Team Penske head into this weekend’s Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix at ISM Raceway, the first oval race of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, aiming to bounce back from a somewhat disappointing season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg.

Defending series champion, Josef Newgarden in the No.1 Verizon Chevrolet is aiming for a strong race weekend coming off the back of a tough event in St Pete where the Tennessee native finished in seventh place having started the race from 13th place and speaking ahead of the first oval race of the season, Newgarden commented by saying:

We had a decent start to the season at St. Petersburg with a top-10 finish but we’re hungry for more. We tested recently at ISM Raceway with the new aero kit and learned a lot that we can apply to our oval program for the season. Phoenix is a really fun market and the fans there always are really excited for the race weekend. Last season we had a decent finish there but we’re ready to find a better result this year for the No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet.

Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet started the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg from the front row in second place and went on to finish the race in 10th. Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix, the Australian commented by saying:

It was great to have some time off to spend with my family but I’m ready to head back to the racetrack. We didn’t have the finish we wanted at St. Petersburg so I’m really looking forward to the weekend at ISM Raceway. We found some great speed at our test there back in February and feel like we’re going to bring a strong oval No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet for the race.

Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet heads to ISM Raceway as the defending race winner in Phoenix. Speaking ahead of the return to ISM Raceway this weekend, the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion commented by saying:

I’m really excited to go back to Phoenix. While St. Petersburg did not go as we expected, I feel after testing at ISM Raceway earlier this year that the new aero kit is going to make some really exciting racing and I believe we prepared the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet really well for that event. Winning there last with the Menards Chevrolet team was terrific. Phoenix is a fantastic market for INDYCAR and has really great support from the fans, so I can’t wait to go racing full speed on this thrilling oval at ISM Raceway.

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