CHEVROLET IN THE NTT INDYCAR SERIES
STREETS OF LONG BEACH
ACURA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
TEAM CHEVY RACE RECAP, QUOTES & PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 14, 2019
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 14, 2019) – Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, is leaving the Streets of Long Beach in the position he came in – leader of the NTT IndyCar Series. With a runner-up finished in today’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, the 2017 Series’ champion heads into the Month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a 28-point margin over second place.
The podium run today is Newgarden’s best finish in eight starts in the historic race. It is his third podium in the first four races of the season including the victory in the season-opening race on the Streets of St. Petersburg.
Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet, finished sixth followed by teammate Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet in seventh to give Team Chevy three of the top-seven finishers.
Both Newgarden and Power were credited with leading once for two laps.
Alexander Rossi was the race winner, and Scott Dixon completed the podium.
Next on schedule is the Grand Prix of Indy on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
DRIVER QUOTES AND NEWGARDEN PODIUM PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 2ND:
ON HIS RACE:“It’s tough when you’re not able to compete at the very, very front. We were at the front, but you want to be competing for first (place). That’s disappointing, but we gave it our all today and thought we had a pretty good race for the most part. The Hitachi car was fast, it was just a touch off what other cars had. Alex did a nice job; congrats to Andretti. We had good fuel mileage (and) Chevy did a good job for us. We just were a little short. It’s a good day, it’s just tough when you’re not competing for the win.”
A BEST FINISH FOR YOU AT LONG BEACH. IT WAS SOME STRATEGY THAT BOOSTED YOU UP TO SECOND AND THEN IT LOOKED KIND OF LIKE ALEXANDER ROSSI (RACE WINNER) WAS IN A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN. WHAT WAS IT LIKE TURNING OUT THE LAPS THERE?
“Yeah, we didn’t have anything for him today. We tried our best to make some progress and the guys did a great job. We did have a good strategy, like you said; we leap-frogged Will (Power) and (Scott) Dixon. And then, I was just wondering where everyone was at. I was wondering if Rossi was good on fuel and I was giving it my all. That’s about all I had today. So yeah, a little shy. It’s always tough. It’s good to have second. This is a good day. We’re staying inside the top 3, which is positive. It gets old after a while. You want to win more races. So, it was a great day, but a little short is always disappointing. So, we’ll come back to the next one. Team Chevy did a great job and gave us what we needed. The Hitachi car felt good. Just a little short.”
YOU DID ADD ONE MORE POINT TO YOUR CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES LEAD. BUT, LAST WEEK YOU SAID IT WAS ALL ABOUT MAXIMIZING TO COME AWAY WITH A FOURTH PLACE FINISH. WAS IT SORT OF THE SAME THING TODAY?
“Yeah, every weekend it’s the case to maximize what you’ve got. And, I think today a second felt like it was the maximum from what we did on track and where everything felt. It felt like second place was where we should have finished. So, we did a good job maximizing that. But now, we need to figure out how do we have a first place car and then we can work to maximize that. Hopefully at the Indy GP we’ll have a good one and the real important one is the Indianapolis 500 right afterwards. So, I’m excited for the month of May. Let’s roll!”
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 DXC TECHNOLOGY TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 6TH:
THAT’S WHAT YOU NEEDED; A SOLID DAY, RIGHT?“Yeah, it was a solid day. I think that was the best we could have done today. I think we did everything we were supposed to do. Execution was there. We just lacked a little bit of pace overall. So, we’ve got to keep working on it. That’s all you can do. (Alexander) Rossi (race winner) had a great race. I think (Josef) Newgarden did a fantastic job and putting a Penske car up there is great. We’ve just got to keep working. I’m really excited about the Indy Grand Prix coming up. I’m looking forward to the month of May.”
TURN 1, LAP 1, IS ALWAYS INTERESTING AT LONG BEACH. WALK US THROUGH THAT. YOU AND RYAN HUNTER-REAY HAD A LITTLE CONTACT THERE
“Ah, yeah; it’s racing. Nothing crazy. I tried to give him a position back but by braking deep into Turn 1, you can’t make it through Turn 1 together. So, somebody had to back off. And, I had to this time. So, it was good for us. I just wanted to get this race done and get some good points.”
EVEN AT THAT POINT IN THE RACE YOU’RE THINKING WE CAN’T AFFORD ANOTHER DNF
“Yeah, we haven’t had the best start to the season. So, we just have to score points. The season is still early. There’s Indianapolis 100 points, Laguna is 100 points; so we see the picture. It’s way too early to look at that. But, you have to be smart and wise sometimes.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH:
BOY, YOU WERE RUNNING THIRD WHEN THAT OVER BOOST ISSUES HAPPENED. HOW MUCH DID THAT HURT YOUR DAY?
“Yeah, I guess it’s my mistake for going down there. I kind of went in the marbles. Probably went to the wrong side to defend from (Scott) Dixon; but yeah, yeah, yeah. That was it, man. It was probably a podium finish there, but threw it away, unfortunately. I was debating whether to make the corner and I thought nah, it’s better to be 7th than in the tires. I was close. I may have made it, but I didn’t want to take the risk.”
IT SEEMED LIKE WHAT STARTED THAT, THOUGH, WAS THE OVER BOOST AT THE HAIRPIN
“Yeah, unfortunately I got an over boost. The wheels spun up a little bit for whatever reason. We had a new engine in it last night, so you know you’ve got to get all those tolerances right and it wasn’t quite right. I had a couple of them during the race.”
SOME GOOD NEWS FOR YOU. EVEN THOUGH IT’S A 7TH PLACE FINISH, YOU GAINED THREE SPOTS IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS. THAT SHOULD PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE
“Yeah, it was good. We needed to finish ahead of all the guys that finished ahead of us, but once again, a pretty big hole the first four races of the season. A bit frustrating considering how fast we’ve been at some of these tracks. Even today, we were super good in the race. Just circumstance.”
THE MONTH OF MAY IS NEXT. LAST YEAR, YOU SWEPT THE MONTH OF MAY. IS IT EVEN REALISTIC GOING INTO THE MONTH OF MAY EXPECTING THAT KIND OF PERFORMANCE AGAIN?
“Yeah, I’m sure we’ll be quick. I’ve been quick everywhere. Chevy has a great engine there at the 500 so we’re looking to really capitalize and try and turn the season around.”
WHAT DO YOU DO IN THESE COUPLE OF WEEKS TO FOCUS ON THE MONTH OF MAY AND THE 500?
“We actually get a bit of testing there so we’ll get a good indication of how the car is and a slight change in the aero rule, so we’ll see what happens. The team always does a fantastic job for that race and I’m really looking forward to it.”
PATRICIO O’WARD, NO. 31 GESS CARLIN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 12TH: “Obviously it wasn’t the result we wanted for the No. 31 GESS Carlin Chevrolet – we always want to at least move forward from where we qualified. We were really strong towards the end, but for some reason I was just sinking like a rock at the beginning of the race. The car just wasn’t behaving how it should’ve been with those used red tires that we started on. We need to look back and see what really went wrong at the beginning of the race and compare it to the end of the race where we doing so much better. It’s unfortunate, but our race was just decided early on when we lost so many spots right out of the gate.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 14TH: “To be honest, I thought it was quite an enjoyable race today here in Long Beach. It actually went pretty quick. I had the challenge of getting good fuel mileage and I think we did the best out of anyone fuel saving, which is why we were able to pit three laps later than everyone else on that final stint. It allowed me to really push and close the gap to Veach. We had a few things in the race not go our way, like Jones pulling a bold move on the last corner on a restart costing me a few spots. There just weren’t a lot of opportunities to overtake today, so it was more about hitting your numbers.”
MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15TH: “One more race finished here at Long Beach. I think if you look through our weekend our race result was not that bad compared to the practice sessions and our qualifying. Of course not where we want to be. Definitely shouldn’t be happy and we are not happy with P15 but that’s maybe a way to go for the next couple races and I’m just looking forward to improving the car as much as we can, mainly for the road courses and the street courses – that’s where we’re struggling the most. I’m looking forward to the month of May now, I’m more than excited. We all know we have a good car there. Bring it on.”
ED JONES, NO. 20 ED CARPENTER RACING SCUDERIA CORSA CHEVROLET, FINISHED 16TH: “It was one of those situations today where we needed to try something a bit different to make things work. We needed a bit of luck on our side as well. Unfortunately, things didn’t play out that way. On the upside, we made progress with the car every session this weekend and ended in a better spot than where we started. That’s a positive. Going into the two races at Indianapolis, ECR has solid cars there so we should have two solid races headed our way!”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 18TH: “It was a very unfortunate start to the race. We got caught up in the mess that was going on in front of me and stalled the car after some contact. We went a lap down and from there, just had to try and claw our way back as much as we could. It’s frustrating because it seemed like we were actually going pretty quick and had a good racecar. If we had been able to stay on the lead lap at the beginning, it would have been a lot better, but that’s not the way it went. We’ll come back stronger next time.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 19TH: “I’m ok (physically) but I feel bad, because we don’t have it. We have to figure something out. Very disappointing, very disappointing. (How tough was it for you with your injuries?) It was alright. My injuries were the least of my problems for sure.” NOTE: Underwing and strake were broken in early race contact
NEWGARDEN POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our second-place finisher, Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet for Team Penske.
Josef, you said at the beginning of the season, consistency was really going to be very important for you for this season, that’s what you felt might have been lacking last season. You haven’t finished outside of the top four yet. How important is that consistency? Are you checking off that check list so far?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, so far. We’ve had certainly a lot of good fortune this year compared to last year. We haven’t had any yellows go away from us. Seemed like last year every other race towards the end of the season, we couldn’t get the strategy right, we couldn’t get the breaks when we needed them. This year it seems to be flowing pretty easily. We’re not getting odd yellows or mix-ups that put us back those couple places. It’s been very solid.
The car has been good. I think we’re slowly chipping away at things, trying to find out how to have a good street course car, how to have a good road course car. We’re going to find out where we’re at next month in the ovals, which is exciting.
I think the guys are doing a great job. Today was really a nice race, really well-executed by the boys. They did a good job. We’ll take a P2. Alex was too quick. Him and Andretti did a great job. Congrats to them for the win. Just a little bit short. We’ll try to find that performance for the next race.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Josef, going into the month of May, the Indianapolis 500, beforehand is the road course where you’re first to get your first-ever top 10. What do you have to do to improve on that road course that will help you in the championship trail?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Just have a solid race. We probably should have finished second there last year. But I made a mistake last year. Yeah, just don’t do that and you’ll be fine.
Q. The race is lacking in a little bit of a pizazz, to be polite. What could they do to spice things up here a little bit? More tire deg, bigger delta between the blacks and the reds?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: This is honestly a very straightforward race. Maybe it needs a small adjustment. The tires are pretty friendly here. It’s a pretty simple two-stop. All that added together, you’re not going to get as much action as you get at other tracks. Yeah, maybe there’s a little bit of room to think about it.
I think it’s just because it is a straightforward race. There’s not a lot you can do strategy-wise to mix it up that’s effective. I think that’s why it produces what it did.
Q. The two of you both had races where you start on the pole, you can do no wrong, drive away from the field, win the race. That seems to be Alex’s agenda, especially here. If he starts on the pole, he has a pretty good chance he’s going to win the race. What is it about him that seems to suit this track so well from the pole or does it suit everybody that starts on the pole?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: You want me to go?
I don’t know. I don’t know that I have a good answer for that. I mean, he was quick today. He started on pole. It’s a straightforward race. I think that’s what it produces.
Yeah, I mean, we’ve all had those days, like you said. Scott has had those days where he’s rapid, starts on pole, kind of walks away. Same with me. So, I don’t know.
They’ve been very strong here. I think Andretti in general have had a very fast car here. Alex certainly knows his way around this place. I mean, it’s just good ingredients. Straightforward race. If that’s the type of race, you want to start on the pole.
Q. This was the 21st race for the universal aero kit. How did that impact today? How is it making its impact now that it’s over a year old?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: What? Because it’s its 21st race on the aero kit, how did that impact today?
Q. You’re returning to these tracks a second time with this car.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Pretty similar to last year. I didn’t really notice a difference personally.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Congratulations.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Thank you.