Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet claimed his 38th career Verizon P1 Award for Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It is the Brazilian third consecutive P1 Award at Long Beach and he starts the race just ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon.
Speaking following the session, Castroneves commented by saying:
This competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series, it’s so incredible. It’s ridiculous, plus every time you go into a session, it’s something different. The track changes, the tires change, traffic… It is absolutely very difficult. The crucial time when it comes, you see everybody hundredths of a second separated from each other. My car felt pretty good. Especially with the reds (Firestone alternate tires), my car came alive from this morning, so the AAA Chevy is working really hard. Today is extra special because Long Beach is a great place. I remember winning here from the pole in 2001 and, the last two years, we were right there. We’re not going to let this escape again.
Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hum Chevrolet will start the race from eighth place just ahead of his team mate Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Team Chevrolet and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
The Hum by Verizon Chevrolet was good enough to transfer, but we just couldn’t make it happen. It’s nothing to spend a lot of time thinking about. We just need to move on to Sunday and get to the front. The car is plenty fast. We’ll see what we can do strategy-wise and see how the cautions fall and make some decisions from there.
Will Power starts the race behind Newgarden and speaking ahead of Sunday’s race the Australian commented by saying:
It’s a little disappointing, to be honest. We just couldn’t put together a solid lap. I’m not exactly sure what happened behind me on the thing with Simon (Pagenaud) and Helio (Castroneves). I was gearing up for a fast lap and trying to gauge the traffic in front. We came up a little short overall, and we’ll just hit the track tomorrow ready to go. The Verizon Chevy team gave me a great car and it will be awesome again tomorrow.
It was a disastrous qualifying for reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud in the No.1 Menards Chevrolet as the Frenchman who won here last year will start the race from the back of the grid in 21st place and speaking following qualifying he stated:
It was just one of those unfortunate things. I understand the penalty because I interfered with (Helio) Castroneves’ lap. I backed up a little to set up a second lap on the (alternate tires) and Helio was right there. I was boxed in; there was nothing I could do. The Menards Chevy was fantastic. We’ll start from the back. St. Petersburg was won from the back and we’ll try to do that, too.