Will Power puts Chevrolet on Front Row for Long Beach Grand Prix

APRIL 14, 2018

Will Power puts Chevrolet on Front Row for Long Beach Grand Prix

LONG BEACH, Calif (April 14, 2018) – Will Power put his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet on the front row for tomorrow’s running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Despite a slight brush with the wall, Power sat atop the leaderboard until less than a minute left on the clock.

With a lap of 1 minute 6:9054 seconds/105.893 mph, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) champion will start second, just ahead of his teammate, 2016 Series’ champion Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 DXC Technologies Team Chevrolet who will roll of third for the 85-lap/167.28-mile race on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit.

Defending VICS champ Josef Newgarden was the third Chevrolet 2.2 liter V6 twin turbocharged engine driver to make the Firestone Fast Six. Newgarden will start for the third race of the 2018 season from the sixth position on the grid after a significant side-hit to the wall late in the six-minute final session.

Other Team Chevy drivers will start as follows:
Tony Kanaan, No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet – 11th
Jordan King, No, 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet – 12th
Matheus Leist, No, 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet – 14th
Max Chilton, No, 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet – 15th
Spencer Pigot, No. 21 Preferred Freezer Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet – 18th
Gabby Chaves, No. 88 Harding Group Harding Racing Chevrolet – 19th
Charlie Kimball, No. Tresiba Carlin Chevrolet – 23rd
Kyle Kaiser, No. 32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet – 24th

Alexander Rossi (Honda) will start on the pole. The remainder of the Firestone Fast Six drivers were Scott Dixon (Honda – 4th) and Graham Rahal (Honda – 5TH)

Live coverage of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will air live on NBCSN on Sunday, April 15 at 4 p.m. ET. The race also will be broadcast on INDYCAR Radio Network affiliates, RaceControl.IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com, the INDYCAR Mobile app, Sirius 214, and XM209.


THE MODERATOR: Joined now by other members of our Firestone Fast Six. Will Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet for Team Penske, starting second in tomorrow’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. This is Will’s fourth consecutive top-5 start in the past five Verizon IndyCar Series races. Also a three-time pole winner here on the Streets of Long Beach. Was the qualifying session —

WILL POWER: Yeah, it was good. I felt like we had a really good car. Got to the Fast Six like we needed to, and yeah, just were not fast enough basically to be on pole, but very happy to be on the front row. You know, we’ve kind of crept up all weekend and definitely made the car better and in a good window now. Yeah, that was a lot of fun.

THE MODERATOR: Did Alex tell you how he went so fast?

WILL POWER: Yeah, he did, actually. He just gave me his setup sheet.

WILL POWER: It’s exactly the same as my car, it’s just his driving.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll welcome in Simon Pagenaud, driving the No. 22 DXC technology Team Penske Chevrolet for Team Penske, starting third in tomorrow’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, also a former winner here in 2016 and matches his best start here on the Streets of Long Beach of third. A good start for you tomorrow and probably pretty great to see your two teammates right beside you, as well, a strong result in qualifying for Team Penske. Take us through your session, please.

SIMON PAGENAUD: No, yeah, it’s a really good result, all three of us in the Fast Six. It’s not easy these days. I have to say, I just want to pull my hat off to Team Penske for obviously understanding the street course setup. It’s been difficult just because of the success we’ve had with the previous aero kits. We’ve had to rethink a little bit, and three races we’ve been able to do it. Quite impressive I have to say. I’m quite excited to see that we could get the car in such a good place, and myself, I just have to extract a little bit more out of it, but obviously it was a fun and great qualifying.

Q. For any of you, is there any way that you can describe or explain how fine is the line when you’re coming out of these corners and getting right up next to the wall and obviously that’s the racing line where you have to go, like what is the edge like there? Are you like this close to making a mistake or are you more under control than it looks like for us? How close to you are getting into the wall when you come out of a corner like that?
WILL POWER: Yeah, pretty close, actually. I brushed it a couple times during the qualifying sessions. Depends on the corner, but yeah, I’d say — you’ve got to push unbelievably hard, and it’s like no other — yeah, I think with the lower downforce you use more road because the car is sliding all the way to the wall, where before the other car would be kind of stuck when you got on the throttle. Yeah, for me, I was on the limit.

Q. Everybody has asked over the years, we want to be able to drive the car more. You’ve got that. Do you like it? Now you’ve got to drive the car, it just doesn’t stick and turn.

SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, it’s fun. I mean, even on the oval, it was a lot more fun. You’ve got a lot more lifting. You’ve got to think about your tires a lot more. There’s a lot more to it, where the past few years it was all about commitment, high commitment and using the downforce. So now it’s a lot more about the tires, and I think that’s great for racing. That’s great for the drivers. There should be more action everywhere. But it’s the first time I’ve had the car like I wanted to be. I think there’s a limit that can be pushed even further. It’s just you’ve got to ride on it, and that’s what’s cool.

THE MODERATOR: Also joined by our reigning champion, Josef Newgarden, driving the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet for Team Penske this weekend, will be starting sixth in tomorrow’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Obviously a good qualifying session for you starting in the first three rows of the race. But we saw a little contact there. Take us through what happened.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, it’s good to be up in the Fast Six. That was the first kind of goal was get there, then try and sort it out, and I certainly messed it up for us in the second part of it. You know, just on our best set of tires, which we were planning on getting the most out of there at the end, I just hit the wall in 8, just made a mistake, got a little sideways on the entry and tried to keep in it. For the first lap it was okay. I knew that the second lap was probably going to be my optimum. But I wanted to get the most out of that first lap, and I probably got too greedy with too much slide on the entry, so I just hit the wall, bent the toe, and it was pretty bent, so I had to come in. I was trying to stay out of Rossi’s way, actually, so I didn’t interfere.

But yeah, just messed it up, made a mistake, so that’ll make it a little harder on us tomorrow to start out, but like you said, the Fast Six, it’s a good place to be. At least that’s close enough to the front we can make something happen, and then we’ll work on our race car for tomorrow.

Q. Guys, it was pretty hot out there this afternoon compared to this morning. How did you find the track, especially after the race that was before your qualifying session?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I thought it was getting better. The track temp was dropping. The beginning was certainly slick. You could tell there was a lot of rubber down, a lot of grip, but the very initial run, we had to clear all that off before it became okay to run, so I think actually that first qualifying session, 10 minutes, it was very, very slick, and then we cleaned it up. Then it was pretty grippy, but you were dealing with a hot track temp at that point, and it just seemed to get better and better as we ran in the qualifying session and dropped down. So trickier than this morning I would say. Cooler temps are always easier, especially with this new car and how sensitive the floor is. But nothing too dramatic I wouldn’t say.

Q. Josef, with a bent toe like that, is that something that they just reset and you go out in morning warmup and check it and it’s fine, or is there more of a concern that that could carry over to the race, if it’s not an easy fix?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: No, fortunately with these things, they’re simple. If it’s bad enough, you’ll change the toe link. Sometimes you don’t even have to set it. It’s just like, it’s close enough. But yeah, we’ll change the toe link out most likely, get our setting back, and it should be good to go.

Yeah, they’re real simple like that. There’s nothing to really be concerned about, which is great. It’s insane, though, when it happens, you’re going down the straightaway like this, so you know that’s the end of your qualifying session.