CHEVROLET - Chevy Driver Fast Nine Post Qualifying
CHEVROLET RACING IN THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
YOU ARE ON THE POLE POSITION AGAIN HERE AT INDY. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS PLACE? DO YOU JUST GO HOME AT NIGHT AND DREAM ABOUT THIS PLACE BECAUSE YOU HAVE GOT IT COMPLETELY WIRED
“Most nights (laughs) to be honest. But, I’ve just got to thank my team. That first lap blew my mind. I figured we could run a 229 (mph) based on last night. My run last night actually wasn’t very good. The car wasn’t near as good as we’ve been. So, I knew had more left but I wasn’t expecting a 230 (mph), but the whole ECR team, especially the guys on my No. 20 car, they’ve put so much love into this car and it means everything to me to put us in a position like this. And to be able to share the top nine in this whole thing with Spencer (Pigot), his first time in the top nine with Preferred Freezer, and Danica (Patrick) with GoDaddy, we’re super happy to be here and obviously it couldn’t be possible without Fuzzy’s Vodka. Hopefully we can keep doing this a long time.”
A LOT OF FOLKS ARE TALKING ABOUT WHAT THIS PACKAGE IS GOING TO BE LIKE THIS YEAR. AND THEY WERE SAYING THE ONE PLACE YOU WANT TO BE WITH THIS CAR IS UP FRONT. HOW CRITICAL IS IT GOING TO BE TO HAVE THAT FRONT ROW STARTING POSITION?
“More so than my previous two poles, I think it’s beneficial. I mean it’s always nice to start up front just because you can control things a little bit. But, unless we all figure out a lot with race set-ups over the next couple of days, it certainly feels good knowing that I’ve got clean air in front of me, at least as long as I get a good start. I’m excited to get back in the car tomorrow and keep working on the race set-up to hopefully make it as perfect as this qualifying car was because of all the pole runs I’ve had here, this one, believe it or not, came the easiest. So, thank you.”
YOU ARE A DRIVER AND A TEAM OWNER. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU TO HAVE THAT KIND OF SUCCESS HERE AT INDY?
“The beauty of it is that I don’t have to worry about it. The team behind me, they put a sign up at the beginning of May that said you’re not the boss anymore. And I adhere to the rules. So, I’m here to drive race cars.”
"I can't wait for Sunday. (Starting up front) It's beneficial. It's always nice to start up front just because you can control things a little bit. Unless we all figure out a lot with race set-up the next coupe of days, it certainly feels good knowing that I have clean air in front of me as long as I get a good start. I'm going to try to get back in the car tomorrow and work on the race set-up. Of all the poles I've had here, believe it or not this one came the easiest. (As owner/driver) The beauty of it is I don't have to worry about it. (Team members) put a sign up at the beginning of May saying 'You're not the boss anymore' and I adhere to the rules. I'm here to drive race cars. (Three poles) It's definitely an elite club I'm in, but the thing I really want to do is add my name to the list of winners of this race. That's what we're really here to do, but I am truly blessed to have an extremely fast Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet behind me. (Looking at runs by teammates Danica Patrick and Spencer Pigot in Fast Nine) It reinforced decisions we made at 10 a.m. this morning we let ride. My team just crushed it and made all the right calls. It was really awesome to drive that car. (Any lessons from previous pole starts for race) The first year I won the pole we led the most laps and really tried to dominate the race. We got shuffled back, made a few mistakes that we learned from as a team and came back better. In '14, we didn't lead as much but were is really good position and then got caught up in an accident. I think you constantly learn from your experiences, especially here. Hopefully we'll be able to close it this year."
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 2ND:
GOING THROUGH A QUALIFYING RUN IS TOUGH. BUT, THEN HAVING TO WATCH THE NEXT GUY SEEMS AWFULLY HARD. LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE ON THE POLE FOR A MOMENT AND THEN WATCH SOMEBODY ELSE GO OUT.
“That’s the game. That’s qualifying. It’s exciting. It’s very good for the fans. It’s four laps. You compete on the edge of everything. We tried to trim the car as much as we can to go super fast down the straightaway. I managed to go through the corners for four laps, but it’s holding your breath. Definitely the part that I hate the most is watching because you never know what the others have. A good job to Ed (Carpenter) and Chevrolet. They did a tremendous job giving us the power. And it is a front row. So, it’s a great job from Team Penske.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 3RD: ON HIS QUALIFYING: "The car was good, a lot better than practice today. I had a couple of little less bad shifts and a little less downforce and it would have been a little closer (to pole average speed). It all makes a difference; it all adds up. That's Indy for you. You can't second guess.”
WHAT WENT WRONG?
“I think we added too much downforce there. So I was pretty stuck. The car was good, a lot better than practice today. I had a couple of messy shifts there a little bit in the limiter. Seeing how tight it is, obviously that sort of thing can make a difference. But, yeah, hopefully we can stick on the front row. There are a couple of quick guys yet to go, though.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 4TH: HOW IS TO BE ON A TEAM WHERE ALL FOUR DRIVERS HAVE A SHOT AT THE POLE?
“We’re competitive. You give us practice time, we’re going to use it. We use it for a good reason. For us, we’re trying to figure every little bit out that we can. We want all four of these cars to be up at the front and I think these guys deserve it. We have such amazing people at Team Penske. It’s a big group with a lot of people working on these race cars to make them go as fast as they do. The Verizon car has been quick all month. I think Team Chevy has done their homework. It’s good to be with Chevrolet. They really do a good job around Indianapolis here. We’ll see what holds up. I don’t know if that will be enough for the pole. I think we maybe had a little bit more in there that we didn’t eek out, but it was close. And it was an overall good run. I’m satisfied with these guys and all the work that’s been put in.”
IF YOU HAD IT TO DO OVER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
“It’s always little things. You always feel like you had something you could do different after you did it. It’s just hindsight is 20/20, right? I would have done a little gear difference. Maybe done a little downforce difference. These are always small things that you could make a little bit better after you’ve already done it. So, that’s the way it goes.”
"(Running for pole with teammates) We're competitive. You give us practice time and we're going use it. We use it for a good reason. We're trying to figure every little bit out that we can. We want all four of these cars to be up at the front. I think these (Team Penske) guys deserve it The Verizon car has been quick all month. I think Team Chevy has done their homework and they really do a good job around Indianapolis. We had a little bit more in it that we didn't eke out, but it was a good run. You always feel you had something your could do different after you did it. I would have a little gear difference, maybe a little downforce difference, all things that you could make better after you did it. These Team Penske guys are the best."
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 PREFERRED FREEZER SERVICES ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 6TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN
“Starting inside the top nine is a big achievement for us. For me, it’s at least 20 positions better than I’ve ever started here before. So, we’re very happy with our Preferred Freezer car and I don’t think it’s much of a surprise to see the ECR cars up front here. Now that qualifying is over, we’ll focus on the race. It’s been a great day.”
HOW DIFFERENT IS THE SET-UP GOING TO BE FOR THE RACE?
“It’s going to be a lot different. I think everyone is kind of been struggling in traffic, especially behind a lot of cars, so we’ve got one thing going for us that we won’t have too many cars in front of us at least, to start the race. But, it’s going to be a tough race. It’s going to be important to get the car working well behind others and hopefully we can make some passes and get up there.”
"I don't think it's much of a surprise to see all the ECR cars up front here. Now that qualifying is over we'll focus on the race. It's been a great day. (For the race) I think it's going to be different; everybody has been struggling in traffic, especially behind a lot of cars. We have one thing going for us that we won't have too many cars in front of us at least to start the race. It's going to be a tough race. We hope to have the car working well behind others and make passes to get up front. I'm definitely excited for our potential next week."
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 13 GODADDY ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 7TH: "Since you get 5 to 6 miles per hour of boost now on qualifying days, which scared me. Honestly, I said before I went out I hope it's boring and it was pretty boring; as bored as you can be doing 230-plus. Don (Halliday) did a good job on the call with the right balance. It was fairly consistent. All in all, a good feeling. It's good to have that part done. I was pretty nervous.
“Oh, and just the amount of downforce and as you get going faster and turn out further, the balance becomes more critical. We pretty much just hemmed around about how do you accomplish the balance that we know exists from the day before and the day before that with the most amount of trim possible. But then you can’t trim so far that you slide around. The fear of having a bad day is always there. Look at (Alexander) Rossi. He almost bumped me out yesterday and then he has a tough run and doesn’t qualify very well. And that’s possible here. Like, Indy is just crazy. One day to the next it changes. I’m grateful for all the good days that I’ve had. ECR has been fantastic. GoDaddy is back on the car. It’s all good. And I’m glad that part is over with and now it’s time for 500 fun miles.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 PENNZOIL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 8TH: YOU WERE THE FASTEST MAN ON SATURDAY, BUT NOT TODAY. YOU SAY IT’S ALL ABOUT TAKING A RISK AND CHASING ED CARPENTER?
“Yeah, no question. We had four fast cars. And when we line up for the fast nine, we’ve got to make sure that somebody has got to take the short draw and it’s like oh, I’ll do it, you know? Obviously we took everything out from the car and it’s a surprise. The first lap I thought it was going to be even better but in the end, we started getting really, really loose. And I was also loose this morning. At the end of the day, the big day is obviously Sunday. Yes, this is another race that we obviously want to win, but a great job for the entire organization and to Ed (Carpenter) as well. That 230 mph was really incredible. And, I tried. So now, I’m just going to keep going now. Hopefully we can get that big number, a big number four. But, that was a tough qualifying; that was a tough one.”
AS YOU GO FOR NUMBER 4 NEXT SUNDAY, ONE OF THE TEAM SLOGANS IS PENSKE PREPARATION. HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU STAND ON RACE SET-UPS NOW?
“We all feel great. And, you’re right about that. We thought it was going to be raining on Friday, so we started working really hard on qualifying because we felt that we’re good. But you know, there’s always something to learn when you come to this place. Monday, hopefully the weather stays on and we continue working on the race car. Well, now we’re going to relax a little bit because I’ll tell you, this qualifying is the kind of thing I miss. It’s just absolutely incredible. It’s a shame we didn’t get the pole position, but hey, I prefer the win than the pole position, for everything anyway.”
"Congratulations to Ed (Carpenter) and his team. Wow! That 230 (first lap speed) was incredible. I want to thank the Shell Pennzoil group and not only that but Team Penske. We all work together. I was the last one in line so we play a little of the downforce situation. I took a gamble. I have nothing to lose here, so it is what it is. It was great to be the last one to go out, but eighth position we can win the race from there. Great job for the entire organization to keep all four cars together in the top nine. All I have to think about now is the big number."
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Dave Chess has been writing for RIS since the late 1980s during the CompuServe days. His work has also appeared in Auto Week magazine, Chicago Gearhead News newspaper, ATA airlines in-flight magazine, National Speed Sport News and on many websites.