Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet took a fantastic victory in race one of the Iowa doubleheader weekend at Iowa Speedway on Friday. Starting the race from last due to a fuel pressure problem, the Frenchman made his way through the field to claim his and Team Penske’s first victory of the season.
Speaking following the race Pagenaud said:
Wow. This place is tough. But what a night. What a day for us. First of all, amazing group effort from the whole Team Penske group to recover from Road America. We unloaded really well. This morning was really fun. Qualifying was disheartening, but these guys never give up. And that’s what this team is all about. It’s amazing. To get the Menards car to be shining here in Iowa is awesome. I’m really proud for John (Menard) and everyone at Menards and Chevy. Obviously, we had the horsepower and fuel consumption, but most importantly I can’t believe it. I have to rewatch the race. How did I get there? I don’t know, but the last 50 laps were certainly a lot of tension. When (Scott) Dixon is chasing you, you’ve got to hit your marks. It certainly wasn’t easy with lapped traffic, and I knew we had a really good car on long runs. That was really my chance. I was really keeping up with my tires and they behaved really well, the Firestone tires tonight. I was a little worried about the McLaren guys (Askew and O’Ward) because they pitted for new tires, and new tires had so much speed, so I was a little worried. In the end, just thanks everyone at Team Penske. And thank everyone who supports us. That was an amazing team effort. Thank you. If I have to do it again, this was certainly a cool win on an oval. Indy will always be the top, but this one was pretty cool, too.”
Defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden in the No.1 Hitachi Chevrolet came home in fifth place having started the race from second and speaking following the race he said:
The caution was certainly the nail in the coffin. Not to sound too overconfident, but we had the car to beat tonight, hands down. It is just bad luck. The yellow coming out when it came out, you can’t predict that stuff. You weigh the pros and cons when you’re trying to go long or trying to go short with your pit windows. I can’t fault my Hitachi guys. I think they did a great job. I had a rocket ship, and I’m sad we couldn’t put our car in Victory Lane because I feel that we had that potential. Like I said, I’m really proud of my guys. They always do a great job for me. We just chalk it up to bad luck tonight. We got to try and make up for it tomorrow. Look, all you can do is go forward. This is racing. Some days the racing gods shine down on you and some days they don’t. And today they definitely didn’t. But that’s how it works. You need to take the good days when you get them and accept the bad days when you have them. So, we’re going to try and regroup for tomorrow. But Chevy has done a great job for us. We had the package to beat tonight, in my opinion, and having Hitachi support us always means the world. We’re going to try again tomorrow and try and get them.”
Newgarden will start tonight’s race from pole position. It was a disappointing race for Will Power as the Australian who startedthe race from third lost his first wheel as it was not secured properly sending the wheel over the Aeroscreen and down the track meaning Power retired from the event.
Power will try again today starting the race from from second place and speaking following race one he said:
Yeah, I just got loose, and the front end took off and I went into the wall. Not a good feeling. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know what I’m going to do, and it’s frustrating. So, so, so frustrating. It’s unbelievable, man. I don’t know what to say but fortunate for me and my Verizon Chevy guys we get another shot tomorrow. Man, I can’t thank INDYCAR enough for everything they’ve done safety-wise with the Aeroscreen and halo inside the Aeroscreen. You just saw Colton Herta go over the top of someone, and they’ve just done a tremendous job. It’s better than any other series that have invented something like it. Just a very good job.”