Montoya Leads Team Penske at Indy Opening Day

May 4, 2015

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 3, 2015) – Opening Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) is one of the many traditions at the legendary facility. Team Penske – the most-storied team in IMS history – used the 2015 Opening Day to show it has the speed to contend for its 16th Indianapolis 500 title. Team Penske drivers turned three of the five fastest laps of the day on Sunday.
Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner, led all drivers in the first test of the new 2015 aero kit packages with a lap of 226.772 mph in the No. 2 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet. Higher speeds were expected with the new packages and those expectations were met as Montoya’s lap was 3.7 mph faster than the top speed of the 2014 Opening Day session established by Team Penske teammate, Will Power.
“It’s good for Verizon and Chevy to have the fastest lap on Opening Day, but as a driver the team sheet is irrelevant until we get to qualifying and the race,” said Montoya. “Most of the top speeds were helped by a draft. I am happy with the Verizon Chevy, though. We have a platform we can build on and gradually get faster as we start to trim it out.”
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Helio Castroneves, was right behind his fellow South American teammate with a lap of 226.468 mph in the No. 3 Verizon Chevrolet. He will be seeking his record-tying fourth win in the “Greatest Spectacle In Racing” on Memorial Day, but not before making his 300th career start in the Verizon IndyCar Series next weekend in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. 
“It’s always great to be back at Indianapolis,” stated Castroneves. “The fans are incredible and you can see that everyone is already excited. You're going to see the speeds increasing tremendously during the month. At this point we seem to be starting faster than we normally start at Indianapolis with the No. 3 Chevrolet. Right now we're not looking for times, we're looking for the data that we want to make sure that nothing goes under the radar for us.”
Simon Pagenaud, in his first year with Team Penske, toured the 2.5-mile oval in 225.641 mph in the No. 22 Avaya Dallara/Chevrolet, good for the fifth-fastest overall time of the day. 
“For me it was a bit unexpected to finish the day toward the top of the speed chart,” said Pagenaud. “The Avaya Chevy feels really good, especially in traffic, and the quick lap time came with that. We really weren’t focusing on setting a quick lap today. We just wanted to make sure we have a lot of good data for when we really begin working on the Indianapolis 500 setup, which will be next week.”
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, Will Power, turned in the 14th-fastest time Sunday with a lap of 224.660 in the No. 1 Verizon Dallara/Chevy. 
“The Verizon Chevy seems to drive a bit differently than last year’s car when you are following someone,” stated Power. “That took a bit of adjusting on my part, but I’m really happy with the way the new aero kit performed. I’m really trying hard to win this race and I think we are heading in a good direction to make that happen.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series will reconvene at IMS on Thursday to prepare for Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the 2.434-mile, 14-turn IMS road course. The race will be broadcast live beginning at 3:30 pm ET on ABC, the IMS Radio Network, XM Radio 209 and Sirius 213. 

David Hovis
Team Penske