Team Penske eSports INDYCAR iRacing Challenge Race Report
Track: Virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Race: First Responder 175 presented by GMR
Date: May 2, 2020
No. 1 Shell V-Power Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Laps Completed: 68/70
- Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Shell V-Power Dallara/Chevrolet started their day strong but was involved in a multi-car incident late in the First Responder 175 presented by GMR at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The incident dropped Newgarden to 22nd in the final rundown after starting from 11th position.
- Newgarden made his first scheduled pit stop of the day on lap 35. A caution on lap 53 put him in position to get his first win at the virtual Brickyard.
- But the defending NTT IndyCar Series champion would be caught up in a big wreck late in the 70-lap event, shuffling Newgarden back to a 22nd-place finish in the sixth and final race of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.
“I thought we were in a really good spot with our Shell V-Power Chevy late, but I got caught up in a big crash that ended our chance to win. The INDYCAR Challenge has been a lot fun to be a part of, but I’m excited to get back to the track soon.”
No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Laps Completed: 69/70
- Will Power scored a 14th-place finish in Saturday’s iRacing event at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Power led laps and ran at the front of the field, but a late-race caution left the 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner with a 14th-place finish in the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet.
- Power started seventh and took the lead on lap 14 and controlled the race for next 20 laps before pitting on lap 33. He took the lead again once the green flag cycle of pit stops was complete and led until making his second stop on lap 44.
- Shortly after Power pitted, an untimely caution slowed the race and trapped Power outside the top-15. He was making his way back through the field but was involved in an accident in the closing laps and was credited with a 14th-place finish.
“That wasn’t the finish we were looking for, but man, I had so much fun with the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. Sometimes it was so fun but sometimes it was frustrating. You’d do so well only to have a guy come out of nowhere and ruin your day. But I think in the end, a lot of the drivers got to bond in a new way. The nicest words weren’t always exchanged but we did learn a lot from each other. It was also really cool to see Scotty [McLaughlin] get that win today. The finish was crazy. My Verizon Chevy team and I learned a lot we can apply to our race car when we go back to racing. I can’t wait to get back to a track.”
No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Laps Completed: 66/70
- Simon Pagenaud’s chances to win at virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway were derailed when he was involved in an on-track incident just eight laps from the finish on Saturday afternoon.
- The 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner was chasing his second consecutive victory on an oval but instead was credited with a 25th-place finish in his No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet.
- Pagenaud started in 10th position and worked his way up to sixth by lap 25. He was second by lap 35 and made his only pit stop of the day on lap 44.
- The Frenchman was battling the Arrow McLaren SP entries for the victory in the closing laps of the race when he was sidelined by the accident, ending his chances for a victory.
“Oh boy, that was quite a finish, huh? We didn’t want to end our day like that in the Menards Chevy but that’s just the way racing goes sometimes. A big congrats to my Team Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin on his win. That was really cool to see him kind of come out of nowhere and get that win. I’ve enjoyed iRacing for a long time and I think it has helped me in my race preparation year-round. It was really fun to get to race with all of the drivers in the INDYCAR Series while we wait to go back to racing. The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge definitely had some ups and downs for my team but we learned a lot and have some new data we think can be really valuable for our race strategy. Just like everyone else, I really miss the racetrack and can’t wait to get back to racing in person soon.”
No. 40 PIRTEK Dallara – Scott McLaughlin
Laps Completed: 70/70
- Scott McLaughlin scored his second victory in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge in wild finish at virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The win by McLaughlin gave Team Penske a sweep of the three ovals on the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.
- The driver of the No. 40 PIRTEK Dallara started from the pole position but slipped back to eighth position by lap 20. He made his first pit stop on lap 35 along with teammate Josef Newgarden.
- Through the cycle of pit stops and strategy, McLaughlin would put himself in position to win the race. He was running fifth on final lap when all four drivers ahead of him crashed within sight of the checkered flag. McLaughlin steered his way through the last lap melee to the score the victory.
"I’ve been doing iRacing for a while, so I was always pretty confident. I tried to really just make the best I can of the situation. That means staying fit as well as iRacing with all these other guys. I’ve learned a lot in the PIRTEK car. I’ve learned how some people race. Some are aggressive and some aren’t. That’s what I’ve really tried to enjoy and learn. Thanks to Jay [Frye] and the people at INDYCAR for letting me be part of it. It’s been a privilege and to be able to put my name up with some of these guys is really cool. But I’ve got to be realistic that it’s a game and there’s reset buttons and I can’t do that in real life. But I really enjoyed it and we’ll see how we go. I’ve got to learn a lot. I had my first test at Texas a few months ago. That was pretty mind blowing for the speed and the speeds I’ve never been before. I can only imagine what Indianapolis is like in real life, but that dream will have to hold for a bit.”
No. 911 Pennzoil Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves
Laps Completed: 69/70
- Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves started shotgun on the field in today’s INDYCAR Challenge and brought home a 16th-place finish for the No. 911 Pennzoil Dallara/Chevrolet.
- Castroneves chances for a victory were spoiled when he was involved in an early accident, but he managed to keep his Pennzoil car clean for the remainder of the 175-mile race.
“What a race! A big congratulations to my Team Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin on another INDYCAR iRacing Challenge win. That was one heck of a finish! My race didn’t go the way I was hoping for, but it was a lot of fun. It’s always great to race at Indianapolis even if it’s in the virtual world. A lot of the drivers took this race just as seriously as racing at the real thing and man was it tricky. Definitely not the race I wanted but I’m proud of our Pennzoil Chevy team and I was glad to be part of it.”