NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report - Texas

May 2, 2021

Track:          Texas Motor Speedway
Race:            Genesys 300
Date:            May 1, 2021

No. 2 XPEL Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Start: 10th
Finish: 6th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 212/212
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 7th (-43 pts)

  • Josef Newgarden demonstrated great resiliency Saturday night in the Genesys 300 NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Texas Motor Speedway after he battled back from a mid-race penalty to score a sixth-place finish in the opening race of the weekend on the high-speed 1.5-mile oval.
  • The two-time series champion started from the 10th position as the grid was set by points due to a lengthy track drying process that forced INDYCAR officials to cancel the qualifying session. Like many other cars in the field, the No. 2 XPEL Chevrolet developed a vibration early in each stint but the condition improved with more laps on each set of tires.
  • The race took a turn for Newgarden when the XPEL Chevy made contact with the rear of the No. 14 car on lap 56. The contact brought out the first caution flag of the race and also resulted in an early exit for Sebastian Bourdais. After a review by series officials, Newgarden was assessed a penalty for avoidable contact and sent to the rear of the field for the race restart.
  • From that point forward, Newgarden and the No. 2 XPEL pit crew were on a mission as the team took full advantage of a fast race car, sound pit strategy and solid pit stops to make up ground.  Newgarden charged hard to the finish, falling just shy of a top-five result.
  • With the finish, Newgarden enters Sunday's second race of the weekend ranked seventh in the series driver point standings.

Quote: "It was definitely a tough night in the first race here at Texas. It was a scrappy day. After starting 10th, we made our way back up to sixth at the end of the day following a minor altercation with a couple cars that checked up in front of me. Unfortunately, at Texas right now it is hard to move out of that bottom lane and it makes it really a one-groove racetrack. I just didn't have enough time to react and ended up spinning Bourdais, which put us to the back after a penalty. We just had great execution to claw our way back to a near top-five finish. Pretty happy with that."

No. 3 PPG Dallara/Chevrolet – Scott McLaughlin
Start: 15th
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 212/212
Laps Led:  0
Points Position:  6th (-43 pts)

  • Rookie Scott McLaughlin impressed the NTT INDYCAR SERIES paddock and fans alike on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway. McLaughlin scored his first career INDYCAR podium with a brilliant runner-up finish behind the wheel of the No. 3 PPG Dallara/Chevrolet in his oval track debut.
  • Wet weather canceled qualifying for Saturday night's 212-lap event, as the starting lineup was set by point standings.  That left McLaughlin starting in the middle of the pack – in 15th place – for his first-ever INDYCAR SERIES oval race.
  • At the start of the race, track position proved to be important as dirty air hindered competitors from moving forward, so McLaughlin ran steadily in 15th position early on. A caution flag just before the first round of pit stops helped McLaughlin gain some track position as the PPG Chevy team helped their driver restart in sixth position less than 100 laps into the race.
  • The No. 3 team continued to give McLaughlin great stops all night, and the strategy to undercut the field during green-flag pit stops allowed the rookie to gain tremendous track position. By lap 150, McLaughlin was running third on the track and he moved up to second place following the final pit stop.
  • Over the course of the final 30 laps, McLaughlin continued to close in on leader Scott Dixon and got within three-tenths-of-a-second of the reigning series champion as the laps wound down.  
  • On the white flag lap, McLaughlin got to the rear of Dixon's car, but didn't have enough to pass his fellow New Zealand racer. McLaughlin took the checkered flag in second place for the first podium result of his four-race INDYCAR SERIES career.  The finish propelled McLaughlin from 15th to sixth in the series point standings.  

Quote: "I've never been so happy to finish second in all my life. Thanks to PPG, Chevy and the team. I couldn't quite get Scott at the end there. But I tell you what, it was bloody cool battling with my all-time favorite hero – Scotty Dixon. Two Kiwis 1 and 2 is fantastic. My mom and dad are watching at home I know for sure, and unfortunately my wife Carly said if I go good this weekend she was going to give me a slap across the face and I went good, so I'm sorry babe, that's how it is!  I'm just so proud. We've done the work and I've worked really hard behind the scenes to make the car feel good and we got good strategy from my team. They put me in the position and I'm really just happy to bring it home for them."

No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Start: 2nd
Finish: 14th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 212/212
Laps Led: 0
Points Position:  3rd (-37 pts)

  • In Saturday night's first race of this weekend's Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader, an untimely caution flag put Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet behind early on and the team was never able to return to the front of the field before coming home with a 14th-place finish.  
  • Power started the race in the second position when qualifying for the event was rained out and the field set by points. Power dropped back to third early on, but held serve in that position until coming in for his first stop on lap 55.  Unfortunately for Power and the Verizon 5G team, the caution flag flew shortly after the No. 12 crew completed its stop, which resulted in the Australian racer falling a lap down.
  • For the remainder of the race, Power continued to try and keep himself on the lead lap while also trying to earn back his track position by beating his competitors to pit lane during scheduled stops. When that strategy didn't work, the Verizon 5G Chevy team tried to run long on the final stop hoping to catch a caution flag.  Unfortunately for the team, the caution period never came and Power crossed the finish line in 14th place.
  • Saturday's finish marked Power's first result outside of the top 10 this season.  Power dropped to third place in the INDYCAR SERIES point standings with the result. 

Quote: "We just caught a bad break tonight with that caution coming out when it did. (Scott) Dixon got away from us on the start but I felt like we settled in a bit and had a decent Verizon Chevy. Once we lost that track position it was a struggle to make that back up. Tried some strategy that didn't work out the way we wanted. We have another shot at it tomorrow and a good starting position, so hopefully a little luck falls our way."

No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Start: 5th
Finish: 10th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 212/212
Laps Led:  0
Points Position:  8th (-44 pts)

  • Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet team overcame several obstacles during Saturday night's Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway and showed perseverance to produce a top-10 result.  
  • On the heels of his first podium finish of the season last week in St. Petersburg, Pagenaud began Saturday's race from the fifth position as the field was set by points due to a wet racing surface that forced the cancelation of qualifying.
  • After experiencing an early vibration on the Menards Chevy to start the event, Pagenaud began to turn lap times that were faster than the race leaders. Unfortunately, just after making his first pit stop of the day, the Frenchman was caught out by the caution period caused by the contact between Newgarden and Bourdais.
  • After restarting from the 15th position, Pagenaud continued to show considerable speed in the Menards Chevy. When trying to enter pit road for his second pit stop on lap 114, however, Pagenaud encountered a soft brake pedal that saw him pass pit road on two occasions. The lost track position resulted in the No. 22 Chevy falling to the middle of the pack once again.
  • The Menards pit crew had another strong night on pit lane, however, which helped propel Pagenaud through the field as he captured a 10th-place finish. The former series champ is now eighth in the driver point standings entering Sunday's second race of the weekend.

Quote: "A 10th-place finish tonight in Texas is certainly not the result we wanted but considering the day I think P10 is reasonable. We had a very fast Menards Chevy tonight, but unfortunately, we couldn't use it. An excessive vibration on tires made our stints longer, and we had an issue with a brake that we need to investigate. We have a fast car, so we should expect to be back to the front tomorrow."