Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report - Pocono

August 20, 2017

Track:                       Pocono Raceway
Race:                        ABC Supply 500
Date:                         August 20, 2017

No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 2nd
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (deficit): 4th (-26 pts.)

Recap: The ABC Supply 500 weekend at Pocono Raceway proved to be just a couple of adjustments off for Simon Pagenaud and the DXC Technology Chevrolet team. In Saturday's Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying session, Pagenaud narrowly missed winning his second pole of the season and in Sunday's race, he lost touch with the lead pack in the middle portion of the event and that ultimately hurt his charge to the front in the final stint. The strategy for Pagenaud heading into Sunday's 500-mile race was to stay in the lead group, make the necessary adjustments to the No. 1 Chevy through the race and sprint to the end for the final 50-100 laps. The DXC Technology machine had some understeer in the early going and race strategist Kyle Moyer and race engineer Ben Bretzman made several adjustments to the front and rear wings of the car before finding the perfect combination for the final 22 trips around the "Tricky Triangle." Unfortunately, earlier in the run Pagenaud was battling with fellow championship contender Scott Dixon for position and the two lost touch with lead pack. By the time Pagenaud broke free of Dixon it made the final hill to climb to the leaders just a little too steep for the reigning series champion. Pagenaud, however, was able to factor into the lead group at the end and crossed the finish line in the fourth position. It marked his 12th top-five finish in 14 starts this season. In the championship point standings, he now sits in fourth – just 26 markers behind leader and teammate Josef Newgarden.

Quote: "The DXC Technology Chevrolet was a rocket ship at the end. This is such a long race and all of the changes to the car seem to come together at the end. It's a little bit of a shame that we lost the train earlier in the race. I think that was costly for us. I was racing (Scott) Dixon and we lost touch with the pack. It might have been interesting had that not happened. But that's how it goes sometimes. The championship battle is still very close with just three races to go."

No. 2 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start:  14th
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 4
Points Position (lead): 1st (+18 pts.)

Recap: Following back-to-back wins at Toronto and Mid-Ohio, Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Team Penske Chevrolet/Dallara team entered Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway leading the points and they left with the championship lead in tact after a strong second-place run in the 500-mile event. Newgarden took the green flag from the 14th position but quickly moved up through the field passing his way to sixth by Lap 10. After the caution flag waved for the first time of the day on Lap 23, Newgarden brought the No. 2 Chevy to the pits for service, which included wing adjustments, fuel and tires. A strong stop and solid restart allowed Newgarden to break into the top five. With changing track conditions over the course of the afternoon Newgarden continued to run among the top 10 and he took over the race lead briefly, just before the second caution of the day and a  Lap 118 pit stop for fuel, tires and a turn of front wing. Newgarden made his final stop of the race on Lap 182 and a blazing fast stop for fuel and tires only by the No. 2 crew put the team in a good position for a strong finish. Looking to make it three Verizon IndyCar Series wins in a row, Newgarden came on strong over the final 10 laps as he caught up to leader and teammate Will Power. The two engaged in a memorable battle that became intense and exciting for the fans over the final three laps as Newgarden made several attempts to get by Power only to see his fast teammate hold serve. The thrilling second-place effort represented Newgarden's fourth top-five result in five career starts at Pocono and it was also his fifth top-two finish among his last seven races this season. As a result, Newgarden maintained his lead in the series standings as the team advances to Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis next weekend.

Quote: "It was a good day for points. Tough when you have an opportunity to potentially win a race at the end of it, but I don't think we had enough for Will (Power) to be honest with you. I did everything I could to try and get by him. I just felt like he was a touch quicker than us. That was difficult for me to overcome. I'm happy for him. I'm happy for Team Penske. It's a one-two at the end of the day, so keeping it in the family. When one car wins, we kind of all win. That's the way we view it. And certainly for the Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevy, it's a points extension day, so we can't be disappointed in it."

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves

Start:  20th
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (deficit): 3rd (-22)

Recap: Helio Castroneves' quest for a Verizon IndyCar Series championship nearly took a huge blow over the weekend at Pocono Raceway, but the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet team put together a solid finish on Sunday and the goal is still squarely in their sights. During Saturday's qualifying for the ABC Supply 500, Castroneves made contact with the outside retaining wall in Turn 1 of the 2.5-mile triangular track that caused enough damage that the crew had to start from scratch. The team was able to assemble the backup No. 3 car for final practice Saturday afternoon, but a start from the rear of the field loomed for the veteran Brazilian racer on Sunday. Starting from the 20th spot, Castroneves launched his attack from the initial green flag. He quickly moved to just outside the top 10 before the second round of pit stops as he worked his way through the field. From that point on in the race, the name of the game was adjustments. Without a lot of discussion on the radio, the Hitachi Chevrolet's telemetry was able to tell the story for race strategist Roger Penske and the No. 3 team. Practically every suggested adjustment to the car was confirmed by the driver and it seemed to make the difference in the performance on track. Once Castroneves cracked the top 10 he was able to stay there as he ran strong to the finish. With the seventh-place result, Castroneves notched his fifth straight top-10 finish and his 13th in 14 starts this season. When the dust cleared from a Team Penske 1-2 finish Sunday led by Will Power's victory, Castroneves was slotted third in the championship standings – just 22 points off leader Josef Newgarden and four points behind second-place contender Scott Dixon. The team returns to Gateway Motorsports Park next week for the first time in more than 14 years as Castroneves was the last INDYCAR driver to win at the 1.25-mile oval in 2003.

Quote: "All things considered. It was a great weekend. I can't thank the Hitachi Chevrolet crew enough for all of the hard work after the crash in qualifying. They did an awesome job at getting the car together for the race. We started from the back, so our work was cut out for us. Our progress kind of stalled a little, but then the changes to the car all clicked and we were able to finish seventh. The championship didn't get jumbled up too much, so we head to Gateway (Motorsports Park) next week for another round."

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

Start: 5th
Finish: 1st    (32nd career INDYCAR victory)
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 34
Points Position (deficit): 5th (-42)

Recap: Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet team overcame broken front and rear wings, racing from the back of the field and a dramatic battle with his teammate over the closing laps to claim his third win of the season and second straight at Pocono Raceway. Power began Sunday's race from the fifth position and he headed into the event knowing he needed a great points day to continue his run for the 2017 championship. After 10 laps of green flag racing, he made his way up to the third position. As the first caution came out on Lap 23, Power visited the pits and received fuel, tires and a front wing adjustment. Green flag racing resumed and he returned to the pits on Lap 57 for tires, fuel and a little more front wing. Unfortunately, a few laps later the team diagnosed a broken front wing which led to a Lap 65 pit stop for a replacement. The unexpected service led to the Verizon Chevy falling a lap behind the rest of the field. After falling to 21st, Power battled his way back to 18th by Lap 91. Contact from behind resulted in damage to the back wing of the No. 12 car but the team tried to make adjustments to keep Power moving forward. With back-to-back caution flags after the halfway point of the race, Power was able to get back on the lead lap. Race strategist Jon Bouslog and the team made the decision to change the broken rear wing of the car during a Lap 125 stop under caution and Power returned to the pits while the field still ran under the yellow flag to top off fuel on the Verizon Chevy. This proved to be key as it put Power slightly ahead of sequence from most of the race leaders. By Lap 145, the Australian-born Power moved up from the back of the pack to 13th. Power continued to breeze his way through the field and following another fast pit stop for tires and fuel where he pitted off sequence from the leaders he took over the race lead on Lap 154. Finally with a car running at peak performance Power began to open up a sizable lead. He returned to the pits on Lap 177 where he asked to trim the car out by removing some front wing. On Lap 191, Power reclaimed the lead for good as the final stops completed their cycle and he did a masterful job holding off the hard-charging Newgarden and Alexander Rossi. With some impressive defensive moves to hold the lead in the thrilling closing laps, Power crossed the finish line .5268 of a second ahead of his teammate Newgarden to a cheering Pocono crowd. The win marked the 32nd of his INDYCAR career win, putting him ninth on the all-time list ahead of Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti. Power remains fifth in championship standings but now just 42 points behind Newgarden with three races remaining in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Quote: "What a crazy day for us. I mean, we had a really strong car. The Verizon Chevrolet was getting back to the front, and then suddenly, boom, the wing broke. Lucky I didn't hit the wall. We went a lap down, and then I was thinking to be smart and anything can happen. You get your lap back and get through the field, and that's exactly what we did. So very, very good day. Once I got my lap back, I was like, all right, it's game on. I can definitely get back up there. I was thinking like top 5, but when I was pumping out like 217 laps, I'm like, okay, we're going to make some serious hay here. The crew guys did a fantastic job in the pits having to do all that and still able to go ahead and win the race."

Next Race: The Verizon IndyCar Series is right back on track next week for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois, on Saturday, Aug. 26. Television coverage on NBC Sports Network begins at 9 p.m. ET. Tune into the INDYCAR Radio Network or log on to for additional coverage.