Team Penske IndyCar Series Race Report - Indianapolis 500

May 26, 2019

Track:                  Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Race:                   103rd Indianapolis 500
Date:                   May 24, 2019
No. 2 Shell V-Power Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Start: 8th
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 21
Points Position: 2nd (-1 pts)
  • Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 Shell V-Power Dallara/Chevrolet looked to have a car that was competitive enough to win his first Indianapolis 500, but several late-race battles kept the Tennessee driver from making a proper push to the end and ending up with a fourth-place finish.
  • After starting the race from the eighth position, Newgarden actually fell to sixth early on.  But early, smart pit calls by race strategist Tim Cindric allowed Newgarden to come out of the first round of green flag stops in the fourth position. 
  • All day long, the No. 2 Shell V-Power team made huge adjustments on the front wing to improve the handling of his car.   The adjustments worked, and Newgarden found himself a constant threat inside the top-five.
  • Newgarden took the lead for the first time, passing teammate Simon Pagenaud on lap 151.  It was the first of 21 circuits he would lead on the afternoon. 
  • A late-race multi-car accident and red flag situation set up a 13-lap shootout to the end.  With Newgarden restarting the race from the fourth position, he made a pass on Ed Carpenter to get to third and tried to chase down race leaders Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi.
  • Unfortunately, Newgarden lost ground to the front runners after getting passed by Takuma Sato with just seven laps to go.  The dirty air forced Newgarden to settle for fourth as the checkers waved.  The finish dropped Newgarden to second in points, although he sits just one point behind Pagenaud. 
Quote:  "We just fell short. It hurts a lot to be in positions and then fell out of position when (Takuma) Sato got by me. Then it was really tough to do anything. Certainly you needed to be those top two guys; that's kind of blocking everything out. I tried to make up ground on the (final) restart. I got by (Ed) Carpenter and got into third but I just couldn't quite get (Alexander) Rossi, and that's what I think we needed to be in the fight at the end. We were close, we just fell short. The Shell V-Power car was fast all day, Chevrolet gave us what we needed. It's a Team Penske victory. One of us wining is what ‘The Captain' wants. They do such a great job that it's great to reward the whole group with a victory. Congrats to Simon. Still not a bad day but it hurts a bit.
No. 3 Pennzoil Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves
Start: 12th
Finish: 18th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 199/200
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: N/A
  • While looking for his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory, Helio Castroneves and the No. 3 Pennzoil Dallara/Chevrolet team succumbed to an early pit road penalty and fought all day to try and get back on the lead lap, but eventually came home 18th in the 103rd running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
  • Castroneves took the green from the 12th position and found himself 10th as the first caution flag of the day flew at lap six.  Castroneves was faster than the leaders while being mired in traffic, and came in for another stop, along with a front wing adjustment on lap 37.  During the run down pit road however, the No. 33 of James Davison abruptly stopped in front of Castroneves, forcing the Brazilian to hit him from behind.
  • The team had to change front wings and serve a pass through penalty, trapping them a lap down.
  • The rest of the afternoon saw the No. 3 Pennzoil Chevy try and make their way back onto the lead lap.  Unfortunately, the team never got the proper opportunity to take the wave around and the three-time Indy 500 winner didn't get the opportunity to race for the win with a fast car.
  • Despite running as far back as 28th, Castroneves was able to race his way back to 18th at the finish, coming home one lap off the pace.
Quote:  "I'm not sure what the 33 (James Davison, on pit lane incident) was doing om the fast lane. He was really slow. I didn't know if I could go around him; I didn't know if I would be penalized or not. He was looking for his pit. I saw his pit. Finally, I decided to stay away because he's not coming in. I saw he was going to miss it and all of a sudden he just stopped. It damaged not only the front wing but the steering rack as well. It was frustrating because we had a phenomenal setup. The No. 3 Pennzoil Chevrolet was really strong. However, the good news is the team captured the win and Simon deserved it."
No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Start: 6th
Finish: 5th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 7
Points Position: 6th (-66 pts)
  • Will Power had a car capable of winning Sunday's 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, but fell victim to a mid-race pit road penalty that forced him to race from behind all day.  Thankfully, the defending Indy 500 winner was able to come from the back of the field to finish fifth.
  • Power qualified sixth and quickly took his Verizon 5G Chevrolet toward the front, gaining three positions on the first lap alone.  He eventually made it up to second during the first two rounds of pit stops.
  • Unfortunately for Power and the Verizon 5G team, the afternoon went from good to bad when the team was penalized for "hitting a crewmember" during a pit stop.  The penalty sent Power to the tail of the line, forcing him to restart in the 21st position.
  • The remaining 125 laps saw Power drive back toward the front of the field.  He was able to break back into the top-15 by lap 150 and into the top-10 by laps 175. 
  • Over the final 25 laps, he put himself in a position to finish inside the top-five, coming home in the fifth position when the checkers waved.
  • With the finish, Power remained sixth in the IndyCar Series point standings, 66 behind leader, teammate and Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud. 
Quote:  "I was really frustrated with the penalty we got early.  That ruined my day for no reason, because I didn't even hit a guy.  We were really good. We were in that group in the end. But it was a great battle at the front there, watching those guys go at it. Simon deserved it. He was better than everyone else."
No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Start: 1st (12th-career INDYCAR pole)
Finish: 1st  (13th-career INDYCAR win)
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 116
Points Position: 1st (+1 pts)
  • Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet earned Roger Penske his 18th Borg Warner Trophy on Sunday afternoon, winning the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a stirring late-race battle with Alexander Rossi. 
  • Pagenaud started the event from the pole - the 18th pole for Team Penske in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing - and led the first 32 laps as the field got single file and he hit pit road for the first time. He radioed of just a bit of understeer during the first stint.
  • The French driver regained the top spot on lap 42 after the first round of pit stops cycled through. Race strategist Kyle Moyer coached Pagenaud on saving fuel while maintaining a comfortable gap on second-place and teammate Will Power. The team made a slight front wing adjustment on the second stop of the day. Eventually, Pagenaud cycled back to the lead as the second caution of the day flew around lap 72. He came back to the pits, once again giving up the lead, on lap 99 while making another front wing adjustment.
  • The Menards Chevrolet continued to burn a little more fuel while running in the lead, forcing Pagenaud and Moyer to continually communicate the best way to effectively save fuel and also keep the top spot.  During a number of green flag pit stops, Pagenaud continually cycled back to the lead, but had to continue to save fuel while his closest competitors were able to run harder. A caution with just over 50 laps to go finally allowed the team to save some fuel.
  • Pagenaud lost the lead via an on track pass for the first time on lap 151. But running second behind teammate Josef Newgarden allowed Pagenaud to save more fuel. He made his final pit stop with 30 laps to go.
  • Fortunately, two late caution flags, including a 20-minute red flag for a multi-car accident, finally allowed Pagenaud to be good on fuel, setting up a shootout with 13 laps to go.
  • The final stint produced a stirring battle as Pagenaud and Rossi swapped the lead four times.  In the end, Pagenaud made the winning pass going into turn three while coming to the white flag.  He was able to hold on and collect the victory, his first in the Indianapolis 500.
  • Celebrating 50 years at the track, the win was also the 18th Indianapolis 500 for Team Penske, and the first back-to-back triumph for the team since 2001 and 2002.
Quote:  "It's amazing. It's another dream come true, and the biggest dream of my life come true. It's hard to fathom really. It's really hard to process it right now, but I'm just filled with a lot of joy. I drove really spirited today, but it's just incredible. I can't take all the credit because I think I definitely -- and I think it showed I had the best car out there. What a day. Wow, incredible. Well, I want many Indy 500s and more championships. You know, my goal, I'm already leading the championship this year, so it's fantastic. I told Ben Bretzman before the month, knowing our momentum, I said, we can win the next two and be in the championship, and it happened."