Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader Josef Newgarden says he is pumped to be heading to Watkins Glen this weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix.
The Tennessee native who this weekend will drive the No.2 Devilbiss Chevrolet heads to the New York race with a 31 point lead of Scott Dixon.
Newgarden is on a roll having won three of the last four races along with last weekend’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline.
Speaking ahead of the race, Newgarden commented by saying:
“I’m so pumped to head to Watkins Glen. After winning at Gateway and continuing to lead Verizon IndyCar Series points, the whole No. 2 Devilbiss Chevy team and I are really ready to get back on track. We’ve done well on road courses this season, so we definitely think we’ll have something for the competition. I also finished second there last year. But we know that as we get closer to Sonoma, the competition will be working hard to bring their best car just like us. It’s exciting to have my teammates also battling for the championship, too, so it just makes it even more of a challenge but we are ready for it. Watkins Glen is a really fun track with an equally fun crowd so it’s definitely an event I’m looking forward to.
Reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud goes into the race aiming to get back in to the championship hunt following a disappointing race last time out. Despite finishing on the podium, the Frenchman was unhappy with Newgarden and speaking ahead of Sunday’s race he commented by saying:
Watkins Glen is a beautiful track. It has great history in Indy car (racing). It has lots of grip which makes it very interesting and very fast. We had a good car there last year and I’m excited to return. We had a good test there earlier and found a little pace in the car. The championship battle continues to be close and how we come out of Watkins Glen will certainly set the stage for Sonoma. The one thing I know, for sure, is that the Menards Chevrolet team will show up ready to go. I don’t think anything changes from what we’ve done all season. We’ll keep our heads down and continue to work.
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet heads to Watkins Glen following a disappointing race at Gateway Motorsports Park which saw him retire from the race.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s race the Australian commented by saying:
“We definitely had some bad luck at Gateway. It was really unfortunate after our win at Pocono, but we’re ready to move past it. We’ve lost some ground with points after last weekend but are going to do everything we can to get the No. 12 Verizon Chevy in a good spot to perform well at Watkins Glen. It will be a challenge to continue to compete with other strong teams for the championship, including my teammates, but we are ready to do anything we can to try and stay in the hunt. Watkins Glen can be a really fun road course. We’ve already won on a road course this season, so we’re ready to give it our all this weekend.
Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Hitachi Chevrolet believes the championship battle will heat up this weekend.
The Brazilian commented by saying:
The championship battle will definitely get more interesting at Watkins Glen. The point standings are really tight, so the No. 3 Hitachi Chevy crew and I know everything we do is critically important. We need to make smart choices to do everything we can to keep gaining points. It’s great to be competing so closely with teammates, but because we know how good they are individually, and how we are as a collective, it will definitely be a challenge we are ready for. Last year we finished third at Watkins Glen and we feel confident we can get another strong finish this weekend. I really enjoy the crowd there and racing at that track, so it will be fun and challenging at the same time.”