CHEVROLET RACING IN THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG
STREETS OF ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
POST RACE RECAP
MARCH 12, 2017
Pagenaud Scores Solid Podium Finish to Start Season
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla – (March 12, 2017) – Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud carried the banner for Chevrolet on the Streets of St. Petersburg with a strong second place finish in the season-opening race. He started 14th today in the 110-lap race on the 1.8 mile/14 turn street course.
Driving the No. 1 PPG Automotive Finishes Team Penske Chevrolet, Pagenaud matched his 2016 finish in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The Frenchman went on to win five races and his first title.
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet finished sixth after starting 16th today. Giving Chevrolet three of the top top-eight finishers was Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, who finished 8th.
JR Hildebrand in his debut as the full-time driver of the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet finished 13th. Conor Daly, No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet, finished 15th.
Pole winner Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, had mechanical issues late in the race that relegated him to the 19th finishing position.
Spencer Pigot, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, worked his way to the top-five when mechanical issues sidelined him and he was scored 20th at the finish. Carlos Munoz, No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet, was involved in a lap-one multi-car melee and finished 21st in the final order.
Next stop for Chevrolet in the Verizon IndyCar Series will be the April 9, 2017 running of the Long Beach (Calif) Grand Prix. Practice will begin Friday, April 7, 2017 with Firestone Fast Six qualifying on Saturday, April 8, 2017
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 1 PPG AUTOMOTIVE FINISHES TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 2ND: ON HIS RACE: “First of all, I want to congratulate Sebastian (Bourdais, race winner). That’s tremendous what they did today. What a great job. Congrats to him. He must be very happy. Honestly, he was untouchable. He was really strong. We were strong as well. We got very lucky at the beginning of the race. The race start was very agitated, I would say. In Turn 3, I managed to avoid the mess. Honestly, I don’t know how. But, I went through and it was a perfect move. We moved up to ninth from 14th. And then at the end, I pushed really, really hard at the beginning of the stint on the red tires to try to come back and get him on the pit sequence. And I pushed so hard that actually the tires dropped off really quickly afterwards and I couldn’t keep up toward the end of the stint.
“So, it is what it is. You’ve got to try. My whole team, we fought really hard this weekend. It was probably one of our hardest weekends since 2016. So, I’m very happy that we finished second; which is where we finished last year, so hopefully that’s good luck.”
HOW FRUSTRATING WAS IT THAT YOU HAD TO SAVE FUEL AND THEY WERE TELLING YOU SOMETHING ON THE RADIO. HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT KNOWING YOU HAD A FAST CAR BUT THAT YOU CAN’T USE IT?
“The numbers that you hear on the radio could be codes. It could be fuel mileage. You never really know what the fuel number means. But, he (Bourdais) certainly looked like he wasn’t saving that much. So, I don’t know. We were saving quite a bit to try to lengthen the stints. And he got me really well when I was saving fuel and he started to go. So, it was a little bit of a mis-communication today on how we should have tackled it on our team. But, I can’t complain. I’m really happy with the results. I think it’s a long championship. Thanks to PPG and to Chevrolet for their support.
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 6TH: “For someone who started sixteenth and finished sixth, it’s pretty darn good. The No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet boys did an excellent job. We had a little bit of luck and no luck. There was an accident that could have helped us out to finish on the podium, but we unfortunately got a piece in our nose so we had to take it off and stop again. Great job for everyone Team Penske and Hitachi Group especially on the pit stop when we were able to beat Marco [Andretti] in the end so that we could finish in the sixth position. Well done. Now, we move on to the next.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 8TH: “It was a good day for the Team Penske Verizon Chevrolet. We were a top-five car – maybe even a podium car. The yellows just didn’t fall our way and we found ourselves caught out during that first stint. Tim (Cindric) was going to bring me in, but we had just passed pit lane as the caution came out. I’ve been caught out by those type of yellows before and I’ve been the beneficiary of those type of yellows. That is the risk in this type of racing and sometimes it’s just the way it all plays outs. A top-10 is not ideal, but it could have been worse. We finished the race and learned a lot. I feel like it’s a good starting points for our team. It’s nice to get this first race under our belt and out of the way. It’s been a great first weekend with the team. We got what we needed out of it.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 21 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 13TH: “The race was going really well! The Fuzzy’s Vodka guys did an awesome job preparing the car for the race and making a few adjustments for me. Our pace was really good and we were making a lot of passes and moving up. We gained almost all of our positions to move up to 5th by passing people which was cool. Then, we had the issue with the left rear brakes on our first stop. It’s unfortunate but at least we showed that we have good pace and we can race hard. I’m looking forward to doing more of that
CONOR DALY, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15TH: As soon as we left the pits we had no pit speed limiter so we lost so much time in the pits cause I had to be careful not to exceed the limit. The guys did a great job and the car was so much fun to drive. Every time we were out there we made up huge gaps on track. We got pretty racy out there so it was nice to be competitive. It’s a shame be cause we were on the same strategy as the winner. But we can look forward to Long. Each cause our ABC Supply Chevy is competitive.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 19TH: “We locked up the right front there on the start and that caused a big vibration. We talked about coming in during that first yellow but that would have put us in a bad situation. We were able to make it long enough to a good lap number before we came in, then we got a pit road penalty. We still came out of that ok and it was going to be a p3 or p4 kind of day. Then we just ended up having some engine issues and that took us out of contention. It was a typical St. Pete race for me for the last few years. That’s not the way we wanted to start the season, but that’s how it goes.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 20TH: “The race was going really well! The Fuzzy’s Vodka guys did an awesome job preparing the car for the race and making a few adjustments for me. Our pace was really good and we were making a lot of passes and moving up. We gained almost all of our positions to move up to 5th by passing people which was cool. Then, we had the issue with the left rear brakes on our first stop. It’s unfortunate but at least we showed that we have good pace and we can race hard. I’m looking forward to doing more of that
CARLOS MUNOZ, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 21ST: “It’s really a shame to start the season like this. There was a big accident in Turn 3 and I figured I could avoid it without crashing but another car hit my right front. They fixed the car and it wasn’t running too bad but in the end the car broke because of the accident earlier. We just have to focus on the next race.”