Team Penske IndyCar Series Race Report - Indianapolis GP

May 11, 2019

Track:                  Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
Race:                   INDYCAR Grand Prix
Date:                   May 11, 2019

No. 2 Fitzgerald USA Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 13th
Finish: 15th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 85/85
Laps Led: 20
Points Position: 1st (+6 pts)


  • Josef Newgarden kept his points lead despite struggling through wet, rainy conditions on Saturday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course behind the wheel of the No. 2 Fitzgerald USA Chevrolet, coming home with a 15th-place finish. 
  • After qualifying an uncharacteristic 13th, Newgarden and race strategist Tim Cindric used an “off sequence” pit strategy early on to help gain the No. 2 Chevrolet track position.  It worked out, following two early caution flags in the first 20 laps, and Newgarden cycled to the lead for the first time on lap 28.  He would lead the field until coming in for another pit stop, once again off sequence than most of the front runners, at lap 40.
  • Newgarden continued to play the pit stop game and retook the lead once again on lap 52.  By this time, a light mist that had been falling most of the race turned to a harder downpour, forcing Newgarden and Cindric to make a decision on whether to take on rain tires or stick with slicks.  The duo elected to stick with red alternate tires, hoping the rain would taper off. 
  • However, a caution flag for a stalled car and increasing rain caused the track to get extensively wet and Newgarden was forced to pit again for wets.  To make matters worse, a pit road violation for a uncontrolled tire forced the points leader to have to start at the back of the field. 
  • In the final stint, Newgarden was able to drive from 19th to 15th at the checkers. The finish allowed him to keep the points lead, but by just six points over Scott Dixon.

Quote:  “I knew we were sitting pretty good. I thought we pitted at the right point. We had at a great car. I could get through traffic. Everything was clicking and we were just kind of cruising there until that final pit stop. I think what really put a knife in us was the caution that came out. When we did pit for the caution, it wasn’t time – the track wasn’t quite there. We probably needed two or three laps on the dry (tires). When I came in I was screaming to stay on red tires. I really thought (the track) wasn’t ready yet, and I didn’t want to go to rain tires, and that was probably a mistake. I should have said, ‘Go to rains.’ If we would have gone to rains we would have been in the catbird seat still coming out first. Just a calamity of errors there at the end put a couple nails in our coffin. I’m proud of our boys; I thought we did a good job. Chevy did a great job. Congrats to Simon; good to see him get a win, (and) it helps me a little bit in the championship. We kept it in the family and Team Penske got a win today.

No. 3 Pennzoil Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves

Start: 15th
Finish: 21st
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 83/85
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: N/A


  • In his return to the IndyCar Series, Helio Castroneves and the No. 3 Pennzoil Chevrolet team got in the reps they wanted on Saturday afternoon, but fell victim to a late race spin in the wet conditions and finished 21st in the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. 
  • Castroneves, who started 15th, was able to keep his nose clean in what was a crazy first lap at the track. Several other competitors suffered contact and damage during two early caution flags and the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner climbed his way up to 12th.
  • The skies began to drop more and more moisture on the track surface as sprinkles became more prevalent around lap 20. By the time the Pennzoil Chevrolet made its first stop, Castroneves was up to sixth. Unfortunately, a slow stop dropped Castroneves back to 15th and he was forced to try and claw his way back to the front. In the middle portions of the race, the Brazilian driver was dealing with a bit of oversteer issues, but still got back to ninth before his second pit stop.
  • The rain grew heavier and heavier and race strategist Roger Penske called Castroneves into the pits for wet tires at lap 57. When exiting the pits, Castroneves spun and stalled in turn two, bringing out a full course caution and losing several laps in the process.
  • Castroneves would finish the race in the 21st position, two laps down.

Quote:  “Man it was fun to get back out there in the Pennzoil Chevrolet.  Like all of our teammates, we struggled with the speed in the dry conditions, so we were hoping for some rain to see if that could jumble the strategies up.   Our Pennzoil Chevy was better for sure and we were able to avoid some trouble and make up some track position.  Unfortunately, we just had some issues coming out of the pits on the wets and stalled the car.  But we got some laps in – some reps – and we are ready for the big race in a couple of weeks.  That is what we are here for.  And congrats to Simon.  What a drive there at the end and what a win.  Great to see him back in Victory Lane.

No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 6th
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 85/85
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 6th (-63 pts)


  • Will Power returned to the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course as the defending race winner, and walked away from Saturday’s wet and soggy race with a seventh-place finish in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet.
  • Power qualified sixth on Friday afternoon, but struggled early in the race with pace on the dry track.  Multiple early-race restarts saw Power lose a few positions and he was 12th by lap 22.
  • Power had a rather uneventful race throughout the mid-stages, struggling to find the same speed as the rest of the field.  However, as a light mist that plagued the race all day turned more into a steady rain, Power found himself with an opportunity to gain track position.  Power and the No. 12 Verizon 5G team pitted for rain tires on lap 62 of the 85-lap event and was able to restart the race from the ninth position.  
  • Over the final handful of laps, with rain and spray abundant on the track, Power was able to pick up a couple of positions with some nifty “outbraking” moves on his competitors.  He crossed the finish line in the seventh position.
  • Power’s finish allowed him to move up one spot in the IndyCar Series point standings.  He now sits sixth, just 63 points behind teammate Josef Newgarden heading into the double-points Indianapolis 500 in two weeks. 

Quote:  “I don’t really know what our biggest issues were today.  The strategy calls the guys made were the right ones to get us the track position that we lost.  We were reasonable in the wet, but in the dry we just weren’t good.  Then I made a mistake.  It was just a rough day.   But great for Simon.  It’s funny that only me and Simon have won this race.  He won again.  I was stoked when I saw him win the race.  Congrats to him, he really needed that.  But it was a good day for us.  I’m really happy with seventh considering how much we struggled in the dry.

No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 8th
Finish: 1st  (12th-career INDYCAR win)
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 85/85
Laps Led: 5
Points Position: 4th (-44 pts)


  • Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet team drove a nearly flawless race in tough, rainy conditions on Saturday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and chased down leader Scott Dixon from nearly six-seconds back to take the lead with just two laps to go and win the INDYCAR Grand Prix for the third time in his career. 
  • As the race went green, Pagenaud held serve from his eighth-place starting spot while avoiding contact from several other drivers who got together in the tight turn one area.  Early in the race, light sprinkles began to fall as the threat of rain increased and Pagenaud found himself in sixth following two great restarts in the first 20 laps of the 85-lap race.
  • Pagenaud ran a near perfect first half of the race and drove all the way to third, avoiding the issues that plagued many of the other competitors. He continued to work the same pit strategy as race leader Scott Dixon all day and found himself right behind the defending series champion following his second stop.
  • The rain continued to pick up, but it didn’t slow the French driver. He hounded Dixon on the track while waiting for those ahead of him pit off sequence.
  • A yellow for the stalled car of Helio Castroneves allowed Pagenaud to take the lead as others dipped into the pits for rain tires. The Menards driver elected to stay out on slicks while the rain varied.  Unfortunately, the rain continued to pick up and the track became very wet, forcing Pagenaud down pit road during the caution, which lost all the track position he’d gained throughout the day. He fell to sixth for the restart.
  • However, Pagenaud wasted little time navigating the rain and the wet track, getting to second with just five laps to go and setting his sights on Dixon, who was in the lead by nearly seven seconds.  Pagenaud was able to turn laps one- to two-seconds faster than Dixon and caught the multi-time series champion with less than two laps to go.  Pagenaud made a daring pass in the back half of the track and took the lead coming to the white.
  • Pagenaud pulled away to earn his first victory of the season and the third at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.  It was his 12th-career IndyCar Series victory. The win vaulted the French driver to fourth in the INDYCAR point standings, just 44 points behind teammate Josef Newgarden.

Quote:  “Oh, yeah, it was. It was amazing the whole race. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ I thought everyone was saving fuel; I was just so fast. Chevy did a fantastic job giving us the horsepower. Third time – I’m equal with Will (Power). That’s awesome; we kept it in the Penske family. I can’t believe it; it’s awesome. What a race! I want to thank Team Penske, everybody who supports me, obviously. This is the sweetest win I’ve ever had, I guess. I just have to get everything right. We did that this weekend, slowly and surely. The starts just didn’t align. The performance has always been there this year. The team has been fantastic giving me what I need, so here we are.