NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden driving the No.2 Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet took part in some exhibition laps around Charlotte’s Roval on Friday.
Speaking about the exhibition, Team Penske president Tim Cindric said:
It is hard to believe honestly sitting up here with both of these trophies and both of these guys. Then when you look at the fact we were able to put together The Captain’s 18th Indy 500 as well, it’s hard to believe honestly. At the start of the season, one of our big goals was for us as an organization was to start the season to where we could sit on the pole at the Indy 500 again. That was one of the big goals that we had. When we set out to do that, we hadn’t been on the pole since 2012 at Indy which is a long time for Roger (Penske). He was a little impatient with when the next one was going to come. We went to work with Shell Pennzoil on what it was going to take to differentiale us from the other competitors, and they did a great job at giving us the speed for the pole at Indy. In a lot of ways, when we look at the big trophies for the year, the big trophy for the pole at Indy is one of those. In the IndyCar Series to win all the big trophies, and all three of our guys winning races, and as an organization, we have nine out of 11 full-time drivers that have won races this year with a lot more work to do. Without a doubt a lot has been accomplished. We are going to run over 275 starts as an organization this year, and the one common thread throughout the entire organization including our V Power Super Cars in Australia is the motor oil brand and what goes into these cars. It is a testament to what the do for us as an organization. I can’t say enough about what Josef has done, and Joey (Logano) is still the Champ around here. We still have all three guys in contention here. That was a check in the box for the first championship of the year. There are four more sitting out there for us to try to get.”
Josef Newgarden who won the NTT IndyCar Series championship last weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca commented saying:
I’m excited. Like I said, this is like a little bit of candy at the end of the week after a championship. But its been great. It’s been a wonderful year. Just to touch back on it, I’ve had about an hour of prep this morning. I’ve never seen this track. I got a little bit of a taste on a desktop computer this morning just to try and figure out where the heck I was going and get my gears sorted out in my head. But it has really been such a cool week and to cap this off with our cool partners at Shell Pennzoil is just fantastic. When I think about the year, Tim talked about it – the Indy 500. It was very cool to have them on my car at the 500 and we finished top-five. We didn’t win the race, but that 4th place there was such a big points boost for our championship. And was such a big part of us winning the title so today is really about coming full circle and be able to celebrate together.”
The Tennessee native went on to say:
I have no idea what the difference will be in lap times. In my opinion, it is just cool to have two premier racing championship cars here this weekend to showcase that. I’m a big fan of what these guys do. And I think there are a lot of guys who are fans of what we do. We all just enjoy racing overall. I don’t know if someone will even have a clock on this. I’m more excited to see the track. It’s probably a little bumpy for our cars.”
Speaking about the Roval, Newgarden said:
Honestly this was a lot of fun. This was a really cool opportunity that Pennzoil provided for us. It’s been great to showcase that. They were a big part of these championships. Joey last year, and me this year. So to get to drive my Chevrolet IndyCar out here today was kind of a treat for me. This is kind of like my gift!
“The track felt pretty good. I was really interested in that. We are a different series, and we have a different tire make. Normally, on a single weekend where you have different series running together, you have to clean the track up every time your series goes out, so I was kind of cleaning the track myself and it was getting better each lap. But what I love is the NASCAR guys are interested in us and we are interested in them. You can tell we are all just racers. I love their cars, and I love theirs. The only thing that would have made me more excited is if I could have gotten into one of their cars today.
“Would I love a doubleheader weekend? If you are asking me personally – absolutely. I would love that opportunity one day. I think it would be cool for the fans – without a doubt. Why would you not want to have that double-double on a weekend. They are both great championships, and I respect these guys so much. I love keeping in touch with what they are doing. So to be able to be a little closer to them and vice versa for us, I think it would be a win-win for all of us.”