Team Penske IndyCar Series Race Report - Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 1

June 1, 2019

Track:                  The Raceway at Belle Isle Park
Race:                   Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix
Date:                   June 1, 2019
No. 2 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start: 2nd
Finish: 1st (12th-career IndyCar Series victory)
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 43/43
Laps Led: 25
Points Position: 1st (+25 pts)

  • Josef Newgarden used perfect pit strategy during a wet race on Saturday afternoon to pick up the victory in the first race of a double-header weekend at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park.
  • The race started under wet conditions as an afternoon thunderstorm delayed the start by over an hour. As Newgarden took the green from second, rain was still falling on the track. The slick track saw Newgarden fall two spots as the opening laps were plagued by cautions.
  • The No.2 Hitachi Chevrolet jumped back to third and ran there until the first stop on lap 17 when race strategist Tim Cindric called Newgarden to the pits to swap from wet to dry Firestones. Fortunately, as Newgarden came to the pits, the caution came out for a stopped car on the track.
  • With Newgarden getting to the pits before the caution came out, he cycled to the lead as the rest of the leaders pitted during the caution flag. Coming into the pits a little earlier than the rest of the field, Newgarden then had to worry about saving fuel to make it to the end of the shortened 75-min race.  Thankfully, several mid-race cautions allowed for Newgarden to save enough fuel to be able to run full speed to the finish.
  • Newgarden led to the finish, holding off Alexander Rossi to collect his second victory of the season and his first at Detroit.  With the win, Newgarden regained the top spot in the point standings over teammate Simon Pagenaud by 25 points.

Quote"How about that call by Tim (Cindric)? It was the perfect call to get us in position that we needed. I was hoping it would dry up, I thought that would give us more opportunity to do something. But our Hitachi Chevy car was awesome. The Chevy engine was perfect. I had the horsepower I needed. The fuel mileage; the drive-ability. In Chevy's backyard, this was a big one.  It's great to have Hitachi with us. So many people here from Japan. It is an honor to have them here. So pumped to have them here.  So pumped to be with Team Penske. We really wanted this one. I can't tell you how hard our whole team worked the whole off season to make sure our street course cars were ready, and they were ready today."
No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 12th
Finish: 18th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 43/43
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 6th (-107 pts)

  • Will Power sliced his way through the field in Saturday's rain-soaked Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, but fell victim to a mishap that saw his right front tire come off following the only pit stop of the day, relegating him to a 18th-place finish at Belle Isle.
  • Power struggled in qualifying during the lone morning session and started from 12th.  However, it didn't take the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet long to slice his way through the field on the wet track.  Power drove all the way from 12th to the top five in the third of the race by turning lap times faster than that of the race leader.
  • Unfortunately for Power, there was miscommunication on his first pit stop of the day at lap 19 that cost the driver as shot at challenging for the win as he pulled out of his pit stall before the right-front wheel nut was secured. As a result, Power lost the right-front wheel while nearing the exit of pit road.
  • To compound the situation, Power was forced to serve a pass-through penalty for a pit road equipment violation that effectively ended his day, as he was unable to make his way back through the field, finishing 18th.
  • Power remains in the sixth position in the IndyCar Series driver standings, 107 points behind leader Josef Newgarden with the second race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix still to go tomorrow at 3:00 pm.

Quote"We just have to rebound tomorrow. Simply put, we just have to go out there and execute in every way. We've made a lot of little mistakes this year, some with strategy and some on me making a mistake on me or in qualifying; we just need to do a better job and we have an opportunity to do that tomorrow. It just seems like one of those seasons where things don't go your way, but I've had it the other way before too. We have really fast Verizon Chevys so I know it can turn around quickly."
No. 22 DXC Technology Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 13th
Finish: 6th  
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 43/43
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 2nd (-25 pts)

  • Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 DXC Chevrolet once again used strong driving during a wet race and a fast Chevrolet to improve seven positions and collect a sixth-place finish in Saturday's first race of a double-header weekend at the Chevrolet Duel at Detroit at Belle Isle.
  • Pagenaud started the event in the 13th position, but much like the INDYCAR GP of a couple of weeks ago, he used masterful driving in the rain to quickly make his way through the field. By lap 10, Pagenaud was already up to ninth and just two laps later, found himself in the seventh position.
  • As some of the leaders began to pit as the track dried, Pagenaud stayed out and caught a caution flag at lap 18.  One lap later, race strategist Kyle Moyer called the Indianapolis 500 winner to the pits to swap from rain to dry tires.  The change of Firestone rubber did nothing to slow the car and Pagenaud continued to show speed in his DXC Chevrolet.
  • The rest of the race was run mostly single-file, as the Belle Isle course dried in a one-groove track, limiting passing opportunities. 
  • As the 75-minute timed race came to an end, Pagenaud found himself coming home in the sixth position.  The finish dropped him to second in the point standings, but just 25 points behind leader and teammate Josef Newgarden. 

Quote"My race was awesome. That was some of the most fun I've had in a race, well, I had fun last week and in the Indy GP too. I guess when you have fun you go fast. We had a tremendous DXC Technology Chevrolet. It was phenomenal. I had fun in the rain, that's my favorite. We passed a bunch of cars. In the dry conditions we were super fast but the track was so damp on the inside I couldn't make moves without risking to go off. Quite frankly, I did start thinking about the championship today and with how tired I was this morning I was very content with sixth-place because I think that will go a long way at the end of the year. We should be pleased with today. Very happy for Josef and Team Penske, at least we got one win for Roger here this weekend."