Chevy Racing–INDYCAR–Sonoma–Post Qualifying

AUGUST 29, 2015

Will Power Puts Chevrolet on Pole at Sonoma; Wins Sixth Pole and Sets Fourth Track Record of Season

SONOMA, Calif. (August 29, 2015) – Will Power put the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet on the pole at Sonoma Raceway with a track record-setting effort of one minute 16:2597-seconds/112.589 mph. It is the sixth Verizon P1 Award and fourth track record of the season for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion. Power, who is fourth in points, added the valuable one point for the pole heading into the season finale.

“Congratulations to Will Power and Team Penske for winning the pole today at Sonoma,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, Verizon IndyCar Series. “Will put down a stunningly fast lap in the Firestone Fast Six using the primary tires that are new from Firestone this weekend. In addition, congratulations to all of the Chevrolet teams whose drivers have started from the pole every race this season. All of our focus now turns to winning the championships tomorrow.”

For the 14th time this season, it will be an all-Chevrolet front row leading the field to the green flag. Josef Newgarden, No. 67 GoPro Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet, will start alongside Power. Newgarden enters tomorrow’s race sixth in the standings.

Simon Pagenaud will start the No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet from the fourth position for the 85-lap race scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m. PT Sunday.

Points leader Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, will start fifth in the 25-car field for the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. Third-place points sitter Scott Dixon qualified his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in the ninth starting position.

The final driver still in contention for the 2015 title, Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, will roll off in the 15th position on the grid.

The live television broadcast will start at 1:00 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Network. Live radio coverage will be on XM Radio Channel 209, and IMS Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 212. In addition, IndyCar live timing and scoring with the radio broadcast can be found at

GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Post-Qualifying Press Conference
Aug. 29, 2015
An interview with Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Juan Pablo Montoya

THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and get started with our Verizon IndyCar Series post qualifying press conference. Joined by points leader Juan Pablo Montoya who will be starting fifth in tomorrow’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Juan, talk about your qualifying run and are you happy to be starting where you are?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah, I am. Last year here we started like 19th or something, so Mid‑Ohio was a little better, we were like tenth, and our road course has been getting better. It’s kind of funny because apart from Indy we haven’t made the Fast Six in a road course. It was encouraging today to do this. We did, I felt, a really good job in practice this morning with the car and again in qualifying. Just have to be smart and have to be patient and see what it brings.

THE MODERATOR: Your teammate Will Power clinching the pole, do you think that will help you if he’s up in front helping you out?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah, I mean, if he wins the race, we can finish in the Top 5 or something, it will be really good because he takes the big points away from anybody, and that will be one of the key things. But we’ll see. Dixon starting 9th, I don’t know how they’re going to play that and Rahal next to me, so we’ve just got to have a smart race, a good day and see what it brings.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Juan.

Q. You started relatively late in the last qualifying run; can you explain why that is?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: We wanted to let the tires cool down because my first set we did two laps and it went away pretty bad, so we just wanted to do one lap on the Reds. So I felt like the Blacks would have been quicker, but we wanted to save these tires for the race. So I said just put the Reds on, let them cool down as much as we can and just do one lap. That’s all we can do.
And I made a mistake here. Not a huge ‑‑ not made a mistake, just went there and the thing didn’t turn. So I lost a bit of time there, but apart from that it was a really good lap.

THE MODERATOR: Juan, thank you very much. Good luck tomorrow.

Now joined by Josef Newgarden from Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing who will be starting second in tomorrow’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. Ties his best start here at Sonoma Raceway and a race best finish of sixth. Josef, you were speaking earlier in the week about how so many things had to go right for you to make a shot at the championship. It seems like you’ve made a good start to that starting second in tomorrow’s race. Tell us about your qualifying run?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, getting pole would have helped a lot more. It is worth points and double points this weekend. That was really disappointing, to be honest, at the end there. You know, Power, he did a really great job, so I mean, he’s very worthy of getting the pole. He’s incredible around here. But I thought we might have had something for him there, so that was tough. You know what I mean?
We had a really good car. The fun thing about this weekend is we have GoPro on board. This is our home race, one of their home tracks. It’s great to have them. I think the car looks awesome. It’s really fun for us to be in this race and represent them. We’re hoping to have a really good race.
It starts with qualifying and we did a pretty decent job there. I had a great car and there was not much more to do. The car was there to get it done and we missed it by a little bit, so that’s disappointing. But tomorrow’s what really counts. So being up front is going to help that cause, and if we keep clean, we have a shot at winning this thing.

Q. Josef, do you hold off that lap right there at the end, were you holding your breath? Did you know that Power still had a lap to go?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, I mean, I think the lap was good. It obviously was not good enough. But when I did it I was like it’s got to be pretty good. I hope that’s pole. But you wait, you wait, obviously, you never do anything until it’s over. You have to wait until the checkered flag flies and everyone stops before you figure it out.

But I didn’t think he was going to do a third run. I was surprised they actually did three runs. I’ve never seen those guys do that so I thought it was good. I really hoped it was going to be good enough for pole. That’s so much fun to do. You have no idea how cool that was out there. So it would have been nice if it was for pole, but once they told me it wasn’t and that’s what it was, you’ve got to immediately shift the focus forward to tomorrow.

Q. Do you think that also the heat is an important factor tomorrow for the long race?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, for sure. I mean, not from a physical standpoint. I mean, yes and no. First off, it’s really physical. I don’t know how Graham feels, but it’s hard. Last year was tough. It’s actually probably a good thing that we’re getting some tire degradation, I think it’s going to make for a good race, but it’s also going to give us a break inside the car.

I don’t think it’s going to be super hot tomorrow. I think like 82°. If it was 90, that would have been way more of a problem, I think. So it’s probably good it will be 82.

But as Graham said, I think the tires are what are going to make this race really good tomorrow. I mean, they’re fantastic when they’re brand‑new. They have amazing grip, good stability. But they go off a little bit around this place. It’s a very slippery racetrack, and they’re going to go off and people are going to be sliding around. You’re going to see guys going forward, guys going backwards. I think you’re going to see a lot of mixed up racing tomorrow and it’s going to be a typical IndyCar amazing show.

Q. Will did that pole lap on sticker blacks. Is that something you guys even considered doing?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I did my first run on sticker blacks. You know, I don’t know if they were planning on doing that. I feel like we showed our cards a little too quick because normally you don’t do that. I think around here we saw maybe there would be an opportunity and most people don’t want to use their blacks. Most people are saving those for tomorrow.

So we thought we were being sneaky doing that. And I think the Penske boys saw it. And it was a decent time that I put up with it, but Will did an even better one. So we thought of doing it. And it was close to working out, but Will made it work the best.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think the Reds last half a lap maybe. I mean, it goes quick. It’s going to be entertaining. It’s a slippery place. When it’s gripped up, it’s gripped up, but it goes off very quick. There is high degradation here with the way the surface is, so you’re banking completely on new tire grip. You’re taking it easy on an out lap. On my out lap I never launched out of turn 7 out of the hair‑pin because I’m afraid of using the rear tire up. So that’s what I mean. Tomorrow’s going to be a show.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I don’t know. I mean, Graham’s not speaking, so maybe that has strategy. You know? I don’t know. Yeah, it’s hard to say.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you, and good luck tomorrow. We will welcome in our pole sitter, Will Power.

We are now joined now by Will Power. This is Will’s fifth pole here at Sonoma Raceway, and he also has three wins here at the track. This is also Will’s fourth track record of 2015. He set it at 1:16.2597 seconds today in qualifying. Will, what is it about Sonoma Raceway that you seem to have figured out so well?

WILL POWER: Yeah, I think it’s obviously a team thing, but personally I love the area, I love the track. It’s a very technical track and you’ve got to be very committed when it comes to qualifying. So my favorite session the whole weekend is qualifying where you get to get the absolute maximum out of the car and wring its neck, I so enjoyed that a lot.

But obviously the race is a totally different story. A lot of points on the table for tomorrow, so you’ve got to think very carefully about how we execute this because we need to win.

Q. Currently sitting fourth in championship points, does this boost your confidence at all heading into the fact that it’s double points and you might have a shot at it?

WILL POWER: Well, I think when you think about all the races we’ve had this year on road and street courses, it’s been very mixed up and very hard to predict how the strategy is going to play out. I think Firestone brought a really good tire this year which slows the grade over the run which creates really good racing. So you’re going to see that play into strategies. And I think you’re going to see good racing and a lot of passing.

So we’ll have to think about that and what we have to do to the car to make the tire stay under us longer. And go for that win.

Q. So the track record kept getting broken, broken, broken, you just weren’t going to let it go. Did you know the track record kept getting broken?

WILL POWER: I didn’t. I was just aware of the time I had to beat. I didn’t even know what the track record was. I just knew Josef had set his time and I had to beat that. Our strategy was just to do two runs on used Reds, the two sets that we had used in the previous round to get through, and then we didn’t think anyone would put blacks on, but he did and he went quicker.

So we had no choice at the very end but to throw them on and they were faster. So he kind of showed us the way. Had he put them on at the end, I have a feeling he would have gotten pole.

Q. Everyone seems to be flying in qualifying compared to your teammates. How identical in a set up to your teammates?

WILL POWER: I don’t know how they ended up. I think they’re pretty similar going into it. Obviously we share a lot of data even as we come in pits. We can share the data between the cars so you can see where you’re quicker and slower and we’re all stronger on different areas of the track, and it’s a matter of putting it all together to get the ultimate lap time. But, yeah, I’m not sure. The cars obviously are very similar. But you know, everyone has different driving styles, so certain cars suit certain people.

Q. Will, you talk about qualifying being your favorite session. This season you’ve moved now fourth into the all‑time pole winners in IndyCar and Car Champs or whatever they’re called. Next one is Bobby Unser at 49. Obviously, this season is a long possibility of that now sitting at 42?

WILL POWER: Yeah, I hope to continue to get poles. That means I’m doing my job and I want to keep my job, so I need to keep working hard. But, yeah, it’s definitely 42, that’s a big number right there. It hadn’t even registered.

Yeah, it just shows what sort of team I’ve got under me. These guys give us the best cars. If we ever fall behind, we quickly catch up, so it’s a real honor to drive for that team and be in that situation to do what you love in the best possible way with all the resources that we have.