Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hitachi Chevrolet started today’s Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg from second place alongside pole sitter Will Power and had a great race fighting with Chip Ganassi Racing’s pairing of Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist to take his eleven career win.
Speaking following the race the Tennessee native said:
We were literally talking about (tire strategy) right before the race. We were trying to figure out, should we go used (tires) or new Firestone reds (alternate tires) and we made the call at the last minute to stay with used (tires). We’ll have that advantage if we need it and we used it. It just worked out perfectly. I just can’t thank Chevy enough for all their support and what they put in this weekend. We had an incredible engine, we had everything we needed in fuel mileage and reliability and all the power. I’m telling you, we really figured things out on Saturday and it was a rocket ship. I’m so thankful to our group. We have the best of the best working at Team Penske.”
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet started the race from pole position and came home second behind Newgarden but the 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner was happy with the result saying:
“It was definitely a lot better points day than I’ve had in the past two years, so I’m really happy about that. We put ourselves in a tough position pitting early there. We had no defense. And really, me losing that position on the restart, I was stuck. I couldn’t pull the gap to negate the cold tire penalty because I was pitting early. I just kind of did my best to maintain a third-place finish. That was as much as we could do in that situation. We got more points than in the last two years, so we’re in the game.
Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet started the race from 13th place on the grid and came through the field to finish the race in seventh and speaking following the race he said:
I had a fantastic time out there. The Menards Chevy was phenomenal today. It was really unfortunate that we didn’t have an opportunity to put a lap down in (the qualifying session) yesterday, which put us way back on the starting grid. Being able to come up through the field with this high level of competition was pretty amazing. The No. 22 crew was on it today making great calls and executing fast pit stops. We’re off to a great start for 2019.”