Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet started Saturday’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from pole position having claimed the Verizon P1 Award on Friday.
The Australian traded the lead with team mate Helio Castroneves and took the lead for the final time during the final round of pit-stops and speaking following the race he stated:
It just feels great to finally have a good day and everyone has worked so hard on our team. Obviously, a rough start. But, like you said, should have won a couple by now. It helps in points. It’s great to get a win again. I think that’s number 30. Good number. I want to make that 31 by the end of this month.
Defending series champion and current points leader Simon Pagenaud in the No.1 Menards Chevrolet started the race from seventh place and came home in fifth just behind Ryan Hunter Reay and speaking following the race he commented by saying:
We had a good day. I mean it was a difficult weekend for us on the No. 1 Menards Chevrolet car. I didn’t have the speed this weekend. I couldn’t find how to feel more comfortable with the tires; the new Firestone tires they brought this weekend. I didn’t have the speed Will (Power) had. Overall, bringing home a fourth-place finish is good. We’re still in the lead for the championship which is what I want. I’m just super excited next is the Indy 500. It’s my No. 1 goal this year and I know Roger [Penske] is really excited about it. My team is really excited and I want to bring the Menards car to the top step.
Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Verizon Chevrolet started the race from the front row alongside Will Power and finished the race in fifth place just behind Pagenaud and speaking following the race he commented by saying:
I thought we had figured something out with some strategy there at the end, but the car was a handful. The Verizon car was great all day long. We decided to take a gamble and get off on tire strategy and it just didn’t work like we had hoped. We have five good cars that can all win the race, so someone had to take a chance. We probably shouldn’t have done it that way knowing we finished fifth, but if we would have won everyone would be looking at us saying wow. I also ended up wasting a lot of push to trying to get through traffic. Look, sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it goes. Now, we got to focus on the 500 and getting our fourth.
Juan Pablo Montoya driving the No.22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevrolet in his first race since the season ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma last season started the race from fifth place and finished the event in 10th place.
Speaking following the race, a disappointed Montoya commented by saying:
We just didn’t have the pace that we were hoping to have in the No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits car today. We struggled on the red tires and on the first run, I felt like we blistered the rear and we lost some time there. Once we got back to about ninth or 10th, we just stayed right about there the rest of the race. It was a fun weekend, but we now turn out focus to the Indianapolis 500. That is the race we want to win and that is what we will think about starting now.
Josef Newgarden who had started the race from third place in the No.2 Hum by Verizon Chevrolet had a difficult race as he was handed not one, not two but three pit-lane speed violation drive through penalties due to an issue with his pit limiter and as a result he fell down the order but was able to recover to finish the race in 11th place.
Speaking following the race, Newgarden commented by saying;
I don’t know what happened. I think we ran into some sort of glitch and they dinged us two times for speeding on pit road. It was a tough day for us. We had a really fast hum by Verizon car. We really didn’t struggle with much today. We started a little slower than we had hoped, but at the end the car was a rocket. I’m disappointed for our guys because we did everything right and we had great stops, we just had a little glitch there. We had a great race car and just couldn’t capitalize. I think we had a car that could have been a podium car, maybe even a second-place car. We just didn’t capitalize today. Congrats to Will (Power) though. He was strong all weekend long.
Newgarden’s performance on Saturday was even better when you consider that he has been suffering from food poisoning since Thursday evening. It transpired that the American had to visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway medical center on Friday to receive a fluid drip and the same happened again on Saturday prior to the race.