Chevy Racing–Josef Newgarden Collects First Verizon P1 Award

Josef Newgarden Collects First Verizon P1 Award
Pole Winning Run First for CFH Racing in Their First Season in Competition

WEST ALLIS, WISC (July 12, 2015 – Josef Newgarden has had a lot of firsts in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season. His first-ever win (April 26 Barber Motorsports Park). Then followed that up with his second victory (June 14 on the Streets of Toronto). Today the driver of the No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet, scored his first career Verizon P1 Award at the famed Milwaukee Mile.

Newgarden bested the field with a two-lap average speed of 170.223 mph in qualifications, to win the pole position for the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest.

‘I think we got a false sense of what the car was doing because it was so much cooler this morning (during practice)”, said Newgarden. “It heated up quite a bit here for qualifying and that made it more difficult. I was certainly more loose than I was this morning. For the race, the front row is clean air, and that is where you want to be. We might be able to do something from there.”

The run to the number one starting position was also the first pole for CFH Racing. The team was formed over the off-season with the merger of Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.

Team Chevy drivers claimed six of the top-10 qualifiers for this afternoon’s race. Sage Karam, No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, will start third. Tony Kanaan, No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, will start fourth with teammate Charlie Kimball, No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chevrolet sevnth on the grid. Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya will start the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet is the eighth position. Scott Dixon, No. 9 Cottonelle Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, will roll of in 10th position.

The 250-lap race at The Milwaukee Mile is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET today on NBCSN.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Ryan. Now joined by our pole sitter for the race, Josef Newgarden, driving the No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet for CFH Racing. This is Josef’s first career pole. His previous best start at Milwaukee was fifth. Josef, with two wins already this year, now your first pole, what’s that first pole mean to you?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Oh, well, it’s nice. We’ve never gotten a pole, so it’s nice to get one. I think it’s nice that it’s on an oval because I think most of our success has come on road or street courses. We’ve been decent on ovals and we’ve had a podium at Iowa last year, but we’ve never been dominant on ovals. So to have a solid weekend so far and to get a pole, I think it’s big for everyone.
I think my engineer really wanted this pole because he feels this is one of the most difficult places to qualify, and it is. Outside of Indianapolis, I think it is probably one of the more difficult poles you could get, so he was pretty pumped. I was really happy for him.
Everyone works really hard on our team to give us good race cars. We rolled off really good. We didn’t have to do too much to our car so far this weekend. We just tuned on it and gone fast, we’re hoping that’s going to translate to the race. That’s three out of four sessions, and the fourth session is really what matters, so we’ve got to do a good job in the upcoming race.
Q. How does that affect your mindset for the weekend when you’re fastest in practice and very strong in qualifying? It seems like you’re almost dominating the weekend. Does that stress you out at all or does it help you feel more confident?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s nice when it’s going that way. I don’t think we’ve had a weekend like that where we’ve been dominant. We’ve never had a weekend like that. We’ve been strong on weekends. It always goes up and down depending on how the weekend flows, but we’ve never just come in and dominated. So if we can continue to do that and somehow have a good result in the race and maybe win, I’d be thrilled. That’s what you dream of doing every weekend. You wish you could wipe the floor with everyone every weekend, but it’s just too hard to do that. Especially in IndyCar, it’s almost impossible half the time.
So if we have a weekend like that, then we’re not going to be complaining. But I think I’m trying to be realistic that the race is going to be difficult. I think this was probably more the easier part that’s already happened, and the tough part is going to come in a couple of hours from now.
Q. Josef, is the fact that one of your principal sponsors is located here and having a lot of people here, is that any additional pressure you’re feeling today?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s totally rigged. This has all been paid off. Thanks, IndyCar. Appreciate that.
No, it’s actually really nice because Direct Supply, I think they’re the most wonderful sponsor a team could have. They’re filled with great people. They’re led by this man named Bob Hillis, and he is the biggest cheerleader I’ve ever met, but he’s not in a corny way. Like he is the coolest guy you could talk to before any race weekend. He pumps you up, makes you feel like a million bucks and that goes a long way with myself and our team.
We love having him as a sponsor. And they’ve been a long‑time supporter not only of myself and the last four years, but also Sarah Fisher, and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. So it’s a long relationship that they’ve had, and we just continue to build on it.
Having success in their hometown is what you hope to do, and it’s a big celebration when that happens. Everyone here that is part of this event, they’re here to support us from Direct Supply, and we just want to do a good job now and race.
Q. Not that we wouldn’t have expected you and Ryan here, but generally speaking the top of this lineup looks a little different from what I may have expected. Where the Penske guys are particularly and that kind of thing. What do we make of that?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I was surprised with Penske. I was really kind of shocked for them. The thing that I would attribute it to is that the temperatures were greatly different from yesterday’s practice session, this morning’s practice session and now into qualifying. It’s much cooler for the first two practice sessions and then it got hot in qualifying. I think if you were already on the edge of being loose or having a lot of oversteer, I think that played against you, and I’m guessing that’s what bit the Penskes.
I think we were probably on the better end of the spectrum and probably brought us more into line where we needed to be in qualifying for the conditions.
So I would say it’s that, but then the other thing to look at is Honda’s having a really good weekend. They were strong in Fontana. I think it’s higher downforce, Honda seems to be better. You’re running a max downforce here basically, so I think that’s definitely playing more into their favor and they’re able to run pretty well around here. That’s just switched the field up a bit.
You’re not seeing a dominance from Chevrolet this weekend. It very easily could have been a Honda on pole today, and it certainly could be a Honda winner in the race. So we’ve got to be on top of our game. Those two elements are the biggest thing that affected today.
Q. How does the tire fall off over a long run, and is it worse now with the kits compared to how it was last year?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s definitely not worse. The tire drop off is better I would say than last year. How much better? I don’t think it’s much. I think if you dropped off two seconds total over a tire stint, I think you’re probably going to drop off a second‑and‑a‑half.
So you’re definitely cutting down on some of the degradation, but it’s not significantly huge. Little bit better. They definitely hang in a little bit better, and they’re faster around here. But I still think it’s going to be you pit on lap 45, 50 with your tires and you get brand‑new tires, you’re going to be able to cut through people a lot better than two guys that have the same number of laps on their tires. So that’s going to be the same case as last year.
The big difference I think is the aero. It’s a lot harder to follow people nowadays with this kit. So when you’re directly behind someone, it’s really difficult. The car gets loose. It didn’t do that last year. It never got loose in traffic, now it does. So you have more probability of losing the car.
But it does open up more lanes possibly with the new aero kit, so that hopefully will help us. Someone goes lane 2, you want to be able to go lane 1 and pass them.