Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet says that he was sorry for his team following a ninth place finish in Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Newgarden, who started the race from eighth place made a lightning start off the line making his way up to fourth by the first corner and had race-long battle upfront with Andretti’s Kyle Kirkwood and Romain Grosjean.
The Tennessee native was left disappointed as he was told that he had to save Duel in order to make it to the end of the race and dropped down the order late on.
“I’m sad for my team, honestly. We had a phenomenal race car. Really great. We were chipping away all weekend. It’s been tough to put the laps together all the way up from qualifying and I felt like that was kind of our weakness was just getting everything together. We had good peak potential but just couldn’t realize it. In the race, we really had it together. That car was absolutely phenomenal. Team Chevy did great job for us. The whole No. 2 car with team Hitachi did amazing. Fate didn’t really go our way in the beginning. For our strategy, the yellow did not help us one bit. If there wasn’t a yellow in the beginning, and would’ve gone green a little longer, we would’ve been really pretty. But even with the yellow, we were making the most of it and I still think we had a shot at winning that race, but something else did us in and made the end pretty brutal. I’m not 100% sure yet, but something we had to overcome.”
Scott McLaughlin in the No.3 Sonsio Chevrolet started the race from ninth place and was making great progress until his guayule rubber fell off meaning that after making progress into the top five he would drop down the order and finish in tenth.
Yeah, well, you know, honestly, it actually cooled the tires off because I was saving fuel on them, and we just got caught in the wrong spot. Ultimately a really good start and got to P4 was looking really good in the first exchange and I think we just got the wrong end of when were on those tires. I mean, ultimately, if you had a crystal ball, you’d start on greens because they are very temperature dependent. The blacks were better to look after fuel and all that stuff, but unfortunately don’t have that hindsight. But I think I think you know, we maximized as much as we could. It was a tough second stint because I picked up some rubber and that’s where I lost all my time. The Sonsio Chevy was good. I definitely think we deserved more but it is what it is. We’ll look forward to the Indianapolis test and then on to Barber.”
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet had a rather uneventful race compared to his teammates.
Starting the race from 13th he came through the field to come home in sixth place and speaking following the action the defending series champion said:
“It was good fuel save and tire conservation, there. We said in our strategy meeting if we got a yellow around lap 20, that’s the worse for us starting on black tires. It’s very common just on the restart and everything not to slip the tire. Just tried to look after it best I could and get the number, and that’s what we did. Drove as hard as I could like doing a qualifying lap. Every lap you’re lifting early to conserve fuel. Saving fuel is right in my wheel house. I’ve been doing it for so many years. It’s a very big part of INDYCAR racing, is saving fuel. I’m pretty happy when I hear the whole fields’ got to get this number because usually we can go a bit quicker and get the number at the same time.”
Next up for Team Penske is the two-day open test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this week ahead of the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 28.