Newgarden, Power admit driving errors kept them out of Top 6

Penske teammates Josef Newgarden and Will Power each said that it was mistakes on their fastest laps that kept them from making the Firestone Fast Six for the 43rd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Newgarden, Power admit driving errors kept them out of Top 6
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Polesitter Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

On a day when one of their teammates, Helio Castroneves, took his third straight pole at Long Beach, and Simon Pagenaud had his best times deleted for interference with another car – Castroneves! – Newgarden and Power had to settle for eighth and ninth after failing to escape the Q2 segment of qualifying.

Newgarden told Motorsport.com: “We struggled through practice yesterday, and I didn’t like what the car was doing handling-wise. Some of the setup things I’ve liked in the past here, that I thought would translate, just didn’t work. I was really confident they would and they didn’t; there’s ways the car wants to be driven and set up, and what we were doing with it wasn’t working.

“So this was a weekend when we were having to learn. All credit to [race engineer] Brian Campe as we had to learn how to build a new toolbox, we came up with a different way to approach the setup, and we were fast this morning and in Round 1 of qualifying. Where we were losing time to the Hondas and some other cars was Turns 9, 10, 11, and we were fast through there in Q2. But where we were really strong was Turns 5 and 6 – and  I ended up screwing up there! Man, if I could have just put all my best segments together.

“But that’s IndyCar – you miss by a hair, and you pay for it. We had a Fast 6 car, and we didn’t make it; my fault. Whether we had enough for pole, I don’t know. What Helio did there was pretty stout. But we should have been in the first three rows.”

Power’s error was a massive sideways moment exiting the final hairpin, where the timing beam is set during qualifying (as opposed to the race, where it is of course on the start-finish line). 

“The rear wheels just spun up,” he grimaced, “and that ruined the end of one lap, and the start of the next. I was going sideways and looking at the timer [on the dashboard] just watching it click up two-tenths.

“I had to try and overcome it, because we didn’t have enough fuel for another lap, but there aren’t enough areas where you can make up a two-tenth deficit.”

Asked if he had had a potential pole-winning car, Power replied: “I don’t know. Maybe. Helio was really strong in Turns 1 and 8 and we were good everywhere else, so we should have been fighting for it.”

Pagenaud blamed Power for triggering the chain reaction that saw the defending champion’s car losing its two best lap times for holding up Castroneves in the first round of qualifying. Power said he didn’t understand why Pagenaud had been so close behind him through the warm-up laps, prior to their qualifying runs. 

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About this article

Series IndyCar
Event Long Beach
Location Streets of Long Beach
Drivers Will Power , Josef Newgarden
Teams Team Penske
Author David Malsher-Lopez
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