TRACK - PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
RACE - BITNILE.COM GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND
DATE - SEPTEMBER 3, 2023
NO. 2 HITACHI DALLARA/CHEVROLET
START - 12TH
FINISH - 5TH
POINTS - 3RD (-148)
RACE RUNDOWN: Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet team rallied from a Saturday afternoon qualifying incident to score a fifth-place finish in Sunday's BITNILE.com Grand Prix of Portland. Starting from the 12th position, Newgarden used a fast Chevrolet to move up through the field before making his first pit stop on Lap 31, despite having to make a trip down the escape route early in the event to avoid a potential incident. He cycled to the sixth position after the stop and moved into the top five shortly thereafter. The two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion would maintain his track position for the remainder of the 110-lap event. The fifth-place finish ends a streak of consecutive 25th-place results and gives Newgarden eight top-five finishes on the year. With four wins on the season, the 2023 Indianapolis 500 winner has a chance to tie his career high of five wins, set in 2022, in the season finale next weekend at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca.
NEWGARDEN'S THOUGHTS: "It was a tough day. I put us in a hole yesterday with my mistake in qualifying, and our car was clearly a lot quicker than starting 12th. So, you know, I think at the start here, too, we definitely went even further back. This first time I've felt like I was kind of getting into a wreck, so I just kind of bailed out. And then yeah, just took the escape road and probably didn't even need to. I just felt like I was about to get into one which is very possible here in Portland. So, we fought back as a team; this Hitachi Chevy crew did an amazing job. Just so proud of the team, they were unbelievable in the pits, made the right calls all day and had a super fast car. So, I you know, I'm just very thankful to the team for all their hard work and effort. And I think most importantly, today, just want to congratulate Alex and his team, very deserving champions."
NO. 3 FREIGHTLINER DALLARA/CHEVROLET
START - 2ND
FINISH - 9TH
POINTS - 5TH (-170)
RACE RUNDOWN: Scott McLaughlin and the No. 3 Freightliner Chevrolet team scored a ninth-place finish in Sunday's BITNILE.com Grand Prix of Portland, their 10th consecutive top-10 finish dating back to the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in early June. After qualifying in the second position, McLaughlin looked to be in prime position to challenge for the win on a track where passing is at a premium. The team elected to start on the Firestone red "alternate" tires and, as a result, forced them to call McLaughlin to pit road sooner than those that started on the primary tires after those on the No. 3 machine began to wear away. The early pit stop resulted in the loss of several positions on the pit cycle and coupled with a lack of early caution flags made it difficult to regain the lost spots. Through quick pit work by the Freightliner crew on the second and third pit stops of the day, McLaughlin was able to cycle as high as seventh in the running order before taking the checkered flag in the ninth position.
MCLAUGHLIN'S THOUGHTS: "An unfortunate day for the Freightliner Chevy today at Portland. I thought we were very quick today, but, in hindsight, we just started on the wrong tire. The primaries were the preferred tire with the red alternates really falling off over a stint. Once we had to pit earlier for tires and got overcut by the drivers that started on the primaries, you find yourself stuck in the back and your day is pretty much done. Those that started with the black tires really moved forward. It's still another top 10 for this team. We'll keep pushing forward and finish strong next weekend at Laguna Seca."
NO. 12 VERIZON 5G DALLARA/CHEVROLET
START - 7TH
FINISH - 25TH
POINTS - 7TH (-225)
RACE RUNDOWN: Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet team scored an uncharacteristic 25th-place finish in Sunday's BITNILE.com Grand Prix of Portland after an early incident dropped the two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion to the rear of the field. Power started the 110-lap race from the seventh position, just missing out on a spot in the Firestone Fast Six and a chance at another NTT P1 Award during the Saturday afternoon time trials. After a clean start to the race - particularly into the tricky first turn at Portland International Raceway - Power spun in turn four on the third lap while trying to keep the No. 7 of Alexander Rossi behind him. He was forced down pit road for fresh Firestone tires, losing a lap in the process. Power restarted in the 26th position but was unable to regain his lost lap with no caution flags until much later in the event. The 25th-place finish ended a streak of five consecutive top-10 finishes for the Verizon 5G crew.
POWER'S THOUGHTS: "Just a rough day for the Verizon 5G Chevy. I'm pretty disappointed in myself for making that mistake. I was just trying to keep (Alexander) Rossi behind me because he was on reds, and I expected them to fall off quickly. Just unacceptable because if we have a normal race we are likely fighting for a podium or top-five finish. Just have to try and move on and get a win at Laguna to finish the season."
WHAT'S NEXT: The final race of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season takes place next Sunday, September 10 at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca on California's Monterey Peninsula.