Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report - Indianapolis

August 23, 2020

Track:      Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Race:       Indianapolis 500
Date:       August 23, 2020
No. 1 Shell V-Power Nitro Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Start: 13th
Finish:  5th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led:  0
Points Position:  2nd (-84)

  • Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Shell V-Power Nitro Chevrolet led the Team Penske four-car contingent on Sunday in the 104st running of the Indianapolis 500, finishing fifth in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
  • The race started off anti-climactic for Newgarden, who dropped one spot in the first 10 laps as he felt out the No. 1 Shell V-Power Nitro Chevrolet.  Newgarden came on the radio and said the pre-race adjustments were working for the car and the balance felt pretty good. The team's first stop came on lap 29 with minimal changes.  As several cars stayed on the track on an ensuing caution, Newgarden restarted 16th and fell back a couple of spots as lead lap cars diced in front of him.
  • Lack of grip on the right rear was the biggest concern for the Nashville native in the first quarter of the event. As pit stops continued, Newgarden would swing anywhere from sixth to 14th in the running order as various strategies began to play out. A great stop following a cation on lap 89 saw the team make up several positions and restart in the fifth position. Another restart shortly thereafter saw Newgarden fall back a couple of spots, but settle into the top-10.
  • For much of the second half of the race Newgarden ran inside the top 10 while trying to maintain a specific fuel setting at the direction of race strategist Tim Cindric.
  • With just over 40 to go, Newgarden drove to third before once again settling into a pace that would allow him to save fuel to make the race on one more stop.  Following the final stop of the 500-mile race, Newgarden realized he didn't have the speed of the cars in front of him and backed off to ensure he had enough fuel to make it to the end.
  • A late caution forced the race to end under the yellow flag, preserving a fifth-place finish for Newgarden – his second-straight top-five finish in the event.

Quote: "It's disappointing for sure.  Our Shell V-Power Nitro Chevrolet was fast.  It was really, really good.  We were just taking our time.  My boys in the pits were on it today.  They made us up spots on every single pit stop.  We put ourselves in position there at the end of the race, which is all you can ask for.  We actually came in with Sato on that last stop and maybe we should have went one lap longer.  But in the end, we were a little behind the eight ball on the final stint.  We were working to unhandcuff ourselves.  I'm proud of everyone though - they fought hard. I can't thank Shell and Team Chevy enough for all the support they give us.  We just didn't have what we needed.  We were in position, but couldn't capitalize to take advantage of it.  Congrats to Takuma on the win.  Just wish we were up there battling him for it."

No. 3 Pennzoil Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves
Start: 28th
Finish:  11th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Points Position:  N/A

  • It was a strong day for Helio Castroneves and the No. 3 Pennzoil Dallara/Chevrolet as they battled from a starting position of 28th to finish 11th in the 2020 Indianapolis 500.
  • In what was his 20th start in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," Castroneves began the first half of the race struggling to get through traffic and advance his track position. Like his Team Penske teammates Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, the No. 3 Pennzoil team elected to come in to the pits early and off sequence of the leaders, which allowed him to make up track position. 
  • Castroneves had strong restarts all day long and was able to make up spots on each restart, and ran as high as fourth during the off-sequence stops. 
  • However, after caution on lap 121 for Alex Palou making contact with the wall, the No. 3 team was able to pit the car twice prior to lap 141, taking advantage of the pit sequence and moving up to 14th.
  • As more on-track incidents allowed for additional pit stops and subsequent restarts, Castroneves was able to climb to 11th by lap 186 and would finish the race in that position.

Quote: "I miss this thing so much. I know I didn't finish in the top 10. One spot behind but let me tell you, what a great group of guys. They did a phenomenal job today. The No. 3 Pennzoil Chevrolet was not the strongest car out there, but we fought from 28th all the way up to 11th and we did everything we could. Obviously, we tried to take our chances with some of the yellows and it didn't work out. It was very difficult to pass however and we hung on and a top 11 was the best we could do. Again, I miss everyone. This was awesome, but now on to the next page and on to Road Atlanta."

No. 12 Verizon 5G Edge Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Start: 22nd
Finish: 14th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 2
Points Position:  9th (-160)

  • Will Power pogoed the No. 12 Verizon 5G Edge Chevrolet throughout the field on Sunday afternoon in the Indianapolis 500, starting 22nd and running as high as seventh before ultimately finishing 14th.
  • Not long after the green flag, an early caution allowed team strategist Ron Ruzewski to call Power into the pits for a slight wing adjustment and to try and get the No. 12 on a different pit strategy then the rest of the field to make up track position.  The call worked, as Power only lost one spot due to pitting. When racing returned to green, Power said the Verizon Chevrolet  was better thanks to the adjustment. Power's only complaint was the need for a tear off.
  • Power stayed out during a lap 28 caution when most of the field pitted, gaining him track position all the way to third. On the restart, he jumped to second behind teammate Simon Pagenaud, but knew he was once again off on strategy. He took the lead briefly before coming to the pits on lap 48. The early stop allowed Power and the Verizon team to be on a different strategy to try and gain track position.
  • An untimely caution just before the halfway point dropped Power and others that were on a different strategy a lap down. However Power used the wave around to get back on the lead lap. Just past halfway, Power found himself struggling with the handle of the car, but still running 14th. However, several cautions and ensuing restarts allowed Power to make up spots and run eighth with just 50 laps to go.
  • However, on the final stop of the day, Power made a mistake and slid through his box.  The extended stop lost most of the track position he gained.  However, in the final stint, he was able to make up a few spot and finish 14th.

Quote: "Obviously we made our way all the way up to eighth with really good restarts. And then I feel like I got too good of a restart, so I was almost touching Colton [Herta] in turn 4 and had to pull out to the outside. There is no draft there and about three guys blew by me and then I got pushed wide in turn one. And yeah and the bad stop didn't help us there – my bad. But I wanted to thank Verizon and Chevrolet for everything. Chevrolet gave us a great engine. My guys worked really hard all month and I just really have to thank them for everything. We're going to refocus for Gateway and work on that."

No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Start: 25th
Finish: 22nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 198/200
Laps Led: 14
Points Position: 5th (-123)

  • It was a tough day for 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet team, as an off-sequence pit strategy and front wing damage during the second half of the race led to a 22nd-place finish in the 2020 Indianapolis 500.
  • Starting in the 25th position, Pagenaud was able to work his way toward the front after a well-timed pit stop, which put him on a different strategy as the leaders, allowed him to take the lead on lap 33. He would end up leading a total of 14 laps on the day.
  • Pagenaud continued to find himself near the front and near mid-pack as he ran a different pit strategy.  It looked as it might pay off, until getting caught a lap down just past halfway.  In the second half of the race, contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay forced Pagenaud's strategist Kyle Moyer to call the Frenchman to the pits on lap 135 for a wing change due to damage that occurred from the incident.
  • Unfortunately the wing change did not improve his Chevrolet's handling as Pagenaud said the car was loose. He pitted again for fuel, tires and a front wing adjustment on lap 144 and would go two laps down.
  • As more pit stops followed, Pagenaud's Chevrolet improved and became stronger toward the end, but he could never take advantage of any cautions to make up the lost laps. He would go on to finish 22nd.

Quote: "It was a real shame to start as far back as I did. I really do think that Chevy brought an incredible race engine. It had so much power. It was so good. So I think if we started further up, we would not have lost as much time in traffic. I feel like we had one of the best cars. I didn't see [Takuma] Sato, but congratulations to him. He's an incredible driver around this place. It's fantastic. I think he's the most successful Japanese driver ever so congratulations to him and the Rahal team. We were just on the outside of Ryan Hunter-Reay and he just hit us in the front wing like we weren't there. So we had to pit for a new front wing, and it went downhill from there. At the end of the race, we were running I think is the fastest laps of the race. The car was really, really good and it would have been good for the last shootout, but it wasn't our year. We'll come back next year and we'll be strong. We have a good baseline to attack for next year and we'll come back to try and get No. 2."