Team Penske IndyCar Series Race Report

March 10, 2019

Track:                  Streets of St. Petersburg
Race:                   Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Date:                   March 10, 2019

No. 2 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 2nd
Finish: 1st (11th-career IndyCar Series victory)
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 110/110
Laps Led: 60
Points Position: 1st (+13 pts)


  • Josef Newgarden started off his 2019 season in the best way possible, leading a race-high 60 of 110 laps and capturing his first career victory on the Streets of St. Petersburg in Sunday's Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the opener for the 2019 IndyCar Series.
  • Newgarden started the event in the second position, but fell to third early on after a slow start on scuffed alternate Firestone tires.
  • By lap 17, race strategist Tim Cindric called the Tennessean to pit lane for a switch to fresh primary tires and fuel as Newgarden tried to maintain his position at the front of the field.
  • Newgarden was able to stay up front but the No. 2 Hitachi Chevy was equipped with new alternate compound tires and fuel on the next stop and he took over the race lead on lap 56.
  • As Newgarden continued to lead, the team made one final pit stop as the Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet took new primary tires and fuel.
  • Newgarden beat defending series champ Scott Dixon and teammate Will Power to the checkered flag as he claimed his first win of the 2019 season.
  • The team's next race will be the Circuit of the Americas which will be the first time the series has ever competed there.


"We were literally talking about (tires) right before the race. We were trying to figure out should we go used or new reds and we made the call at the last minute was to stay used. We'll have that advantage if we need it, and we used it. It just worked out perfectly. I just can't thank Chevy enough for all their support and what they put in this weekend. We had an incredible engine, we had everything we needed in fuel mileage and reliability and all the power. I'm telling you, we really figured things out on Saturday and (the car) was a rocket ship. I'm so thankful to our group. We have the best of the best working at Team Penske."

No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 1st
Finish: 3rd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 110/110
Laps Led: 17
Points Position: 3rd (-16 pts)


  • Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet team got their 2019 season off to a much better start than last season's opening race, as they started on the pole and led 17 laps before finishing third in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
  • Power jumped out to the lead on lap one after earning his 55th-career pole (and eighth at St. Pete) on Saturday afternoon in qualifying. Power paced the first 12 laps until race strategist Roger Penske called him to pit lane for his first stop of the day when it appeared a full course caution was coming.
  • The caution never materialized, but Power continued to pit early in each cycle for the remainder of the afternoon.
  • Power took the green flag race restart at the front of the field on lap 19, but he lost the top spot following a daring pass going into turn one by Felix Rosenqvist.
  • Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet showed the pace that was lacking at times last year on street courses, and the car seemed especially fast while running on Firestone primary tires.
  • Power maintained his position in the top three throughout the afternoon and he came home third for his fifth-career podium on the Streets of St. Petersburg course. 


"Yeah, it was definitely a lot better points day than I've had in the past two years (in the season opener) so I'm really happy about that. We put ourselves in a tough position pitting early there. We had no defense. And really, me losing that position on the restart, I was stuck. I couldn't pull the gap to negate the cold tire penalty because I was pitting early. I just kind of did my best to maintain a third place finish. That was as much as we could do in that situation. We got more points than in the last two years, so we're in the game. NASCAR and now IndyCar shows how strong the team is, and Chevrolet. They've done a great job with the engines. When I think about it, we've done a lot of work for street courses in the off-season and that's paid off."

No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 13th
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 110/110
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 7th (-27 pts)


  • Despite having to start deep in the field for Sunday's IndyCar Series season opener on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet team fought hard all day and improved from 13th to seventh as the checkered flag waved on the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
  • Pagenaud ran into problems during qualifying on Saturday afternoon as his session was plagued by red flags and the French driver was never able to turn a lap at full speed, which relegated him to a 13th-place starting position. 
  • As the race began, Pagenaud was able to improve to the 11th position before the first round of pit stops. 
  • Great work on pit lane by the Menards crew and solid calls by race strategist Kyle Moyer allowed Pagenaud to continue to push his way through the field as he improved to the eighth position by the midpoint of the race.
  • While the field ran under green flag conditions through most of the the second half of the race, Pagenaud continued to push and picked up an additional position to finish the event in seventh place.


"I had a fantastic time out there – the Menards Chevy was phenomenal today. It was really unfortunate we didn't have an opportunity to put a lap down in qualifying yesterday, which put us way back on the starting grid. Being able to come up through the field with this high level of competition was pretty amazing. The No. 22 crew was on it today making great calls and executing fast pit stops. We're off to a great start for 2019."