Chevrolet IndyCar At Road America; Team Chevy Practice One Recap

Information By: JUDY KOUBA DOMINICK / CHEVROLET – ELKHART LAKE, WI – Chevrolet had five drivers involved in a back-and-forth first practice session at Road America for the XPEL Grand Prix that found the top-10 drivers in the final order only separated by five tenths of a second

· Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet, was the top Chevrolet powered driver with a lap of one minute, 43.3618 seconds around the four mile/14-turn track

· Josef Newgarden, behind the wheel of his No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet, was only two-hundredths behind Ferrucci in the final order

· Team Chevy was represented by five in the top-10 at the conclusion of first practice session, including Ferrucci; Newgarden; Will Power, No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet; Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet and Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

· Nolan Siegel will be driving the No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet this weekend at Road America

· Romain Grojean, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet, made contact with the tire barrier around turn 14 just 19 minutes into practice and was unable to return to the session

· On Saturday, Team Chevy drivers take to the track for second practice at 10:10 a.m. CT, as well as qualifying and the Firestone Fast Six at 2:25 p.m. ET for Sunday’s race at Road America

3rd Santino Ferrucci
4th Josef Newgarden
7th Will Power
8th Scott McLaughlin
9th Pato O’Ward


Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet:

“It’s been a great week. We had a good car here last year with the team. We made some adjustments to kind of find some of the areas we were missing. We’re pretty competitive. So I feel good about it.”

Sting Ray Robb, No. 41 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet:

“We’re back at The National Park of Speed which is awesome. I love this track. The facility is great, the track is amazing, usually the racing is pretty good here as well, so looking forward to that. I think we have a couple of really good race cars underneath us. I had a slight issue in our run in the Goodheart Chevrolet, but we’re going to figure it out and learn from Santino. That was very quick. P3 on the session so really excited about it. Then we have our Goodheart guests here this weekend which is fun as well.”

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

“I love coming here, especially after the repave. It’s a track that I really enjoy. However, we have some work to do after Practice 1. I don’t think we rolled off as strong this year as we did last year. We’ll be looking at what we need to improve on for tomorrow and get ready for qualifying.”

Théo Pourchaire, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“We gained a lot from that session. We kept the No. 6 onsemi Arrow McLaren Chevrolet clean, which is a positive. It was a windy day today, which made it tough to drive the car. I enjoy this track, though; it’s really nice but tough. It’s a track that suits the NTT INDYCAR SERIES perfectly. We need to find a little bit more performance, but it’s a good baseline that we can build off of.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“The No. 7 VELO Arrow McLaren Chevrolet was good today, but there are still some issues that need to be sorted out. Hopefully, we can get closer to finding those solutions tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“We’ll need to analyze everything in the car. Let’s see if we can go back out today. Should be alright. I was looking and seeing Nolan Siegel in the other car. He’ll gather information for the team. The weather tomorrow doesn’t look great. It’s not ideal, but it is what it is and we have to deal with it.

Nolan Siegel, No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“On track I think the session went really well. We had no issues going through what we wanted to get through. I made progress every outing. I was being super conservative. Getting thrown into this is not the easiest thing. It’s also not an easy track to just go out and push hard from the beginning. This track is super high commitment and super-fast, so I took my time to get up to speed. I feel it went smoothly and now we have a good base to work off.

“Now, I feel like we can get the weekend going properly. I can meet everyone as I only had like 15 minutes to get ready to do this. It’s not an easy situation but really happy to be here and excited to be working with the team.”

Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“Good start. The car was really comfy right off the bat which is nice. Team Chevy looks quick. Good engines. Feeling confident for tomorrow. Just need to see what the weather is going to do. Always love being at Road America. Great track. Excited to see what we can put together this weekend.”

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“Overall car was okay, but we didn’t hit the spot right out of the truck. I think we got into a really good spot now. It’s good to be back in the XPEL Chevy and looking forward to the XPEL Grand Prix.”

Will Power, No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“A solid start to the weekend for the No. 12 Verizon Chevy team. I love coming to Road America and it’s even better with Chevy power. It’s obviously a big circuit where horsepower is absolutely necessary, and Chevy always gives that to us. We had to battle quite a bit of wind today and there may be some weather in the forecast tomorrow, so that is something that will factor into the rest of our plan to get ready for the race.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI, NO. 14 AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET – First Practice Press Conference Transcript:

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Santino Ferrucci, driver of the No. 14 AJ Foyt Sexton Property Chevrolet.

Santino, your thoughts on a good start to the weekend for you?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Yeah, actually I love this track. Always enjoyed coming here. Been here as a spectator before, as well. Was at Siebkens last night bartending for Racing For Kids.

THE MODERATOR: Raising money.

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Yeah, raising money.

It’s been a great week. We had a good car here last year with the team. We made some adjustments to kind of find some of the areas we were missing. We’re pretty competitive. So I feel good about it.

THE MODERATOR: Sound start to the weekend. We’ll begin with questions.

Q. What has changed within the program? There is the Penske alliance. How much different does it feel this year compared to last year?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Yeah, obviously I think if you look at our results, too, we have four top 10s in six races, on all tracks now, so street, road and oval. It’s been a much easier I want to say way of rolling off of the hauler. So we unroll pretty quick.

Last year we were actually competitive here, which was nice. We were able to take some of that and mix it in with our Penske alliance. Obviously we get some dampers from them. So putting everything together, we have a pretty good car.

I actually feel very comfortable because it’s a car I’ve been on before. I’m not trying to learn something new for the first time this weekend as far as setup goes.

It’s a very similar car off of Barber, as well. We’re starting to find the sweet spot for me because I don’t drive quite like the other three drivers or like my teammate. It’s been a bit of a learning curve.

It’s nice to be quick off the trailer (smiling).

Q. You referenced you’re ahead of a couple of your teammates which insinuates the Penske bit. What does it mean for you confidence-wise, even with the alliance, it’s your team that’s ahead of the Penskes with the same dampers?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Yeah, no, they’re not quite the same. They’re close. But with their help, we’ve been able to do as well as them. It’s very hard to beat a team like Penske. I mean, they won quite a few races already this year. So to be just as quick as them or even for this reference quicker, it feels really good for how small our team is.

Still part of that speed is due to James Schnabel, who is a Penske employee, my race engineer, and them helping us out. It’s pretty cool, so…

Q. Obviously a lot less tension today versus last week. Alex called this a proper racetrack. Are you echoing those comments right now?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Depends on your definition of a ‘proper racetrack’. No street course in my mind is a proper race course. They’re all very unique, very different. I would say Detroit has definitely had its challenges.

I love street racing, I really do. It was a very tough weekend for not just us but for INDYCAR at Detroit, starting to understand how it works for us. We had a lot of cautions.

This is what you would consider as a permanent track. One of the greatest tracks, in my opinion, across the globe, not just in the series. This is probably one of the coolest.

Also it’s a true racetrack, in my opinion. What I mean by that, it’s not a paved parking lot that you see a lot of the other series that’s (indiscernible). You make a mistake here, you go off and there’s something to hit. It’s high stakes, high reward. The carrousel has to be one of the coolest corners in motorsports.

Q. Any fence mending in the last week? You were a little bit upset at some other guys… How does that work over the last week and today?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Me and Helio had a great chat on of the grid with helmets on and with helmets off, walking down the grid. I have a ton of respect for him, a ton of respect for Meyer Shank.

I feel horrible about what happened with those guys. Obviously moving forward, I just want to be true to myself and who I am. I think that’s important for my moral values and for my team.

This is a new week, man. We’re going to treat it as is. We’ve been fighting for top 10s now. I’d like to be fighting for a win.

Q. The pace of this practice was about two seconds off of last year. Was that what you expected after the repave? Seems like we had a bunch of offs. Some correlation between those?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Yeah, I think with the repave last year, the track had this peak of grip, which was phenomenal for our cars. I mean, it was incredibly fast.

Obviously you guys have tough winters up here, to say the least. I’m from Connecticut. When we’re in the middle of summer and I have a hoodie on, I can’t imagine what it’s like here in December and January.

When we saw the practice with the Indy Lights, the Pro 2000 Series, the USF Pro, we saw they were about a second off. We figured we’d be a little bit slower.

We didn’t quite now know what the car balance would be like. But, yeah, the conditions are incredibly technical. Honestly it makes it a lot of fun.

Q. (No microphone.)

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Yeah, I mean, I had my fair share of dropping wheels, too, flying through the dirt, especially coming on to the main straight. I think everyone will agree the balance of the cars is probably pretty snappy right now.

For me, I love driving an oversteer race car. If you looked at my steering trace, you’d think it was not real. I’m definitely very happy and that has a lot to do with it.

Q. This is obviously the fifth successive weekend of cars being on track. How much of a challenge is this congested period? What have you and your team done to manage that?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Yeah, obviously I think rolling off of Indy and into Detroit was mentally tiring I think for everybody. You’re going into a tight street course. I think having a couple days to rest and sleep, I finally got more than eight hours at home this week, which was awesome.

To come up here and do a full reset, I feel like I have a lot more energy. I can see it in the team. My Texas guys got to go back to Houston. I was very happy about that.

Yeah, racing immediately after Indy is always tough. It would be nice to have the week off. Obviously with the sports this year, it’s very technical to do. With TV, there’s a lot of things behind the scenes that we don’t unfortunately get the benefit of.

But, yeah, I think everybody’s looking forward to getting through this race weekend, going through the Milwaukee test, then sitting at home on the couch (smiling).

Q. Obviously we know about the Penske alliance. Do you put your racing results down to continuity within the team? You’ve been able to hold onto a lot of people, team personnel that you had last year. You have Mike Cannon back, as well.

SANTINO FERRUCCI: Yeah, I think a lot of that has to do with it. The little things throughout the race weekend, we’re trying to minimize. We had made a lot of mistakes every race weekend last year, not just from my standpoint but from procedural stuff. Working through all that, tuning that all out, having a proper go this year, we’ve come a long way. We’ve been maximizing track time.

I think we had a bit of a rocky start trying to maximize our track time. Once we got to Barber, we were pretty good. We had our faults at Indy, which is unfortunate. Our road and street course weekends have been a lot cleaner as a whole. We’ve been on track, making the correct setup changes on the pit lane. I think that shows into our continuity.

THE MODERATOR: Appreciate your time. Thanks for coming over. Good luck tomorrow.