chevy racing–indycar–indianapolis 500–drivers comments

SELECTED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM THE FIVE TEAM CHEVY INDYCAR DRIVERS IN GROUP ONE OF MEDIA DAY ROTATION: MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET: “We will just have to forget about  the Grand Prix and move on to bigger and better things. The Indianapolis 500 is something five or six years ago I wasn’t aware of it to the extent of it I am now. I used to the end of the race in Monaco and think these guys are absolutely heroic. And the first time I actually watched it was through the visor of my helmet. Every year I learn more and more about it. I’ve been though trials and tribulations of not qualifying. We were on the cusp. I knew we were on the right side of it. But it doesn’t make the stress levels amy easier on qualifying day. I am just unbelievably proud of what we did. We were very very disciplined. We were up against power houses like Andretti who is engineering 8 cars. Penske with five and Ganassi with four. So a single car team is not easy. I think we did a fantastic job. We were very very disciplined. Yes we focused on qualifying all week and didn’t do much race running at all. But win a race you aren’t in. So we stuck to it. We were very disciplined. And didn’t get sidetracked by other peoples times. We knew what we needed to do and we actually executed the best we’ve ever done. I did the best qualifying I’ve ever done here. I was flat all four laps and it wasn’t because of downforce. We were trimmed more than ever. I was just really in control my bars and my jacker which allowed me to keep flat. They said at the time we were safe, but it was still very close.” ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 SONAX ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET:QUESTION ABOUT OUTLOOK FOR RACE FOR ALL THREE ECR CARS: “I’m feeling pretty good. We’ve had a really good week and a half of prep. And obviously qualifying weekend went fairly well. Happy to have two of our three cars up in toward the front. And really excited about the race cars we’ve built based on what we learned in practice. I’m just hoping that we can continue the way things have been going. Hopefully we will be in a similar position late in the race from where we are starting and then we can fight for it.” WERE YOU SURPRISED YOU PUT UP THE BIG QUALIFYING NUMBERS THAT YOU DID? “I think we expected to be able to run over 232 mph for at least a lap based on what we did Saturday. I was encouraged when I saw Rinus time. Any time you have a teammate go before you, you kind of know where you are going to be relative to that. It was good. The guys did a great job with the balance. They had prepared for those conditions Friday.  And Fast Friday prepared us pretty well for what we saw in the Shootout. I knew we were going to have a chance. It was going to depend on how big Scott( Dixon) and Colton’s (Herta) first laps were.” DO YOU HAVE A FEEL FOR FUEL MILEAGE? “It’s a little hard to tell in those practice sessions. You don’t really know who goes out, and who stays out during those sessions. So it is hard to get an exact measurement on where the competition is. But, I was happy with what we were a le to do and learn. We have good options to be able to do what we need to do come Sunday. But you don’t truly know until the race and everyone is running full stints for real. But I’m always confident in what Chevrolet gives us from a fuel mileage standpoint, but also economy and most importantly reliability.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 SHELL FUEL REWARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLETHOW HAS YOUR MONTH OF MAY BEEN AND WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR SUNDAY?“It’s been good. I’m excited to be here as always. I like seeing the energy again at this track with fans. I can’t wait to get going for Sunday. I think we have a good car. We all feel pretty comfy. We have high expectations without a doubt. We didn’t perform to the level that we would expect or hope in qualifying. But qualifying is one piece of it. The race is another. And I think we’re all very excited to be a part of this field and try to make the most of the day.” IN YOUR LAST SIX INDY 500’S YOU’VE HAD TOP-10 FINISHES IN FIVE OF THOSE SIX RACES. IT SEEMS LIKE YOU ARE ALWAYS ON CUSP. WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET FOR THIS YEAR’S RACE AND HOW WOULD IT BE TO CELEBRATE IN VICTORY LANE?“Well, I always believe it can be the year. So that’s no different. We have to be able to attack at the end of this race if we’re able to put ourselves in position. The last couple of times I’ve been up in the mix at the end. First off, you’ve got to be able to put yourself in that mx but then I think be able to capitalize and attack at the very end. That final piece of the puzzle is really what I need. With this team I think we have that. I think we have execution skills, and we can definitely put it all on the line when it really matters. We’ve just got to be prepared to do that.” ON RACE STRATEGY AND WORKING WITH TEAMMATES“I think we have the ability to move forward, and I think we can definitely make it happen on race day. I think our cars are all capable of moving forward. This place is a matter of executing at the highest level throughout the day. We have to make strong stops and make the right decisions and if we can drive the car aggressively, I think we will be moving forward all day long and be in the mix. I think any one of us can. That’s our focus right now, to be prepared to do that and hope we have a very strong day.” BECAUSE OF THE DOUBLE POINTS FOR THIS RACE, DOES THIS RACE BECOME THAT MUCH MORE IMPORTANT?“Yeah, naturally it does. Because it’s double points it’s double-impactful. I’m still not a huge fan of it. I think it would be nice to see it return to standard points like we have with the season finale. But this is the game that we’re in right now. We know the rules going into it. So, it is important to have a strong race here, but it’s still the Indy 500. I think if you feel like you have a winning car then that overrides anything else on the day. But if you have a so-so car, then, championship-wise, it is a very important event. It’s going to play into the mix here as we go down to the wire. It’s important. You don’t want to think about it because it’s the 500, but it’s impossible not to.” SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLETHOW HAS THE MONTH MAY BEEN FOR YOU AND WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR SUNDAY?“Well, I’m not going to lie. Qualifying was disappointing. As a team, we worked hard over the Winter trying to find as much as we could to be ready for qualifying day and it turned out to be a disappointment. We are very confident in our race package and we demonstrated it on Monday. Very early in the session we were able to pass many cars and I was very happy with my race car. I was as happy as I was in 1919, so we have a lot of hope. Knowing also my pit crew is the best on pit lane since the beginning of the season. We have a lot of hope we come back to the front. And the goal is to be cracking top-10 at the end of the 100th lap and then I think we’ve got a chance.” ARE YOU GOING TO BE PLAYING A BIT OF A TEAM GAME TO GET TO THE FRONT OF THE FIELD AND THEN ALONE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE RACE?“I think we have a fantastic car, quite frankly. I’m very energized about the opportunity to go out there Sunday. I think the aero package is very good for racing. I think we’re going to see something different than we saw last year. Because they’re giving us more downforce, I think the racing in the back will also be better. I have a lot of hope. I feel like we have a chance to come back. Obviously, there are some very strong cars, but my goal is to come back to the front and do the best I can. There are no team games to play at this point.” WHAT’S IS YOUR ATTITUDE LIKE GOING IN AS AN INDY 500 WINNER AS COMPARED TO PREVIOUS YEARS WHEN YOU WERE STILL TRYING TO GET YOUR FIRST VICTORY?“That’s a great point you make. I didn’t get to enjoy the year after winning the championship here at the speedway. It’s okay. There are a lot of winner-seekers this week and it was fantastic to see the fans come back. Last year was definitely weird with no energy before the race, which is something we’re very sensitive to. The fans have been starving for competition so I’m very excited to be able to give them a great show here. And again, being a 500 winner gives you a lot of confidence and also a sense of achievement. It gives me the opportunity to unlock myself a little bit more going into the race knowing that I’ve done it before.” SAGE KARAM, NO. 24 DRR-AES INDIANA DREYER & REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLETYOU PROBABLY HAD A BIT OF STRESS ON SUNDAY GOING THROUGH THE LAST ROW SHOOTOUT, BUT HOW HAS YOUR MONTH BEEN? YOU STARTED OFF FAST“Yeah, it’s been an up and down month, for sure. We rolled off the truck pretty well. We were fourth on the charts on day one, but obviously I think all the drivers know it doesn’t really matter where you are on the first day of practice. But it felt good. It’s a confidence boost for me and the team. Everything was good until we got to Fast Friday and it seemed like the balance of the car changed quite drastically and then we knew we were in trouble. We knew we were probably going to be battling for the Final Five Shootout there, unfortunately. I’ve done that twice now. It doesn’t get any easier even though you’ve done it before. I didn’t really know what I could do for four laps, so I wasn’t totally confident. Thankfully the team gave me a car that was good enough to be able to get in the show inside of the last row. It’s my fourth time starting there, so I have some experience back there. I kind of know what to expect going into Turn 1. I think I have some good drivers around me too, with Will (Power) next to me, so I’m not really worried too much about who I am around. We’ve just got to make sure we avoid anything that might happen and be on our toes. It’s a long race and I think INDYCAR has done a good job with the car in bringing some new aero pieces. It makes it a bit easier to stay close to people and with a cooler track, I think that’s going to help guys like me and Will with passing.” HOW DIFFICULT IS IT FOR A ONE-OFF TEAM TO COME INTO THE INDY 500 WHEN THE TEAMS ARE GETTING SO MUCH BIGGER?“It’s obviously quite difficult. It’s a very competitive field. I’m 31st and a 229-mph average. Usually, 31st is like 227 or 226-mph It just shows how good the field is now days. I think for us we had a two-car operation, the last two years. And it was good. You’d go through a test plan a bit quicker and still get some more data. But we’re not a big team. And I think we operate better at just one car and just putting all your energy and effort into that car. That’s when we ran strong. And we’ve struggled the last two years. So, there are definitely some upsides and downsides to being a one off, one-car entry. But I think we’ve shown in the past that we can compete with the big teams. We’ve just got to put everything together. “It’s hard for me. Being my first race of the season, and my only race of the season like having a whole year off and then trying to come into the 500 being race ready, I need to re-learn some stuff and get ready by just driving. It’s hard to train for racing without actually just racing. After the first day of practice, my neck was just so sore and I’m sure full-time guys don’t have that. They get used to that stuff. I can’t really like workout for that. So, it’s strange. And the team, itself, like they don’t do live pit stops all year and everything, so they have to get in the swing of that through the month. I think that’s like kind of the downside to it. They do a great job and have been doing it for a long time. They’re so used to it. They know what they’ve got to check off the list and what the important stuff is.” WAS THERE ANY DOUBT THAT YOU WOULDN’T MAKE THE RACE?“No, just because I don’t want to manifest the negative energy in the universe. I want to always think positive, and I always believed that I was going to make it and I believed in my team and I think the team believes in themselves and in me, as well. I think everybody always believed we were going to make it. It was just going out and executing four perfect laps. As far as like how the run went, it was a good run. That first lap was pretty good. It was in the 230’s and I wasn’t expecting that. And then like the third and fourth corner of the second lap I started to feel the car getting a little bit tougher to handle. So basically, from Turn 3 and 4 at the end of the second lap on, I was holding on to the car. But I think it was like that for mostly everybody