Chevy Racing–IndyCar–Sonoma

AUGUST 25, 2013
Will Power Puts Chevrolet in Victory Lane at Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. (August 25, 2013) – For the third time in his IZOD IndyCar Series career, Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet,  stood atop the victory podium at Sonoma Raceway.  Power, who started third on the 25-car grid for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, was credited for leading once for a total of 16 laps of the 85-lap race on the way to his 19th career victory, and his first of the season.
“Congratulations to Will Power and the No. 12 Penske Verizon Chevrolet team for their win today at Sonoma Raceway,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports.  “Will persevered, and it was great to see him back in the Winner’s Circle.”
The victory was the eighth of the year for the Bowtie Brand, and moved Chevrolet back to the lead in the battle for the 2013 Series’ Manufacturers’ Championship.
Team Chevy drivers notched a total of two of the top-five finishers, and seven of the top-10 in the final finishing order.
With a seventh-place finish, Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, extended his points lead to 39 points with four races remaining in the 2013 19-race IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Marco Andretti, No. 25 RC Cola Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, finished fourth and remains fourth in the point standings, improving to just 70 points behind the leader.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, continued his quest to defend his Series’ championship with a sixth-place finish today.  He is third in the standings, moving to only 62 points down to the top-spot.
James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 GoDaddy Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, finished eighth followed by fellow Chevrolet IndyCar V6 driver Simona De Silvestro, No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, who claimed the ninth finishing position.
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 7 McAfee Dragon Racing Chevrolet, was 10th at the checkered flag.
Justin Wilson and Dario Franchitti completed the podium finishers in today’s race.
Next on the IZOD IndyCar Schedule will be the September 1, 2013 running of the Grand Prix of Baltimore on the Streets of Baltimore (MD).
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER  : ON THE WIN: “We’ve had a lot of hard hits and I’m just happy for all the guys. It’s just phenomenal, it’s great for our confidence and we’re back in our winning ways.”
ON NOT LETTING LACK OF WINNING GET TO HIM: “I learned a lot about myself this year. I just kept at it, and just stoked for all the guys from Verizon, Meijer, Quicken Loans, all of the guys that make this possible. Living the dream.”
ON FINAL RESTART: “That was tight, he was close to getting me. He definitely had a good run there, so it was good racing. It’s hard racing, I can’t believe how many restarts, it was crazy. A very good day. I love wine. Especially when you win.”
TIM CINDRIC, PRESIDENT OF PENSKE RACING: HOW REWARDING IS THIS WIN?  “Yes, without a doubt.  These guys have spent all year trying to get to this point and the championship is not in reach for Will, but obviously for Team Penske Helio had a good day.  Certainly tough there with what happened there in the pits and I am just glad that everybody is okay.”
STRATEGY-WISE YOU GUYS HAD GOOD STOPS ALL DAY AND WERE HITTING THOSE NUMBERS LAP IN AND LAP OUT: “Yeah, without a doubt.  We had good stops, Will drove a good race, and really didn’t make too many mistakes.  The restarts were really tough and we had to get the one done there at the end and that hasn’t always worked out for us in the past, so fortunately it was our day today.  Certainly needed that for the moral of these guys.”
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED  4TH: “We had to (get into the top five) with a broken front wing so I was really losing it in the third sector, but other than that not a bad weekend – you got to keep fighting. I know temperatures are hot right now all around, it’s that type of race when you have a lot of restarts there’s going to be a lot of carnage because yellows breed yellows and that’s the way it works.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 6TH: “Seems like the way things have been falling lately – we’ve just been making our lives more difficult than it needs to be, but at this point in the season we need to be making the kind of gambles we’ve been making, and we’ve just not had luck on our side. I think the DHL car was the one to finish first or second today and we buried it deep in the field. It’s part of it; we have to take those gambles right now. We’re not interested in finishing second or third in the championship and when that’s the case you have to go for it all… that’s what we did. Disappointed, we had a great race car but couldn’t do much with it back there. We worked our way from last up to sixth but just ran out of laps.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH: “We tried to do everything that we could. I’m happy that Will (Power) got his win. He was really aggressive and pushing as hard as he could. He deserved it. I’m happy for him and happy to extend the points lead. I can’t believe it. With all that happened to us in the race, I’m extremely satisfied for the Hitachi Team Penske boys. Four more to go. Let’s keep going.”
“Crazy Race. We had a disastrous first stint. The original start was alright but on the restart we got shuffled back, and I accidently hit the pit lane speed limiter coming off of (Turn) 7 and was losing all sorts of spots – on top of that the car was tough to drive. So we went off strategy there and the yellows fell just right; it looked like it was going to come into our hands a bit and on that last stint we were on reds when a bunch of guys were on blacks. Unfortunately those cautions at the end when everybody had to come in and top off gave some guys fresher tires, we had the oldest tires of the groups and each of those restarts we just feel back a couple spots. It’s too bad because we recovered great, the GoDaddy guys called an awesome race as always and to rebound into the top five from where we were in  the first stint is testament to what these guys do every week. Pretty interesting driving out there, but that’s what you get in a competitive series. We’ll take the finish and move on to the next one.”
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9TH: “I’m pretty happy with P9, Our race was chaos out there. We had really good restarts every time except one and I was always able to move up the field. Then we got hit by Sebastian (Bourdais), which I think was pretty dumb because there was plenty of space to get by. That put us back in the back and then we had to fight our way through the field again. The guys did an awesome job in the pits and strategy-wise I think we made some pretty good calls. I’m really happy. I think we were the highest-finishing car that started in the back and it was pretty good to show that kind of pace and recover from where we started.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 SUNOCO-TURBO KV RACING TECHNOLOGY – SH RACING CHEVROLET FINISHED 13TH: “I really had to work hard today, The left-rear of the car was damaged early in the race and made it almost impossible to turn right. But, given how tough this w
hole weekend has been I am just happy to have brought the car home in one piece. We fought hard, had to recover from a drive through penalty and still managed to work our way back into the top-10. Unfortunately, in the end we just didn’t have enough to maintain that position.”
“Well, it was such an up and down race – we pretty much had everything possible happen to us. We were very, very fast and we were able to make it towards the front every time we came from the back; it happened that way three times. We had a couple of penalties that I don’t really think were too fair. The first one, I was trying to pass (Justin) Wilson, and I already had half a car in front of him and he pretty much ran into me. If he had just left me a little bit of space, nothing would have happened. They gave me that drive-thru penalty which pretty much is where the nightmare started. Once you’re in the back part of the pack, it’s when all the bad things begin to happen. I’m grateful to the team; I was very happy with the car. I think we were able to do big improvements – we were not that happy with the car during the first part of the weekend, but I think the speed that we had in the race was better.”
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 17TH : “The National Guard guys gave me a great car, there was just a little too much carnage out there today. The crew was great in the pits too – I was proud of them. What a way to bounce back from where we qualified. The National Guard Chevy was really strong out there and we were able to pass lots of cars. I have to thank the team and the National Guard for giving me a chance to run again this weekend. We didn’t get the result we wanted but I’m happy with the way we all stuck together and bounced back from where we qualified.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA/ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED  19TH:  “It was frustrating for us today.  It looked like we were going to be a pretty good shape early in the race.  I got shuffled to back after a restart and we had to go with the black tires.  They just weren’t as good.  Then later in the race I got caught up in someone’s accident.  I had nowhere to go. We seemed like we had good pace at some parts of the race.  But we really struggled on the black tires today in the Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy.  We kept staying out with all of the yellows and I was getting good restarts today.  So we stayed in the mix pretty well in the early portion of the race.  It then got to a point where I was on old tires and other guys were on fresh ones.  On the one restart, I lost a ton of ground with the old tires.  So we had to pit again and that kind of ended our day. Now we’ll just pack up and travel across country to Baltimore for next weekend.”      
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO.  6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED  21ST:  “We are really disappointed with that finish. We were doing a great job even though we faced a penalty early in the race and started in the back. We had a great strategy which let us pass a lot of cars. On the last restart Davison took us out the race and its just a shame. We really wanted to bring that #6 TRUECar racing car up to a finish in the front. I want to thank all of the TRUECar, McAfee guys, everyone who was present to support us here in Sonoma. This team really showed how fast we can be and all of the hard work the team continues to do is paying off, I just wish we could have shown this in our result today.”
THE MODERATOR:  We have been joined by race winner Will Power and team owner Roger Penske.  This is Will’s third win in Sonoma.  He won in 2010 and 2011.  It’s his 19th career IndyCar win.  He’s the 10th different winner this season.
Will, congratulations.  Walk us through your day.
WILL POWER:  Thank you.  It was a lot more yellows I think than anyone anticipated, so you really had to survive a lot of restarts.  A bit of a different strategy there between a bunch of cars to survive that.
Kept putting ourselves in good position.  Really happy for all the Verizon guys, my crew, all the people that worked so hard to put us in this position.
THE MODERATOR:  Roger, your team has had a lot of success here.  Talk about the race today and why you’ve been so successful here.
ROGER PENSKE:  I think when we come here, we look forward to it.  Racing in northern California is pretty special.  Many years I raced here at Laguna Seca and here obviously.
This is a key part of the season for us, for Helio, and obviously Will was looking for that first win.  With his skill here, he got that bad accident where he got hurt, coming back here and doubling down as he has the last three years is pretty important.
There’s a lot of strategy.  Restarts looked like a NASCAR race, guys moving, pushing and shoving.  At the end of the day, I don’t like to see the call that had to take place.  Everyone saw it.  It’s unfortunate.  That’s the way racing is.  So we’ll move on.
THE MODERATOR:  We’ll open it up for questions.
Q.                                                               Will, just how huge of a relief is this for you to finally get a win?
WILL POWER:  It is.  I’m actually very happy for my guys.  I think we all expected to be a little bit more competitive.  Not that we haven’t been, we’ve just had some bad things happen to us.
Very happy.  I’ve learned a lot this year.  I’ve been in the back of the pack.  I’ve learned a lot about restarts.  When you have a tough year, you really start searching, looking.  You pick up things.  Really feels like next year I’ll come back more a complete driver.
Q. Will, yesterday after practice and then during qualifying, the wind became an issue.  We watched that flag go different directions.  Was the same thing happening in the race?
WILL POWER:  Yeah, it actually changed from the beginning to the end.  The wind went a full 180.  You got to read it.  You drive the track a lot differently depending on the wind direction.  That was the case again in the race today.
Q.                                 &n
bsp;                                 Will, what is it about Sonoma that brings out the best in you?
WILL POWER:  It’s actually a pretty tough track.  To me it’s a real driver’s track.  It’s about understanding where to overdrive and where to underdrive.  You can easily blow corners here.
I think the team, we do have a very good setup here.  As you saw this weekend, it looked like Andretti and Ganassi had pretty much caught us and passed us.  But in the race I feel we had a better car.  So, very happy.
Q.      Will, Dario is clearly less than happy about the restart.  Can you take us through how you saw that.
WILL POWER:  I mean, we barely touched.  I’m surprised.  That’s just racing.  I’m surprised at his displeasure.  Dixon did exactly the same thing to me when roles were reversed on the first restart.  Dario seems to have a short memory because in Detroit at the first corner, he hit me a lot harder and I lost a bunch of positions.
It’s just racing.  He’ll cool down.  Double-file restarts, what do you do?  We’re side-by-side.  Cars are going to touch.  It’s not like I KO’d him into the wall.
Q. Roger, you mentioned it’s a shame to see a call like that made.  Safety is the number one key on pit lane.  If you can talk about the profound impact that that call may have on the points championship.  Now Helio’s closest pursuer looks like he was going to gain points.
ROGER PENSKE:  I think the difference, we were 33, now we’re 39, so it’s 6 points.  Not anything catastrophic.
That’s racing.  To me, I didn’t call it.  I wasn’t involved in it.  Obviously when you have a pit crew member going up in the air…  If you look at it, our pit crew actually lifted the tire up, went behind the car.
To me, I think judgment there was made by whoever makes that call.  We certainly didn’t.  You know, those are the way things go.
Q. Roger, what do you think about the tire compounds this weekend?  It seemed to help the competition.  The reds were uniquely different than we’re used to seeing.
ROGER PENSKE:  There’s no question that the softer compound, at this track today, the temperature, they were probably 1 second to 1.2 seconds faster and held on.  The blacks were running in the 82s.  Will was actually quick there on blacks for quite a while.
That’s the difference.  I think that makes strategy.  We have to run one set of reds or one set of blacks in the race.  We used some of those to qualify.  They’re not all brand-new.  You could go all blacks and one set of new reds.
I think it’s added a little bit of ingenuity for the crews and the drivers.  Taking care of your tires was key today because the car would get a lot of oversteer if you didn’t take care of your rears, whether it was on reds or blacks.
Q. Roger, quick question about Helio’s race.  I know he’s working on a points championship and the lead.  But he seemed to be faster in practice and qualifying.  Was today disappointing for him?
ROGER PENSKE:  Not at all.  You saw on the restarts, he was taking care of himself.  We got jumped by Marco twice where we were behind the car ahead of us, and Marco was three-wide going through the corner here before we got to the acceleration cone.
I told him, We cannot afford to knock the wheels off.  Certainly once Dixon had his problem, our goal was to finish.  He finished ahead of Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, some pretty good cars.  I don’t think we have to take a backseat on his run today. When you’re running for the championship, get six points today, I think that’s a big win for us.
Q. Will, by the points you’re mathematically still alive, but by the positions there’s an awful lot of guys ahead of you.  How much do you miss being right in the middle of a championship fight?
WILL POWER:  Yeah, in one way it’s more relaxing because you can be more aggressive.  Like Roger was saying, Helio had to kind of look after himself.  But of course I would love to be in the battle right now.  We just have had one of those years where things don’t flow.  But it’s slowly coming on here.
Yeah, you know, obviously next year’s mindset.  This year is to make sure Helio wins the championship.  We’re going to help him any way possible for the next three races.
Q.                         You said you learned a lot about yourself this year.  Can you detail that a little bit more.
WILL POWER:  I just think you start really looking close at your weaknesses.  My oval performance wasn’t very good.  This year I definitely had to get points on ovals because we weren’t winning races on road courses.  Also the mental aspect.  I really believe it makes you stronger, having a year like this.  You’ll come back next year a serious contender.
Q. Roger, not to belabor the point, but you said your crewmen lifted the tire up trying to avoid contact.  Is it clear, the dividing line between the two pit areas, and was your guy where he was supposed to be?
ROGER PENSKE:  I think you should look at the tape.  Our man who changed the tire picked the tire up, was running behind the car.  It wasn’t that he stuck the tire out.  He didn’t leave the tire on the ground where it could have been in the way.
I think they’re way overplaying this thing as far as I’m concerned.  Someone got hit, went up in the air.  Obviously the 9 car was too close to our crew, had an accident there.  The outcome is obvious.
So I feel bad for Scott.  On the other hand, you know, it could have been the other way.  We’ve been in situations where it was called the other way.  Running over the hose, we’ve had to do a drive-through.
These are things that are pretty clear in the rule book.  You go to 701.16 in the rule book, if a team member gets hit in the pits, there’s a drive-through.
WILL POWER:  Kanaan had a penalty last year in Toronto by touching a tire.  He didn’t hit a crew or anything.  You know, it is clear-cut.
Q.                                                                                                                   Roger, how are the crewmen?
ROGER PENSKE:  As far as we know, the boys are okay.  He landed on his elbow.  The other guy went up because the hose got around his leg and flipped him up.  I’m sure they’ll be sore tomorrow, but so far, so good.
Q. You have a competitor directly accusing you of unsportsmanlike conduct.  Would you like to respond to that directly?
ROGER PENSKE:  Who is that?
Q.                                                     &nbs
p;                   Dario said a quote to that in the press conference earlier.
ROGER PENSKE:  At what time during the race and what was the issue?
Q. Dario said in the post-race press conference that he thought the usual decorum that is exercised for those competing in the title fight was not displayed in the incident in the way the pit crew member walked around the car.
ROGER PENSKE:  What was he talking about, the incident with our crew member?
Q.                                                                                                                   The one that drew the penalty.
ROGER PENSKE:  I’d love to have Dario here.  As far as I’m concerned, he’s off base.  Our guys were doing a job, changing the tires, picked the tires up, got hit by a car from behind.
You start to get personalities into this, what we’re doing running for a championship, it’s ridiculous.