Team Penske’s reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden in the No.1 Hitachi Chevrolet has not only made it two race wins in a row this season but also has won at Barber Motorsports Park three times in the last four years.
The Tennessee native took his first Verizon P1 Award of the season on Saturday and on Monday he completely dominated the event.
Newgarden who ended the race 10s ahead of Ryan Hunter Reay in second place commented by saying:
More hectic than you would want at the end. “It seemed like it was pretty straightforward all day. We weren’t having yellows, it was dry, then that rain made it very nerve-racking.
I think for us we did the only thing we could,” the reigning series champion said. “We went to rain (tires) as soon as it intensified. We had to. I think it was the right thing to do, just because we’re in the lead, we have the most to lose by not putting on rains early.
“Fortunately, the weather cooperated with what we needed, and I think that’s ultimately what got it done.
Newgarden heads into the month of May leading the Verizon IndyCar Series championship by 13 points from Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter Reay. Newgarden went on to say:
That was more eventful than I would have liked. But everybody did a great job. How about Team Chevy today – they gave us a great engine, good fuel mileage and good reliability, and that’s what we needed to win this race. It’s great having Hitachi – we got Verizon a victory, now we got Hitachi a victory, so thank you guys. Everyone at Team Penske did a great job, but like I said, that was more eventful than I wanted it. It would seem like smooth sailing for the most part, we didn’t have any yellows, which we were hoping no yellows today, but then the rain crept in. I couldn’t believe how long everyone stayed out. It was really risky what they were doing, but I understand why there were doing it. I’m glad we made the call to come in so soon.
It was a disappointing race for Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet as the Australian retired from the event.
Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet started the race from ninth place on the grid and went on to finish the race in ninth place and speaking following the race the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion commented by saying:
We had a pretty good race going and I think we potentially could have been a top five (finisher). So, I was very frustrated with Gabby (Chavez). He was two laps down. And I just got stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying everything I could to make it happen. But, it’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s just not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you won’t have everybody on your side when you have a good day. And at the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. But, it’s a real shame. I think the Menards No. 22 was really from where we started. The strategy to go on rain (tires) when we went on rain was a good choice and I thought it was a really good pace. We just started from too far back.