CHEVROLET - Simon Pagenaud Media Day
CHEVROLET RACING IN THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
102ND RUNNING OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVYDRIVER TRANSCRIPT – MEDIA DAY
THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2018
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET:
WITH QUALIFYING IN THE PAST, WHAT’S THE STRATEGY FOR THE RACE?
“I want to go up front and run away. I think we have a really fast car. If you’re in the lead, then it’s a big advantage for tire wear. I want to try to always be either first or second but not much farther back because traffic gets really complicated back in the pack.”
MANY SAY THAT WITH THE NEW AERO, IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO OVERTAKE AND THE RACE COULD BE HECTIC…
“It will be different but in a good way. The restarts will be very exciting. The tire wear will be important for everyone. You’ll see good cars at the beginning of a run, but some of those will go backward midway through a stint. So you’ll have a chance to pass people who have a lot of degredation. A good car will be rewarded, as will a driver who can manage his tires. So it’s going to be a mental game. It’s not going to be a drafting game as much as it used to be. I welcome that and think it will be a fantastic race.”
EACH OF THE PENSKE DRIVERS HAVE BEEN SOLID TO START THE YEAR. BUT WITHIN THE TEAM, ARE THERE DIFFERENCES IN STRATEGIES, AND WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’LL END UP?
“Well I hope I’ll be first! That’s the goal. But I do hope one of the Penske cars win because everyone has done such a good job preparing for this race. We put a lot of effort in making the cars as good as we could over the winter. Chevrolet did a tremendous job with the engine. We have good horsepower, so it’s great for them to be rewarded for their hard work. I do think we have a winning package.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT YOU’VE LEARNED AS THE MONTH HAS GONE ON?
“It should be an interesting race. We’ve done a good job at what this car needs for me. Obviously every driver has a different comfort level. So we’ve worked diligently on what would make me feel most comfortable so I could be aggressive on the racetrack. So far, the car has not surprised me once. It’s been very comfortable. We’ve made improvements slowly toward what I want. By tomorrow I’ll be able to say if we have a 10-out-of-10 car or a nine-out-of-10 car. Right now, we are at a nine, which is good to win but there will still be a lot of really good cars.”
IT’S GOING TO BE A HOT DAY. WILL TIRE WEAR BE A CONCERN?
“I wouldn’t say it’s a concern but it’s something you need to think about. It seems like in the past we didn’t have tire wear; this year we will. So you’ll have to manage your tires through the stints. The driver that can keep up with his car the best will have the best chance. That’s what racing should be all about. The racing will be very active and very close.”
IS THERE A LITTLE COMPETITION AMONG THE DRIVERS TO GIVE ROGER NO. 17 AT INDY?
“Always. We all want to win. There is only one winner. But there are four of us, and we work really well together. All four cars are very fast, mostly because we shared everything we had after every session. The workflow was incredible, and it was the same with the engineers. It has been a tremendous team effort so far. May the best win.”
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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.