Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hitachi Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Australia Gold Chevrolet were delighted with their double podium finish at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Sunday where Newgarden finished in second while Pagenaud came home in third.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – Finished 2nd
IT GOT A BIT CLOSE AT THE END. TALK US THROUGH THE IDEA THAT YOU KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE TO PUT ON THE REDS AT THE END. WHAT WAS YOUR THINKING GOING INTO THAT FINAL STINT?
“Well, we lost a little too much ground in that second stint, really; to capitalize with the reds. And then we had the caution, which almost gifted us another chance. And I just didn’t want to over-extend myself today. I felt like I was close to an opportunity, but Colton (Herta, race winner) was really good. He was doing a great job on the restarts. It was tough to get tire temps. So, I pushed really hard right there in those two initial restarts. I didn’t have quite the runs I needed, so I didn’t want to risk anything. But a good day. I’m really happy with Chevy’s performance and thankful for all their work; and to have Hitachi on and get a podium is really nice here to start our year off. So, congrats to Colton. It was a great rebound for both of us. I feel bad about what happened last week, so I’m really happy that he got back on it today and had a very deserved victory. I wish we could have fought him a little bit more. I think we were just lacking a little bit.”
GREAT REBOUND FROM LAST WEEK. WAS THAT PART OF THE IDEA ABOUT NOT OVER-EXTENDING AND WHAT YOU WERE THINKING?
“Yeah, if I have an opportunity I’m going to go for the win. I was very close to having just enough of that opportunity. I think I was just a little shy of it. So, I didn’t want to force something that wasn’t there today. It’s not the day to do that. But I’m happy with the podium. We obviously want to win but we’re on the board now. “I was close but I think he (Colton Herta) definitely had us covered. We had a good opportunity  with those cautions bringing us back into the mix. I just didn’t want to over extend myself if the opportunity wasn’t perfect. And I didn’t feel like it wasn’t the perfect opportunity to make the pass. I looked for it, it just wasn’t there. Podium is pretty nice. Would have liked to have that third win, but we are back in the war and that’s what we needed after last week.”
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS/AUSTRALIAN GOLD TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – Finished 3rd
YOU’VE GOT A BEAUTIFUL NEW GOLD LIVERY AND ELVIS-STYLE GLASSES, AND YOU END UP ON THE PODIUM. THAT MUST HAVE BEEN THE IDEA, RIGHT?
“Yes, Australian Gold. I’m glad we had some sunglasses and sunscreen this weekend. It was a hot race. But we’re very happy with the end.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN HAD TO USE THE REDS. YOU HAD A CHOICE AND PUT THEM ON. DO YOU THINK ULTIMATELY THAT WAS RIGHT IN THE END?
“Yeah, it was great strategy. We really had a shot on restarts, but it was too slippery on the inside to go for it. I noticed it when I tried to pass Jack (Harvey). But really when I lost the race was at the beginning of the first stint but overall, I think it was a great performance by the No. 22 Chevy Australian Gold team. That was a great performance. I think on street courses we could be very strong. I can’t wait for the oval, especially Indy and Texas.”
IT WASN’T THAT LONG AGO THAT YOU WERE ON THE PODIUM, BUT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN 2021
“Yeah, we finished really well here. I think we finished sixth last year. And then we made some more improvement
“Very good street course run. Awesome. Very happy all weekend. I couldn’t ask for a better car. Great strategy. Fantastic looking car. It made social media for sure. Australian Gold is a new partner for Menards. I hope We get to see that gold car more often.”
Share This