CHEVOLET INDYCAR AT LONG BEACH: Team Chevy Practice Report – Speedway Digest

CHEVOLET INDYCAR AT LONG BEACH: Team Chevy Practice Report – Speedway Digest

Continuing the trend established in St. Petersburg, Chevrolet occupied the first three positions on the leaderboard after first NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, with six of the top-10 representing Team Chevy.
Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, led first practice with his fastest lap of 1:06.6875 seconds.  
All three Team Penske Chevrolets finished in the top-five, with Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet, finishing second, Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet, finishing third, and Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet, finishing fifth.
Christian Rasmussen, driver of the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Chevrolet, finishing his first practice session on the Streets of Long Beach 10th, with his fastest lap of 1:07.2773 seconds.
Saturday sees Team Chevy take to the track for second practice at 11:25 a.m. ET, as well as qualifying and the Firestone Fast Six at 2:25 p.m. ET for Sunday’s race on the Streets of Long Beach.


1 Pato O’Ward

2nd Power of Will

3 Scott McLaughlin

5 Joseph Newgarden

Alexander Rossi the 8th

10th Christian Rasmussen

WHAT THEY SAY (Subtitles):

Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“It was a good first session. I felt like we had good speed once, which is good for Friday. But the track will change a lot tomorrow. It will build a lot of grip, but feel in the qualifying mix, which will be important for the race. Qualifying ahead here is always I’ve got a lot of confidence in the Hitachi crew, and the Chevy team has given us something great to work with.

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“A great day for the No. 3 Odyssey Battery Chevy team. We came out of the truck really strong and that makes the whole day a lot easier. We’re in a great place for the weekend. Obviously, we showed great speed in St. Pete to start the year. Laps of the road was our main goal in the off-season so it’s good to see that work pay off. The goal is to continue to build on that, qualify well tomorrow and be at the front when necessary.”

Will Power, No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“It was a good Friday at Long Beach. Very happy with the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet. We can definitely improve in some areas, with some discretion. I think we’re right in the window. Now we have to take that foundation we had in practice and use it in qualifying because of that.” It’s been an issue. We’ve really focused on that.”

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“I think there’s been progress on the track. I think it’s a solid half-second at least. The car is in the window, and we’ve been making little changes here and there. Some things worked; some things didn’t. (We’ll talk) and see where we want to be for P2 tomorrow .”

Théo Pourchaire, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“It felt amazing. I’m really happy to be back driving. The car felt good. Pato (O’Ward) did the fastest lap. I was good on the spare tyres. Unfortunately, I didn’t complete any laps because of the traffic, so that’s OK. I’m learning. I think it’s a good chance at the end. The song is really bad, so I’m very happy.”

You mentioned on the radio that you felt your driving was getting better, the grip was getting better. Is that a big deal to you?

“Yes, of course. It is very important for me to walk behind the lap to understand everything. I also pushed the limits a bit, made one small mistake in Turn 8. It’s good to be able to feel the limits. I love the street course. I’m really enjoying it, and I feel like tomorrow will be even better, again since I’m learning fast. I am happy. The team helps me a lot. Without traffic, I think it could be a good position at the end. It doesn’t matter for now, I’m just trying to learn, but I’m very happy. You can tell by my face, I’m always smiling.

Alexander Rossi, Arrow number 7 McLaren Chevrolet:

“It’s good to be back in Long Beach. The car is in the window; I think we need to fix some things to get a little bit faster. But overall, it was a really good start, and I’m just happy to be back here. I can’t wait to get back tomorrow and see what we can do in qualifying .”

Gavin Ward, Team Principal at Arrow McLaren:

“That was a good and very productive session. It’s great to see Pato putting in a good time on the Firestone Alternate tires, but you have to take that with a grain of salt in a busy, crowded session like that. It’s still a good reference point for other people to learn from, which is always good. We’ve got some things to think about to unlock more speed from Alexander, but I think he’s in the mix. I am very impressed with Théo’s approach through the show. He just kept building on it. There are several angles where I think he will improve as we go along, but I am very encouraged by his approach. There is a lot to learn today, I told him to just enjoy it, find a rhythm and just keep building. I think he did.”

Christian Rasmussen, no. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:

“I feel good about it. The first top-10 is really good, especially at a track I haven’t been to before. I think we came out strong. I feel like I woke up faster. I relaxed faster. Thanks for all the time we’ve spent in the Chevy sim. The preparation has been good for this weekend, and I think it’s going to pay off. I think having just one weekend under my belt, a lot of firsts are out of the way. My first practice weekend, all that stuff, that kind of takes the edge off be here, love the song, and obviously we were too fast.

Romain Grosjean, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“The car felt fine (in Long Beach practice) at the beginning. We had a technical issue towards the end so we couldn’t run the green tires at the end, but I think we have a good balance to start the weekend, and I’m excited for tomorrow.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“Better, better. This track is honestly really, really hard. I remember last year the Friday session, it was really hard. I’ve been enjoying it a lot. It’s a hard track because the stops are very demanding and you have a wall in front of you, waiting for you . It’s a good track, and we were P12, honestly, and I can get two or three more. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN CHEVROLET – Press Conference First Practice Transcript:

MODERATOR: To conclude the first day, practice today. He joined Pato O’Ward, P1 in the practice session.

Pato, your thoughts on the first day today.

PATO O’WARD: A very good start for us in car 5. I wouldn’t say it’s completely different from last year. We were really strong. Every other INDYCAR weekend, you must run every single session. Every chance you have, you have to look at which way you want to go. There is a slight evolution of the song, I would say. Although the times were faster than I thought.

Q. Pato has said that he is very happy to see the start of the season that has started, Felix. Now you compete with each other, but you always had that bond. How important is it, to be able to share that relationship?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I think it’s very simple. We are always competing. I think still, if he does a good lap, I can read into him. Like, I know his strengths and weaknesses in a way.

Yes, as he did his thighs today. It’s kind of a good gauge, when I’m in another team, how you want to set up the car, things like that.

Yes, it’s straightforward: you go there, you try to beat them.

PATO O’WARD: No, I mean, what he said. I think it’s important to have competitors who respect each other. I wish I could say the same to everyone, but obviously not (smile).

Yes, he is one of the good ones.

Q. Pato, you did the fastest first session last year, this year too. Is there any style of song where you’ve found you can time out your teammates? Is there a place to attack?

PATO O’WARD: Honestly…

FELIX ROSENQVIST: Eight years. That’s the corner.

PATO O’WARD: Did you like turning eight years old? You’ve been watching the telemetry.

There was a bump there last year. You should wait after the hump, then come into power. Now that the hump is gone, it’s really fast. That’s another place where I got very little time compared to last year.

I don’t know, man. I feel like I approach every corner the same. I only ever flirt with the limit of the car. I mean, I went through it many times in practice. You should investigate. If you never get there, you leave it to qualify, there are more chances for you to squeeze your thighs. You don’t want to be doing that in qualifying.


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