failed to complete their runs under power.  Troy Coughlin Jr.
That setup the all-Coughlin, all-JEGS, all-Elite Motorsports finale, which Jeg Jr. won with a 6.680 at 206.92 mph. In the next lane, Troy Jr. rattled the tires at the start of the race and was forced to shut off his engine. “Today hasn’t really settled in yet,” Troy Jr. said. “It continues to be an honor and a privilege to race in this class with the Elite team and for us to get to the final in just my second race speaks volumes about the talent (team owner) Richard Freeman has assembled here. “It was pretty surreal racing Uncle Jeg in the final. He’s a six-time world champion who I consider the best to ever race Pro Stock and I just wanted to give him our best. “When we got to the staging lanes I wished him good luck and he told me we needed to go up there and put on the best show possible for the fans. We both love the sport so much and he’s always told me to make sure you have some fun. We did today, for sure.” In the past, Jeg Jr. twice beat his brother Troy Coughlin Sr. in the two Pro Stock finals in which they faced one another. Troy Sr. is Troy Jr.’s father. Up next for both drivers is the 66th annual Denso Spark Plugs U.S. Nationals, Sept. 3-6, at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Civic Type R TCR Driver Gonzalez Triples Touring Car Podiums at Sonoma

Kevin Boehm takes HPD Civic Si to a season-best second in Sunday’s TCA race
Victor Gonzalez scores a pole, two runner-up finishes in TCR
C.J. Moses puts his Civic Type R TCR on the podium Sunday

SONOMA, Calif. (August 9, 2020) – Less than a month after restarting their season in Virginia, the teams and drivers of the TC America series travelled across the country for three rounds of spirited battle at picturesque Sonoma Raceway this weekend. All three Civic race cars available from Honda Performance Development – the Type R TCR, Type R TC and Si – were represented in this weekend’s races in California.

The Honda Civic Type Rs doing battle in the TCR class earned four podium results over the weekend’s three races, paced by a triple-podium effort by Victor Gonzalez. The VGMC Racing owner/driver started his weekend with a pole-winning effort in qualifying for Friday’s race, and put together his best weekend of the season with a pair of runner-up results followed by a third-place run on Sunday. For the second straight event, the Touring Car teams ran three races this weekend, as the series continues to hold make-good events for the loss of events cancelled earlier in the season.

DXDT Racing’s C.J. Moses earned a podium in Saturday’s TCR event with a third-place run, with the podium finishes bookended by a pair of fourth-place runs.

Kevin Boehm had a strong finish to a good weekend in the TCA class as he took his Boehm Racing HPD Civic Si to the lead early in Sunday’s finale. After yielding the lead, Boehm battled Tyler Gonzalez throughout the last half of the race, pressuring the Copeland Motorsports driver and coming up less than a second short to settle for a season-best second-place run.

Jonathan Newcombe had a steady weekend in the VGMC Racing Civic Si, following a pair of sixth-place runs with a solid fourth-place effort in Sunday’s race. In TC action, Tazio Ottis and Ruben Iglesias each earned eighth-place results in their HPD Civic Type R racers Friday and Saturday respectively. The TC class did not run on Sunday.

HPD has three ready-to-race Civic models for touring car competition. The line starts with the affordable and reliable Civic Si TCA race car, then leads to the Civic Type R TC racer that puts legendary Type R performance on track, and culminates with the no-compromise, championship-winning Civic Type R TCR race car. Our unparalleled trackside support at every level from HPD engineers is a unique benefit that no other manufacturer can offer. Find out more about these cars and our touring programs at: https://hpd.honda.com/Motorsports/Touring.

Honda Racing social media content and videos from Sooma Raceway are available on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter at (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD).  Produced by the CoForce Digital Media, YouTube video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.  

The Touring Car teams will journey back across the country for another triple-header at its next stop, which takes place at the 4.048-mile permanent road course at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 28-30.

Dodge Charger of Johnson Jr. Tops Qualifying

·       Tommy Johnson Jr. earns No. 1 qualifier position at Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil aboard his Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

·       Johnson leads a trio of DSR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcats made up of No. 2 qualifier Matt Hagan and No. 3 qualifier Ron Capps 

·       DSR Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett qualifies third with her Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye livery and sits second in points

August 8, 2020, Brownsburg, Ind. – Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Tommy Johnson Jr. kicked off the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil by driving his MD Anderson Dodge Charger right to the top of the Funny Car timing sheet at Lucas Oil Raceway to earn his 20th career No. 1 qualifier position. Johnson led a trio of HEMI®-powered DSR Funny Cars made up of No. 2 qualifier Matt Hagan and No.3 qualifier Ron Capps at the third Indianapolis-based National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event since the season resumed in July after a four-month hiatus.

On his first pass of the weekend, Johnson posted a 3.976-seconds run at 318.54-mph, a time that held up through both Saturday qualifying sessions, to earn his second No.1 qualifier honor of the restarted season. He’ll face Alexis DeJoria as his first round opponent in eliminations. 

“We have a really solid race car here at Indy,” said Johnson, who sits second in the Funny Car points battle behind DSR teammate Jack Beckman after a win at the Arizona Nationals early in the year, along with a runner-up and semifinal finish at the first two Indianapolis races in July. “Three races here and we’ve been No. 1, 2 and No. 1 again. That gives you a ton of confidence going into race day knowing you have such a good car. Now if we can just turn these No. 1 qualifying positions into a win. We’ve gone rounds at these first two Indy races, the only thing left on the plate is a win.”

Hagan, who is once again showing off a demon-red, black and chrome livery on his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, qualified second and hopes to drive his way to a third consecutive final elimination round appearance and a second win to help him move up from his third place position in the championship standings.

In the last national event, Hagan advanced to a final round elimination against Beckman that was postponed due to rain until the U.S. Nationals next month. The two are paired up again on Sunday, this time for a first round match-up after Beckman hazed the tires on both his run to qualify 15th.

Capps rounds out the trio of qualified Dodge Charger entries as the third-seeded Funny Car and will have lane choice over No. 14 qualifier Tim Wilkerson.   

In Top Fuel qualifying, Leah Pruett followed up her No. 2 qualifier performance from the previous event with the third quickest run of the day to earn two bonus points. She did it aboard her DSR dragster which, for a second event, featured a fierce-looking Redeye livery, similar to Hagan’s, to promote the July reveal of the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world. Pruett sits second in the Top Fuel championship standings and hopes to add a few more points by making her way through a few rounds of eliminations, starting with No. 14 qualifier, Shawn Langdon.

Qualifying highlights will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) on Sunday, Aug. 9, from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. ET. Elimination rounds at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil begin at 10 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, Aug. 9, while television coverage will air on the FOX national network from 1-4 p.m. (ET) and will include LIVE final round action. 


Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car

(No. 15 Qualifier – 4.621 seconds at 179.90 mph)

Qualifying 1:  4.707 sec./170.43 mph 

Qualifying 2:   4.621 sec./179.90 mph

“This is what’s exciting about one day of qualifying and only two runs. When you give teams four runs, the cream typically rises to the top. With just two runs, some of the big teams stumble during qualifying and then you see some real interesting first round matchups. We made it far enough that I think we can make a couple of adjustments and be in great shape for tomorrow. Would we rather have qualified higher and got bonus points, of course. We didn’t intentionally qualify 15th, but we still have a car that can win tomorrow.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Funny Car  
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.982 seconds at 320.81 mph)

Qualifying 1: 3.982 sec./320.81 mph 

Qualifying 2: 4.457 sec./199.29 mph

“It’s obviously a tough round tomorrow with (Jack) Beckman and it seems that we’ve been racing our teammates a lot in the first round lately. With just two qualifiers, it’s tricky. We were in that position last week trying to get in the show on Q2 and that makes it tough. It’ll be a good race. We were supposed to race Beckman in the finals here a few weeks ago before it rained. Tomorrow at 10 am it will be cool and fast and it’s anybody’s ball game.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.976 seconds at 318.54 mph) 

Qualifying 1: 3.976 sec./318.54 mph 

Qualifying 2: 4.141 sec./244.12 mph

“We have a really solid race car here at Indy. Three races here and we’ve been No. 1, 2 and No. 1 again. That gives you a ton of confidence going into race day knowing you have such a good car. Now if we can just turn these No. 1 qualifying positions into a win, and we’ve gone rounds at these first two Indy races, the only thing left on the plate is a win.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. x Qualifier – 3.987 seconds at 317.05 mph)  
Qualifying 1: 3.987 sec. /317.05 mph

Qualifying 2: 4.061 sec./305.77 mph

“We couldn’t wait to get back here for the Dodge Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil because the last few weekends here we just haven’t had much luck. Off the trailer, (crew chief Rahn) Tobler and the guys did a great job. We unleashed with a 3.98 and ended up third. We went back there for the second run and tried to improve a little bit. The ladder was already looking a little nutty where you had some really good cars that hadn’t run well in qualifying and that’s just a product of two qualifying runs. We just have to focus on making those two runs as good as possible, so you don’t end up running a strong car like one of our DSR teammates in the first round. We qualified well and race a really good car in Tim Wilkerson. It’s going to be hot, humid, and all that fun, exciting stuff this NAPA team loves, but Wilkerson is also very good in those types of conditions.”

Leah Pruett, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Top Fuel Dragster  
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.840 seconds at 318.02 mph)  
Qualifying 1: 3.887 sec./314.68 mph

Qualifying 2: 3.840 sec./318.02 mph

“Continuing on with the momentum from the last Indy race, our fierce Redeye Top Fuel dragster is in good shape, and in a good position for a very strong Sunday. We qualified No. 3, made two consistent runs, and we’re chipping away at getting more power and keeping it hooked up. We’ve got a healthy-running car right now, and we’re definitely in our groove zone. We’ve got a tough competitor first round with Shawn Langdon, and as I’ve said before, it’s one round at a time on race day. We’ll start early in the morning, and I’m most definitely looking forward to it. It’s the Dodge Nationals and we’re in the Dodge Redeye, and we’re going to charge our way through the field tomorrow.”

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