INDYCAR Race Engineers Rev Up for 2024

March 9, 2024

As Team Penske chases its 12th victory in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and 18th INDYCAR Series championship, we caught up with Indy 500 winning race engineers Luke Mason [Josef Newgarden], Ben Bretzman [Scott McLaughlin] and David Faustino [Will Power] prior to this weekend’s event to preview the upcoming season.

Catch the 20th annual Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Sunday, March 10 at 12:00 p.m. ET on NBC.


Luke Mason, Race Engineer, No. 2 Chevrolet

Q: You had a great first season with Josef. What are some areas of improvement you’re looking at this year?

A: We had a great season on the ovals, so the success he had previously going was great – but there still are areas of improvement - like Indy 500 qualifying. He had a fantastic race, but that has not stopped the work of making our car faster in qualifying to make that job a little easier in the race. I would really like to get a win on a road course and is certainly a big-ticket item we have not achieved together yet. We showed glimpses, but overall, that was our weakness to find a groove on the road and street circuits. This offseason we have spent a fair bit of time digging through the data to find a package that best works for him on those tracks.

Q: With six of the final eight races on ovals, how excited does that make the No. 2 team?

A: We certainly cannot hide the fact we had a pretty good run on the ovals in 2023. We know the target is on our backs each time we show it, but we know we cannot be complacent and fall back on our results from last year. If we can maintain our speed and keep [Josef] comfortable, we expect good results, but we know all the other teams are working just as hard to find speed.

Q: As Team Penske enters its 50th Indy 500 what does it mean to be a winning race engineer in the event

A: That is the goal and dream we work and strive for as engineers. You go to school, build yourself up through the ranks in motorsports from a data and performance engineer all the way to a race engineer. It is pretty cool to say in our engineering office at Team Penske we all have one and it is cool to say you did it at Team Penske for Roger [Penske]. Hopefully, we can go back-to-back like in the early 2000s and keep the Borg Warner Trophy here at Team Penske.


Ben Bretzman, Race Engineer, No. 3 Chevrolet

Q: Scott finished a career-high in the championship in 2023. What will it take to contend for the title?

A: The biggest thing we can improve is the Month of May - both the Indy 500 and Indy GP. The Indy Road Course sets up how you go into the Indy oval, so we need to come out there with a lot of points on the table for both races and start our summer off stronger. If we can carry the momentum for those two to three races following the Month of May, we will be in a better spot heading into the final events of the season. Scott is also taking a different approach heading into the Indy 500 compared to other years. We are focusing on how we maximize those couple of weeks in Indianapolis and hope it carries over to the second half of the season.

Q: With the addition of two new ovals on the schedule. What will it take for Scott to get his first oval win?

A: Hopefully, it gives us more chances. I am definitely excited; Milwaukee is a phenomenal race track and glad it got added to the schedule. Nashville [Superspeedway] is a good little speedway to finish the season on and has its challenges to prepare for. [Scott] was able to get his first oval pole last year in St. Louis and he is getting there. Having Chevrolet power on the ovals will be strong and Scott’s progression has continued on the ovals each year.

Q: As Team Penske enters its 50th Indy 500 what does it mean to be a winning race engineer in the event?

A: For me, it is an honor to be a small part of Team Penske’s 19 wins in the Indianapolis 500. Team Penske is always in contention to win that race. It is cool to be able to share that honor with Dave [Faustino] and Luke [Mason] and we are racing to see who can get the second victory. What Roger [Penske] and Tim [Cindric] give us to compete with each year is amazing and it is truly a privilege to work for this organization.


David Faustino, Race Engineer, No. 12 Chevrolet

Q: Will is fifteen laps away from leading 5,000 in his career. What has made him one of the best to ever do it?

A: It has been Will’s dedication to staying competitive and fast. Year after year, he seems to have the same intensity for racing. Certainly, he has had highs and lows with things on and off the track. That consistency to lead laps and win poles is what has and still continues to make him one of the best to ever do it.

Q: Although Will extended his record for number of poles, what will it take to get back to Victory Lane this year?

A: For us to get back to Victory Lane, we definitely need to execute more consistently in qualifying. We have been able to get poles in the last couple of years, but our average qualifying position needs work. Ultimately to finish up front you have to start up front on a regular basis; especially with the level of competition in INDYCAR racing now. That has been a focus and certainly ready to up our average qualifying position this year.

Q: As Team Penske enters its 50th Indy 500 what does it mean to be a winning race engineer in the event?

A: It means a lot to be a part of the Team Penske Indianapolis 500 history. It is certainly not an opportunity that many race engineers get, so it is hard to put into words only than it is really special. You sometimes need to take a step back and think about it. All I can say is it is really special for sure.