Team Penske Reviews The Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske Verizon INDYCAR Series Race Report

Track:                  Streets of St. Petersburg

Race:                   Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Date:                   March 11, 2018

No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 13th

Finish: 7th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 110/110

Laps Led: 0

Points Position (behind leader): 7th (-25)

 

Notes: 

  • Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet began the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the 13th position but ran strong early on to gain track position.
  • By lap 20, he advanced into the top-10 moving up three spots from where he began the Sunday afternoon event.
  • When the Tennessean brought his Chevrolet to the pits for the first time on lap 21, the Hitachi team showed their strength, which would be reflected on all other pit stops during the 110-lap event.
  • On lap 40, Newgarden received damage following contact from the No. 60 of Jack Harvey, which resulted in a cut tire. This caused him to immediately bring his No. 1 Chevrolet to the pits to change tires.
  • During the closing laps of the race, he was able to advance from ninth to an eventual seventh-place finish.
  • This is his third-career top 10 at the Streets of St. Petersburg.

Quote:

“It was a messy P7 but for us it was a good top 10. It’s a decent start to the year. We had a great Chevy package – it’s just sad we couldn’t take better advantage of it. I felt we had really good power today from Chevrolet. The No. 1 Hitachi Chevy, overall, was pretty strong. We were just fighting all day to catch back up and we were on the wrong end on the fuel mileage and getting run into and cutting the tire didn’t help us. But I think if a couple of things would’ve gone differently, I really think a podium finish was in the cards for today.”

 

     

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 2nd

Finish: 10th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 110/110

Laps Led: 0

Points Position (behind leader): 10th (-31)

 

Notes: 

  • Will Power scored a 10th-place finish at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at the Streets of St. Petersburg.
  • After starting second, Power ran into trouble on lap one when contact between he and the No. 6 of Robert Wickens resulted in a spin and contact with the wall. To correct the damage, race strategist Roger Penske called the Australian driver to the pits for a rear wing change, fuel and scuffed alternative tires.
  • By lap 45, Power had moved back toward the front of the field into eighth place.
  • The No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet continued to battle and found its way into sixth-place by lap 79.
  • After a series of late-race cautions, Power ultimately finished in 10th-place as the team was unable to find speed for the car following the unfortunate collision at the beginning of the race.

Quote:

“It was pretty wild at times.  It was actually good racing at times, and you can get close to people. It is a good car to race. I was on the back foot from the very beginning. (Robert) Wickens and I touched in turn one and I spun around. There wasn’t a lot of room.  That set us back and we fought the rest of the day.  The field is just very, very competitive. There are good cars all through the field with many teams. But you can race close to people.  You don’t get a draft, but you can almost get right behind them.  They did a good job of making the kit with almost zero tow so makes the racing better I think.  Not a perfect day, but we have a good No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet team, and we will come back ready to race at Phoenix.”

           

No. 22 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 11th

Finish: 13th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 110/110

Laps Led: 0

Points Position (behind leader): 13th (-34)

Notes: 

  • Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet began the 110-lap street course race in the 11th position.
  • Throughout the beginning, and subsequently much of the remainder of the race, the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet battled understeer.
  • Pagenaud reached his highest position during the race on lap 20 as he found himself in the eighth spot.
  • On lap 22, the No. 22 fell victim to an extended pit stop as an air gun broke, causing the car to fall toward the back of the field.
  • As the race continued, the team worked through their pit strategy in hopes of rejoining the front of the field. This proved successful at times as he was able to return to the top-10 during a few points during the race. However, the team found it difficult to find speed and make up much ground in traffic.
  • The team brought the French driver back to the pits during the penultimate caution with just six laps remaining and running 14th. This change saw the addition of alternate Firestone tires to try and make up ground during the closing laps.
  • Pagenaud battled during the final laps for a 13th-place finish in this first race of the 2018 Verizon INDYCAR Series season.

Quote:

“It was a hard fought day. We had a tire gun problem on the first stop and I feel bad for the Menards crew. That’s a tough thing to happen and they did such a good job on the next two stops.  Unfortunately, that put us back in the pack and we just couldn’t make up ground from there. I expected more tire degradation and that might have created some opportunities but that never happened. It’s definitely not the start to the season that we wanted but we know the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet is good and we know we will bounce back strong.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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