Runner-Up Finish for Will Power Keeps Team Chevy Driver in Hunt for Second Championship

AUGUST 19, 2018

Runner-Up Finish for Will Power Keeps Team Chevy Driver in Hunt for Second Championship

LONG POND, Pa. – Starting on the pole, 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power battled hard for his third consecutive trip to Victory Lane at Pocono Raceway, but had to settle for the runner-up spot when the checkered flag flew after 200 hard laps.

The 500-mile mile race was delayed for just under two hours after five-car accident in turn two forced track crew to make significant repairs to the fence. Driver Robert Wickens was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation of what was officially announced as orthopedic injuries. The remaining four drivers involved were all evaluated and released by Verizon IndyCar Series medical staff and cleared to drive.

Power, driving his familiar No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, was credited with leading five times for 16 laps on the way to his podium finish. He sits fourth in the standings, 81 points down from the leader with three races, but four rounds of points still available in the championship battle.

Defending Series’ champion Josef Newgarden, No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, finished fifth to remain third in the points chase, 15 points ahead of Power.

Alexander Rossi (Honda) was the race winner and sits seconds in the standings with points leader Scott Dixon (Honda) finishing third and maintaining the lead in the standings by 29 points.

Other Chevrolet drivers finished as follows:
No. 22 Simon Pagenaud 8th
No. 23 Charlie Kimball 9th
No. 20 Ed Carpenter 10th
No. 4 Matheus Leist 11th
No. 59 Max Chilton 13th
No. 88 Conor Daly 15th
No. 21 Spencer Pigot 16th
No. 14 Tony Kanaan 17th

Next on the schedule is the August 25th running of the Bommarito 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park, Madison, Illinois.

IndyCar Media Conference
Sunday August 19, 2018
Will Power
Press Conference
THE MODERATOR: Also joined by Will Power, the runner-up in today’s race. Will’s third straight podium here at Pocono. He won the last two races here at Pocono.

Will, sum up your day. Looked like you could kind of stay with Rossi but just had trouble keeping pace.

WILL POWER: Yeah, we got him in that one exchange. Just got a couple of bad runs out of one, to be honest. Kind of beside me going into two. Yeah, that was that. Then in the last pit stop, we had a great shot at getting him again. I caught Max Chilton at the worst possible spot in three, washed right up into the marbles, almost got into the wall.

Got back into the pits. On the out lap got a mid shift in second. Lost a second in that whole exchange. That was our only shot to close the gap to him. If we didn’t jump him in that exchange, it was going to be very difficult to get him. He was obviously very fast. Yeah, that was that.

It was just difficult to follow and get a run on people. Yeah, basically full green, no yellows or restarts.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll continue with questions for Scott and Will.

Q. All year it’s been kind of difficult to pass on the ovals. It looked like it was like that again today. Is that a result of the aero package or the green-flag runs or something else?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it’s less downforce to start with. I think we haven’t had enough time to understand the tire because Scott and I did a test at Indy and found the tire makes a big difference. This car has a different weight distribution, a lot further forward. Probably make the tire work a lot better, as well.

Q. Will, close to half distance, lap 95 or 96, you were very fast, then you dropped (indiscernible)?
WILL POWER: Yeah, a bit of that. I probably caught traffic. Whenever I was clear, I was fast. Just kind of went to the pace of the guys in front, slowly picked them off. Just took a while to get by people.

Q. Will, if you had been able to stay ahead of Rossi, looking at how he got through traffic compared to how you got through traffic, do you think you could have held him off or do you think he had enough for you?
WILL POWER: If I had him on the last stint there where we had all that clear track when we came out, yeah, I was very confident I could hold him off. That would be 216. Yes, losing a spot, then a very bad in and out lap, second in that exchange. That was our only shot to get him.

But, yeah, I think in the last stint if we had been ahead, if someone is running 215 in front of you, you’re never going to get him.

Q. Scott, you’re well familiar with the technical director over at Andretti. He was your engineer for years. I was asking him this great matchup of youth and aggressiveness against legendary experience. He basically said, Scott has been through this a time or two, so we know it’s not going to be easy. How much do you feel at this point with the lead you got experience is going to be the X factor that decides the championship?
SCOTT DIXON: I think it can work for you and against you, to be honest. It’s kind of like I think I said before, when you go to Indy for the first time, it’s kind of nice not expecting anything. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know that you’re not going to enjoy that or this, or you’re going to have this issue in the race, whatever.

I think everybody at this level right now, preparation is key, and everybody is at a very high level. Andretti have done a very good job. Rossi himself, I think even stepping up against his teammates, too, has put himself on a bit of an island there, too.

These championships are never easy to win. They never will be. We’ll give it our best. Hopefully it’s enough. If it’s not, we have to get back to the drawing board. I know there’s some areas that right now we’re struggling with pretty big which makes it frustrating at times, too.

Not just Eric, but there’s a ton of talent over there. It’s a great team, it’s a big team, a lot of information, run well, a lot of good people. That’s why it’s going to be very tough to try to beat them.

Q. Will, did you have any more HP available? Was it a fuel mileage race in terms of you having to back off more than Rossi did?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, I spent a lot of time in fuel save. Pretty much as soon as we caught traffic, I was just in fuel save heavily for most of the race. To get a lap on him, that was our best shot to jump him. Yeah, that was what we had.

You’re still driving hard. You’re just in a very lean slot. Still driving real hard.

Q. It seems the drivers in general have asked for a more difficult car to drive, the universal kit has less downforce. Seems to work great on the road courses. Sometimes on the superspeedways we don’t see as much passing as we’ve been used to. What would you want to see them change, if anything? Is it just a matter of adding a little more downforce or something else that can be done?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I think the tire will help. It just depends how far you want to go. You need to make it so close where you take the driver out. Obviously today there’s a lot of driver in it. It probably needs to go a bit more towards being wide open in two, getting runs. Just need more grip. That’s probably downforce and tire, yeah.

WILL POWER: It’s the best group they’ve ever had at IndyCar as far as technical, the technical side. Bill, Tino Belli. These guys are very thorough. They’ve worked as engineers on teams. They are always making the right moves. They’ve made a car that looks awesome, it does race well on short ovals, road courses. Superspeedways, just temperature can make a difference. The wind direction today was just bad for racing, because you had a tailwind out of two. Where passing was last year, just impossible to get a run through there.

A lot of factors when you go on the speedway.

Q. Will, when you did get ahead of Rossi during that exchange, did you make any significant changes to your car to try to make a pass?
WILL POWER: No. Minor changes in the pit stops. Had the tools in the car. We just kept trying to get front wing in it to make it turn. Yeah, it was amazing, the stint before, when I got Rossi, I was loose. I went out, that next stint I had so much push out of one. Maybe a set of tires didn’t work as well, I don’t know.

Q. Will, you had a post race penalty from running over that tire hose. Do you feel it was the Andretti team’s fault for pulling that hose back slow? What happened there?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I remember doing that, thinking, Man, I hope I don’t get a drive-through. They don’t do that…

Yeah, I think the fact that Rossi had left, there was still a hose out there, yeah, they were pulling it back. Just closer, one of those situations. I remember that. I was like, Damn it.

Q. Do you think it would have made any difference to the drivers and teams if they did have the hour practice? I don’t know if you got to do any race setup in the morning, then qualifying. Do you think that would have changed anything for the race this afternoon if you had that time to set up your car for the race?

WILL POWER: Your question was if there was practice that crash wouldn’t have happened?

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: For the race, yeah, I’m sure you would have seen how it would be in traffic. I didn’t even know there was a vote. I would have voted for it. I wanted to get the car right.

WILL POWER: Oh, they never asked us (laughter).

WILL POWER: Just like that restart?

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us. We’ll see you in a few days at Gateway.

WILL POWER: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“Yeah, that’s when I actually thought we’d be able to jump him again, but I got caught up with a lapped car coming out of the out lap and almost went to the wall, and came back; and then had a mis-shift on the out lap. It was just a terrible exchange altogether. I wasn’t quite good enough in traffic. (Alexander) Rossi was very good running in traffic. We just had way too much push. So yeah, that’s all we could do. The guys did a great strategy. We went long. That’s how we jumped in but weren’t quite good enough in traffic, but it was a great day for the Verizon guys.

“Yeah, out of (Turn) 1 was my biggest problem. The push off of (Turn) 1 is where I had just bad exits for a couple of laps and he just got a good run. You both go into (Turn) 2 and it’s just a bad corner so it’s just a hard situation. I kind of didn’t make a big deal of it.”

“Isn’t it unbelievable? Like I’ve had two really good results and Scott Dixon just never has a bad day. In those last three races I needed to have a bad day to even have a shot. But we’ve been running strong.”

“Yeah, it was just a tough day. We didn’t have anything for anybody. We were scrapping to keep that top 5. That was the big thing for us. I was driving my butt off and I think the team was trying everything they could to help me and this was all we had. Will looked like he gave (Alexander) Rossi a good run for his money, which was great. It was just not enough. So we’ll look at everything. It’s always kind of tough right after this type of race. You don’t have all the facts and you want to go back through the data and try to figure out what you can do better next time. So, that’s what we’ll do. But, I’m thankful that all the fans stuck around to watch this race. We’ll work hard for these last three now.”

“It is harder. You get shuffled back and then you can’t recover. So, we lost a lot of ground that we could have recovered. The big thing was that I couldn’t get by anybody. I just could not make any moves on anybody. That really set me back. I might have been able to keep up if I could have cleared some traffic, but I couldn’t do that. So, that was the tough part today. It wears on you. My right side it pretty worn out for 190 laps, but that’s all right. That’s just how it goes.”

SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 SHELL/CHEVROLET MARKETPLACE TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 8TH: “We got damaged in that first crash and we had to change the tow link which the guys did an amazing job – we didn’t lose a lap. We restarted in the back, and it was very, very difficult to move forward. I don’t know if there was more damage under the car. We will check at the shop. I think that was the best we could do today with what we had. It was unfortunate without yellows. Just not much we could do. I was so proud to drive the Shell Chevrolet Marketplace car. It is what it is, we will go to Gateway to bounceback!”

CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 23 TRESIBA CARLIN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9TH: “First off, my thoughts and prayers are with Robert. I really hope he’s okay and recovers quickly, because he’s been a huge addition to the series this year. Overall, the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet just fought all day. The guys did a great job on pitlane and they got me two stops on that last stop. I’m really proud of the effort the whole team has put in this weekend, especially with only running one hour worth of practice and going straight into qualifying and 500 miles with tough weather conditions. They gave me a car that was really solid to start with and we were able to bring home another top-10 for the team. We had a really good test at Gateway a few weeks ago, so I’m excited to get back out there next weekend and hopefully bring home another good result.”

ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 10TH: “It was a very long day! Early in the race, I thought we were going to be okay. We had the speed to run with the cars in front of us and were even close to leader pace. We lost some track position in the pits which didn’t put us in a great spot. We tried to go off-strategy and pit outside of a fuel window, but with it staying green, we ended up having to run slow to save fuel the rest of the day. I don’t think we had a winning car but I feel we had a borderline Top 5 car instead of just a Top 10 car. Unfortunately, it was just a long second half of the race with riding around to save fuel and try and stay out of the leaders’ way.”

MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 11TH: “Great to be racing here at Pocono; we had great support from the fans mainly from the ABC Supply family. We didn’t have the fastest car – maybe top 10 but 11thplace is okay. Looking forward to Gateway now. We’ll try to maximize everything and get our first top 10 under our belts.”

MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 13TH: “That definitely felt like a 500 mile race, especially with that time delay. Obviously my thoughts are with Robert after the earlier accident, which shook everyone up a bit. I think it was a good thing that we were able to put on a bit of a show for the fans though, although it probably wasn’t the most exciting race. Good job by the safety crews to get the fence repaired in time to allow us to race today. I felt like at times we were quick and during some stints we struggled a bit when I had to let the leaders by, but I tried to make the most of what we had. It’s another 500 mile race under the team’s belt and essential experience at a track the team has never been to before. We’ve tested at Gateway before so we’re aiming to get the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet nearer the front next weekend.”

CONOR DALY, NO. 88 HARDING GROUP HARDING RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15TH: “It was obviously a tough day for us. We had to go into the race with almost no track time, so it was a big guess. At every stop we put in a lot of front wing. We just kept trying to adjust, but still just struggled with the front of the car. I think by ourselves our pace was good, and we were maintaining a decent spot for where we were on track. I had one chance to pass someone for position and went for it with Ed, but I had no front grip at all and then clipped it. It’s a shame. You hate to end your day like that, thankfully the car wasn’t badly damaged, just small stuff. I would love another shot at it because I think there are some positives to our car and some positives to what we have, I just don’t think we had enough time to evaluate everything.”

SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 16TH: “The guys did a great job getting the Fuzzy’s Vodka car fixed. At the end of the day, there was really nothing else we could do in terms of improving our position and there was no need to risk anything else. That was always the plan, to go out and do a few laps and gain the positions we could. Unfortunately, our race was over before it began. The car had a lot of damage to the right rear and never felt quite right when we went back out. It’s extremely disappointing, you come here wanting to continue some good momentum we’ve had the last handful of races, but we never got that shot. We’ll have to look forward to Gateway next weekend and try to rebound there.”

TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 17TH: “We had a throttle sensor failure so I lost all power and unfortunately it was going to take 15-20 minutes to change it that we were going to be so many laps down that we decided to park it. It’s a shame. We were really looking forward to this race. We have a lot of ABC (Supply Co.) employees here supporting us. It’s racing, sometimes you have one of those things. We haven’t had a mechanical issue all year. That’s unfortunate that it happened here.”