The GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis takes place on Saturday with qualifying on Friday. Team Penske’s Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet took his 59th career pole position and starts the race just ahead of Jack Harvey.
Speaking following the session he said:
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER
FOR THE 12TH CONSECUTIVE SEASON, YOU HAVE SCORED AT LEAST ONE POLE. YOU STEP A LITTLE CLOSER TO HISTORY. YOU’RE JUST NINE AWAY FROM MARIO ANDRETTI FOR ALL-TIME LEADER IN POLES IN THE INDYCAR SERIES. WHEN YOU FINISHED THAT LAP, YOU LET OUT A BIG SIGH, LIKE I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING ELSE. DID YOU LEAVE ANYTHING ON THE TABLE IN THAT LAP?
“No, nothing on the table in that lap. I knew that (Jack) Harvey had a pretty good time up there, so we put our best set on for the last run and I just gave it my all. Fortunately, it was enough. But man, the heat. I just want to jump into an ice bath right now, I’m so bloody hot!”
AFTER THE LAP YOU SAID ALL WE NEED TO DO IS CONCENTRATE ON THE THINGS WE’RE GOOD AT. WHAT’S THAT?
“That’s the lesson from Texas. We don’t need to be trying to get out first. If you’re thinking of that, you’re going to make a mistake, or I don’t need to be thinking about winning. You just need to be thinking about what you’re really good at, which is for me, driving; and for the crew the stops that they’ve done thousands of. We’ve all had a chat and we all understand that. That’s how we’re going to win a championship.”
YOU ARE UNDEFEATED WHEN YOU START ON THE POLE HERE. HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT GOING INTO TURN 1 TOMORROW AFTERNOON?
“Yeah, it’s a long stretch. You’ve got to get a good jump, but they’re going to be on you anyway, even if you get a good jump. So, just be smart and get through that first corner. I think being on the pole is definitely a good spot. You’re probably going to be out of a bit of harm’s way, but there are obviously a lot of hungry guys behind you trying to gain some positions.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 1 XPEL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 6TH
“We couldn’t really get going there on that lap. You know I came out of the pits and had a huge lockup to start the lap on the first corner. I’m not sure. It snuck up on me and hasn’t done that all day. You know I’m sure I have an influence on why that happened, but not 100-percent positive why we got such an aggressive lock up. We had one lap on the tires ready to go just like Will. I thought we were getting better all session but were a little bit behind him all day. We definitely need to work on our pace, and I felt like we were getting there. You come to this track and you don’t see the separation of people on-track. Everyone is just kind of the same speed. There’s definitely people that shine. Obviously Will [Power] and Simon [Pagenaud] have been very good here but it doesn’t separate people out, so you’re all clumped together. Team Chevy has worked with us all session and we were pulling forward they were giving us a little more each time. I think we can still have a good show with XPEL tomorrow and go for a win.”
CONOR DALY, NO. 20 U.S. AIR FORCE ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 8TH
“We felt like we had a lot of grip on the red tires. For some reason, there’s a big difference in tires for us. On the blacks, the car just doesn’t quite come in the way I like it. As soon as we put on reds, I can really get on it, even on Lap 1. We have to try and bring those balances a little closer together for tomorrow, but I’m super pumped. We’ve got the U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, all of us here together for the first time at Ed Carpenter Racing, this is a great start. We’re right in the fight starting 8th. That’s all we want a chance to be up there and get good points at the end of the day.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 10TH
“All-in-all I’d say it was a pretty decent day for us. We were up front quite a bit in practice this morning and then we dropped down and ended up 18th toward the end of the session, but I knew we were quicker than that for qualifying. Surprisingly I came in from my final run in the first round of qualifying and was having a hard time finding myself on the time sheets and then realized I was up in P2 and moving onto the second round with the rest of the top 12. We went out in the second round and the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet was really good, but I didn’t really drive to the grip levels because I was worried about the temperature. I went out and did what I’d done before but tidied it up on the first lap on reds. Then on the second lap I went out thinking there was no way I was going to go any quicker so let’s just over drive it and see what we can do and ended up actually going quicker. Unfortunately, I think it just proved that I didn’t get the most out of the first lap, but that does prove that Gallagher Chevrolet is quicker than where we are so hopefully we’ll have a good day tomorrow and move quickly through the field to the front.”
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 SONAX ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 18TH
“It was a tough first qualifying in IndyCar. We had a pretty good first run on blacks, then went to reds. I anticipated having two flying laps, but at the end of my first one I caught the checkered. It’s a bummer, I think there was more time the car if we’d had a second lap. We’re starting 18th, which isn’t where we wanted to be but we’ll make the best of it.”
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 20TH
AFTER PRACTICE, YOU SEEMED QUITE CONFIDENT. WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING?
“On the red tires, just having a lot of push, so I couldn’t complete the corners which then translates into lap time. It’s so tight here, you’ve got to be able to roll the speed in those corners and, unfortunately we missed out. We missed it. We missed the balance. Unfortunately, this morning we felt pretty good. And then I think the adjustment we made went in the wrong direction.”
BUT YOU KNOW HOW TO GET FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT. YOU STARTED 8TH LAST YEAR AND ENDED-UP WINNING THE RACE. YOU’VE DONE IT FROM FURTHER BACK THAN THAT, BEFORE.
“Well, you can play with downforce levels so you can really decide to run less downforce and you’re a lot quicker on the straightaway. The downforce, when you lay that rear wing down, there’s a lot of gain in speed. I think we might have to do that tomorrow. We’ll see. The degradation rate was low, so that might help us to make that decision.”
SAGE KARAM. NO. 24 WIX FILTERS DRYER & REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 23RD
“It was a big IndyCar first for the DRR crew and I on the IMS road course. So we’ll take P23 in qualifying in our initial day on the track. We are chipping away at it and getting stronger each run. We had a small car issue in practice when we stalled on the track. But we got it back quickly and I was able to finish the practice session. We are going to have to work some magic in the race tomorrow (Saturday) but I’m feeling good! Thank you to all the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing WIX Filters boys for the continued hard work!”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 4 TRESIBA AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 24TH
“Honestly, pretty disappointed. It was not the result that anyone at AJ Foyt Racing wants, not anything that the No. 4 car wanted, but I still have a huge amount of faith in the team, the guys, the engineers tonight. Headed into the engineering office, we’re gonna work on it, look through all the data, talk about previous experiences here plus what tomorrow’s going to bring strategy-wise, weather-wise. It’s supposed to be another hot one tomorrow, so that changes a little bit with what we do, but I have every bit of confidence that come warmup tomorrow morning the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet will be faster. And then in the race we’ll roll some strategy dice and hopefully end up inside the top 10.”
DALTON KELLETT, NO 14 K-LINE USA AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 26TH“First INDYCAR qualifying is in the books. What better place to do it than at Indianapolis? This is the track that means a lot to me and means a lot to the team – all their history here – so I can’t think of somewhere better to have that great first experience. It’s definitely been a learning day without having a lot of testing in the offseason given the big break and all that. Just trying to go hard right off the bat on the Firestone reds — it’s pretty tough — and definitely something that I’m going to have to learn and get better at as the season progresses. But I think we’ll be reviewing the day, looking at the onboard between the 14 and the 4 cars and seeing what we can learn from that and make improvements for tomorrow’s race