Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden in the No.1 Verizon Chevrolet had a fantastic day at Road America in the Kohler Grand Prix leading 53 of the 55 laps in the race.
The Tennessee native who started the race from pole position was delighted with the result following a number of disappointing races.
Speaking following the race Newgarden said:
What a day. I don’t know what to say, I’m worn out. I was doing everything I could to keep Ryan (Hunter-Reay), I knew (Scott) Dixon was close, too, so it was a day of executing. Team Penske did a great job. Tim (Cindric, race strategist) gave me the strategy I needed. The guys were perfect in their pit stops. I don’t know what to tell you. It was a hard-fought day, it was not as easy as it looked. I was looking at my mirrors half the day with Ryan closing in on me. I think that Team Chevy engine made the difference. I had the engine mileage that I needed, the power, good reliability – everything that you’d expect from Team Chevy. At the end of the day, to me, that’s what made the difference.”
Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet came through the field from 14th place to finish the race in seventh place and speaking following the race the 2016 series champion said:
“It was a good weekend. Qualifying was a real shame. We definitely had a good car. We made big improvements throughout the weekend, but we over-balanced and barely missed Q2 where we could have adjusted and probably contended for the pole. It would have changed the whole race because the Menards Chevy was really good in the race. We managed to have a really good fuel saving during the race, so strategy was really good. Tires – when to have to the reds (Firestone alternate tires); when to have the blacks (Firestone primary tires). Made a lot of passes on track. We had a blast today. Coming from starting 14th to finish seventh on a track like this with no yellows is pretty outstanding. Very proud of my team. It was a really exciting race. I would like to have been up front more, but it was pretty good where we finished.
It was a disappointing race for Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet as the Australian who started the race from second place was forced to retire from the race.
Speaking following the event he said:
(About what happened to cause him to retire early): “Literally from as soon as I started warming it up, there was something amiss. I have no clue. They replaced the exhaust and it still didn’t take, so the Chevy guys will take a deep look at it.” (About his up and down season): “It is unbelievable the amount of DNFs I have had this season. I have never had this many in my career in such a short period of time. Yep, that’s racing. Goes one way and then the other. As quickly as it is down, it can swing the other way quickly in a good way. When I think about it, we came into the Month of May, I think, fifth in points and left as the leader, so it can change, man.”