Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report - Long Beach

April 16, 2023


Track:  Streets of Long Beach
Race:   Grand Prix of Long Beach
Date:   April 16, 2023

No. 2 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Start: 8th
Finish: 9th
Point Standings: 4th (-21 pts)
 
Race Rundown: Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet team looked to be in position to score consecutive victories in the Grand Prix of Long Beach but an untimely caution early in the 85-lap event hurt the team's fuel strategy, leading to a ninth-place finish on Sunday afternoon. After starting the race from the eighth position, Newgarden made a strong move to fourth before the field exited the second corner. By the time the first caution flag flew on Lap 21, Newgarden had powered his way to the third position. Unfortunately for the team the caution flew several laps before their fuel window fully opened, resulting in needing to save fuel for the rest of the event, despite taking the lead on Lap 28. Following the second and final pit stop on Lap 53, Newgarden and team were forced into extreme fuel-save mode that caused Newgarden to let several cars pass in order to make it to the end, but he was able to secure a solid, top-10 finish. 
  
Newgarden's Thoughts: "I'm sad for my team, honestly. We had a phenomenal race car. Really great. We were chipping away all weekend. It's been tough to put the laps together all the way up from qualifying and I felt like that was kind of our weakness was just getting everything together. We had good peak potential but just couldn't realize it. In the race, we really had it together. That car was absolutely phenomenal. Team Chevy did great job for us. The whole No. 2 car with team Hitachi did amazing. Fate didn't really go our way in the beginning. For our strategy, the yellow did not help us one bit. If there wasn't a yellow in the beginning, and would've gone green a little longer, we would've been really pretty. But even with the yellow, we were making the most of it and I still think we had a shot at winning that race, but something else did us in and made the end pretty brutal. I'm not 100% sure yet, but something we had to overcome."

 
No. 3 Sonsio Dallara/Chevrolet – Scott McLaughlin
Start: 9th
Finish: 10th                                     
Point Standings: 9th (-42 pts)
 
Race Rundown: Scott McLaughlin and the No. 3 Sonsio Chevrolet team earned a hard-fought, ninth-place finish in Sunday's Grand Prix of Long Beach, the third round of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule. The three-time series winner started from the same ninth-place position that he would finish before moving into the top five just after making his first pit stop of the day on Lap 23. As with his teammate, Josef Newgarden, McLaughlin and crew were dealt a blow to their race strategy with the early caution, causing them to adjust their fuel strategy on the fly. This proved to be difficult in the second stint of the race on the alternate, guayule tires that need to be worked in for maximum grip. As a result, McLaughlin was loose around the tight corners of the Long Beach street circuit, which cost him several positions. He was able to move back into the top 10 just before the checkered flag. 

McLaughlin's Thoughts: "Yeah, well, you know, honestly, it actually cooled the tires off because I was saving fuel on them, and we just got caught in the wrong spot. Ultimately a really good start and got to P4 was looking really good in the first exchange and I think we just got the wrong end of when were on those tires.   I mean, ultimately, if you had a crystal ball, you'd start on greens because they are very temperature dependent. The blacks were better to look after fuel and all that stuff, but unfortunately don't have that hindsight. But I think I think you know, we maximized as much as we could.  It was a tough second stint because I picked up some rubber and that's where I lost all my time. The Sonsio Chevy was good. I definitely think we deserved more but it is what it is. We'll look forward to the Indianapolis test and then on to Barber."

  
No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Start: 13th
Finish: 6th
Point Standings: 9th (-42 pts)
 
Race Rundown: Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet team had a rather uneventful day on Sunday at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, surviving a fuel mileage affair to finish sixth. Power and team elected to start the race on primary Firestone tires and held court to his starting position of 13th through the first two cautions. After switching to alternates, Power survived a number of close calls to jump up to eighth. The second half of the race was a battle of fuel mileage and hitting a fuel number, as Power and his Team Penske teammates had to conserve fuel to try and make it to the end of the race on two stops. Power was able to hit the fuel number, while holding off a strong challenge from Felix Rosenqvist and taking advantage of the mistakes of others, to grab the sixth position as the checkered waved. Along with being the top finishing Chevrolet driver, Power moved up to ninth in the INDYCAR point standings, 42 points behind leader Marcus Ericsson.
  
Power's Thoughts:
"It was good fuel save and tire conservation, there. We said in our strategy meeting if we got a yellow around lap 20, that's the worse for us starting on black tires. It's very common just on the restart and everything not to slip the tire. Just tried to look after it best I could and get the number, and that's what we did. Drove as hard as I could like doing a qualifying lap. Every lap you're lifting early to conserve fuel. Saving fuel is right in my wheel house. I've been doing it for so many years. It's a very big part of INDYCAR racing, is saving fuel. I'm pretty happy when I hear the whole fields' got to get this number because usually we can go a bit quicker and get the number at the same time."


What's Next: The next event for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will take place at the picturesque Barber Motorsports Park just outside Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, April 30