No.1 Team Earns INDYCAR Pit Performance Award

November 9, 2020

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The No. 1 Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet team was hoping the 2020 season would conclude by claiming their second consecutive 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship. Despite doing everything they could during the final race weekend of the year on the Streets of St. Petersburg, including winning the action-packed race with driver Josef Newgarden at the wheel, the No. 1 Hitachi Chevy team wound up second in the final series standings. The team did secure a prestigious honor, however, claiming the 2020 Firestone Pit Stop Performance Championship as the No. 1 crew proved that they were consistently the top team on pit lane over the course of the season. 

Since 2014, Firestone has recognized the INDYCAR pit crew that spends the least amount of time in the pits while completing at least 95% of their car's scheduled laps each race weekend. The winning team is presented with a $10,000 prize by Firestone after each race. In 2020, the Official Tire Partner of the series wanted to enhance the honor for the top crew. This season, Firestone recognized season-long consistency on pit lane for the INDYCAR teams, creating an accumulative season-long point system to determine an eventual champion.

The top three teams with the most cumulative Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award points during the 2020 season split a $150,000 purse. The No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet team won the overall title and earned a $75,000 prize. The No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing team, which won the series championship with driver Scott Dixon, finished second while the No. 88 Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport crew with driver Colton Herta finished third. 


The performance of the No. 1 crew was especially significant during a challenging season that saw many adjustments and realignments of the racing scehdule as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some races were canceled and the series rescheduled several events as doubleheader weekends, the consistent work of the No.1 Team Penske crew on pit lane remained a reliable force in 2020.

The Pit Performance Award recognized the team's efforts over the course of the season, but several races stood out as select events where the No. 1 crew demonstrated its athleticism, timing and, of course, speed. 

In the first race of the season that was delayed by the pandemic, the team first produced dominant pit stops at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6. During one of the fastest stops of the race, the team jumped ahead of three cars during its fourth pit cycle. The No. 1 crew continued to deliver for Newgarden gaining positions on their other stops as well. The No. 1 Chevy completed the race in third place, marking the team's first podium finish of the season.

Delivering in the biggest race of the year also showed the strength of the No. 1 team. The Indianapolis 500 was delayed until August instead of its traditional May weekend, but the No. 1 crew still saved its best stops for the Brickyard. The team gained track position on nearly every visit to pit lane due to fast stops. The performances in both superspeedway races (Indianapolis and Texas) demonstrated the team's consistency over long races while delivering prompt pit service. After starting the Indy 500 in the 13th position, Newgarden and the No. 1 Chevy concluded the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in fifth place.

Entering the season finale with the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship on the line, the team knew every pit stop had to be flawless to give themselves a chance to win the title at St. Petersburg on October 25. Continuing its season-long consistency, the No. 1 Chevy team delivered fast stops that helped Newgarden win the 100-lap street fight. The fourth win of the season for the team almost delivered a remarkable championship comeback, but Dixon and the No. 9 were crowned season champs after finishing third in the race.

With victories at Iowa (Race 2), Gateway (Race 2), the Harvest Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Race 1) and at St. Petersburg, the No. 1 team tied for the most wins on the year. The team also won three poles, garnered six podium finishes, nine top-five results and finished inside the top 10 a total of 12 times in 14 races.

Crew members for the award-winning No. 1 team include Gavin Ward (Engineer), Travis Law (Crew Chief/Inside Front), Kyle LaPier (Inside Front), Keenan Watson (Outside Rear), Adam Fournier (Inside Rear), Gary Yingst (Airjack), Patrick Stewart (Fueler), Will Schneider (Tearoff) and Bob Jeffery (Spotter).

During the INDYCAR offseason, the No. 1 team will look back on areas where the they can be even faster and more productive as they aim to win back the overall title and secure the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship while defending their Firestone Pit Stop Performance title next season.


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