Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report - Detroit (Race 1)
June 12, 2021
Track: Streets of Belle Isle
Race: Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix
Date: June 12, 2021
No. 2 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Laps Completed: 70/70
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 6th (-59 pts)
- Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet team overcame a costly pit road mistake that nearly derailed their race in the first of two NTT INDYCAR SERIES contests that make up the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix before ultimately scoring a 10th-place finish.
- One of the most-recent winners on the streets of Belle Isle in 2019, after the 2020 slate of races was canceled, Newgarden showed consistent speed in practice before qualifying in the fifth position earlier in the day.
- After pitting for the first time on the day on the fourth lap, Newgarden slowed on track after feeling a loose wheel. He immediately made the decision to come to pit road, but before he could make it safely the loose wheel came off the No. 2 Chevrolet.
- The incident dropped Newgarden one lap down to the leaders, but he methodically worked his way through the field, utilizing a fast Chevrolet and great pit strategy by Tim Cindric. The two-time series champion looked to be in position for a top-five finish after a restart with three laps remaining, but Newgarden was boxed in amongst heavy traffic and crossed the finish line in the 10th position.
Quote: "I'm really proud of the way we fought our way back for a top-10 finish. I felt like the No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet was a winning car, and I believe we had the fastest lap. We just had one mistake early on in the race and got caught a lap down. Luckily, we caught a yellow around Lap 20 that helped us get our lap back, and from there we just recovered as best we could. All in all I'm pretty pleased. Obviously, we want to come back tomorrow and be better. We have the car to do it and the team to do it."
No. 3 PPG Dallara/Chevrolet – Scott McLaughlin
Laps Completed: 67/70
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 11th (-109 pts)
- Scott McLaughlin and the No. 3 PPG Chevrolet team had an uncharacteristic day on Saturday afternoon in the first race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader weekend for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, finishing 19th.
- The three-time Australian Supercars Series champion qualified in the 23rd position on Saturday morning after missing most of the practice session on Friday following an incident early in the session. The strategy for the No. 3 Chevrolet team was for a three-pit stop race, which brought McLaughlin onto pit road on the third lap. A slightly slow pit stop dropped him back to the end of the lead lap.
- Good fortune fell the way of the PPG team on Lap 25 when a caution flag was displayed during a pit cycle, followed by a one hour and 20-minute red flag for track repair. When the race resumed, McLaughlin cycled to the 10th position when those around him had to pit for routine service.
- More bad luck visited the PPG team when McLaughlin made slight contact with the outside wall on Lap 51, damaging the left-rear toe link on the No. 2 Chevrolet, forcing another trip to pit road for repairs. McLaughlin would lose three laps to the leaders during this visit to pit road before returning to the track to finish in the 19th position.
Quote: "My first race at Detroit started off a bit on the back foot from the incident in practice yesterday. As a result, we qualified back in the pack, but we were having a strong race with the PPG Chevrolet. We looked like we would end up somewhere around 10th after the final stop, but I just made a mistake, hit the wall, and broke the toe link. That was pretty much the end of our day, but I learned a lot for tomorrow. This was one of the hottest races I've had in a while; very taxing physically and mentally."
No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Laps Completed: 67/70
Laps Led: 37
Points Position: 12th (-122)
- Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet started the first of two races of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle from the seventh position and was a top contender all afternoon. An unfortunate ECU problem under a late-race red flag ultimately ended his chances of winning.
- Starting seventh, Power quickly advanced his Verizon 5G Chevrolet the second position by lap seven and would take the lead on lap eight. Power continued leading until lap 12 where he settled into the second position and concentrated on saving his tires for a two-pit stop strategy.
- After pitting at lap 21 for four tires and fuel, Power cycled through to the 10th position. The caution flag waived on lap 25 for a single car wreck that damaged the barrier of the track. This turned into a red flag that froze the field for over an hour.
- When the red flag was lifted, the No. 12 Verizon 5G car cycled through to the front of the pack on lap 32. Power briefly lost the lead when he pitted at lap 48 but regained it on lap 54.
- An untimely caution with six-laps remaining forced another red flag situation for the driver of the Verizon 5G Chevrolet. After leading over half of the scheduled 70 laps, Power was unable to get the engine started on the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet when the red flag was lifted, resulting in a disappointing 20th-place finish at Belle Isle.
Quote: "It was very disappointing in how the race ended for us. Everyone on the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevy team worked incredibly hard to put ourselves in position to get a win that we desperately needed. There are definitely things that can be looked at when there is a red flag that late in the race. It's something that we have to put behind us, though, because we have another race tomorrow and we have shown we have a car that can win."
No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Laps Completed: 70/70
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 5th (-44)
- Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet team got caught in a jumble of cars battling for position late in the race and was unfortunately shuffled out of a top-10 finish in the first race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.
- The Frenchman began in his day in the ninth position and advanced his Menards Chevrolet up four positions to fifth by lap seven.
- Pagenaud and the No. 22 team were working off the two-pit stop strategy as they made their first stop at lap 22 for four tires and fuel. After cycling through to the 13th position, the caution flag would fly on lap 25 for a vicious wreck that brought out over an hour-long red flag period.
- Restarting fourth after the red flag was lifted, the No. 22 machine lost two positions by lap 36 but gained one back by lap 47. Simon and the No. 22 team elected to pit for the final time at lap 48 for four tires and fuel.
- While running sixth with six laps remaining, the caution flag – followed by a red flag – would drape over the 2.35-mile Belle Isle street course yet again.
- With three laps remaining, Pagenaud was shuffled back due to some aggressive and hard racing by his competitors. The No. 22 Menards Chevrolet would cross the finish line in the 12th position.
Quote: "Despite the hot and humid conditions today I'm proud of everyone on the No. 22 Menards Chevy team. We were right there in the end to get a really good finish, but there was some very aggressive racing over the final laps that put us back a few positions. I was trying to be aggressive too but we just got pinned in and couldn't make the necessary moves. We executed well today and that gives us confidence for tomorrow."
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