What Drivers Are Saying about Saturday’s IndyCar race at Gateway Motorsports Park

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Here’s What Drivers Are Saying about Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park:

BOMMARITO AUTOMOTIVE GROUP 500 PRE-EVENT QUOTES:

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Gateway is a race I’m really focused on and a place I’d love to get another win at. It was a great battle between my teammate Simon Pagenaud and myself last year. Definitely an exciting race for the fans and a fun one for us racers. We’ve stayed in the same spot in championship points, but we’ve got to do better. The No. 1 Verizon Chevy team is working really hard to give me the best car possible, so we’re really ready for a good run there to get as many points as we can and try and advance in the standings.”

MATHEUS “MATT” LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Last year was a good race in Indy Lights (at Gateway). I qualified in the back of the grid (12th) and made my way forward to third place when I had a puncture, so it was a good race. It’s a nice track, a pretty smooth track and I’m looking forward to racing an Indy car now. I think it’s going to be a good one. Hopefully, we made some improvements from our short oval package because we struggled a lot in Iowa. Let’s see if we can do a great job and finish in the top 10.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “Last year’s event at Gateway was really impressive. The owners and promoters did an amazing job with the race. The turnout was huge and I’m guessing that will only get better this year. I love racing at night and I hope we can get the PNC Bank car to the front and be up there competing for the win when it counts on Saturday night.”

ED JONES (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “Obviously we didn’t finish where we wanted to in Pocono and I’m glad we only have a short break between races to get right back into the car. We didn’t have a lot of time in Pocono to get the car right after (final) practice was canceled, so I’m looking forward to working on the car more this weekend and getting it right for what hopefully will be a really strong weekend and result for us in the NTT DATA car.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Definitely looking forward to Gateway this coming weekend. It’s a really fun track to race at, being a short oval. We’ve had a good streak of finishes the past few races for the No. 12 Verizon Chevy, but we really need to keep that up to gain more championship points. Scott Dixon has been so consistent and running really well, so we have to keep trying to outperform him and get another win. The whole No. 12 Verizon team is really focused and we’re ready to put our best foot forward and get another win.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “It’s exciting to go (to Gateway). Last year we had such a big crowd coming and this team did pretty well there. We are looking forward to it and big props to the guys at the track. I guess they repaved even more, now that they’ve repaved pit lane. Hopefully, we can get our best result of the season (so far) there.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Mi-Jack Honda): “We didn’t test at Gateway so there will be a lot of unknowns when we go back. We were pretty good at Iowa in the race and I would anticipate we will be pretty strong at Gateway. Last year we didn’t qualify that well, but in the race, we were actually pretty competitive, but we had a little fueling issue at the end which was my fault. Unfortunately, I got a penalty and had to go to the back. But we had a strong race; we were running fifth and would have had a top-five for sure, so it was disappointing not to get those points. I’m excited to go back. It should be a lot of fun. The event is great and has quickly become a very strong race for the series. The promoters have done an amazing job with it. I have seen all of the promotions and (wife) Courtney and I were part of some of it with our media day last week. The city has really gotten behind the event, which is so important. It certainly helps that St. Louis is such a great sports town. We felt that we had a really good race car at Pocono that we let slip with how the race start played out, so we’re hoping to get to Gateway and make the most of every opportunity.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda): “Following a pretty successful test in the SealMaster Honda No. 18 at Gateway and a solid result at Pocono, the expectations are fairly high. The last couple of weekends have produced better results (sixth at Mid-Ohio and fourth at Pocono) after some really tough times in June and July. Hopefully, we can carry the momentum through the rest of the season and climb back towards the lead pack in the championship. The hardest part of the weekend will be to go racing without Robert (Wickens) as we all continue to keep hoping for a full recovery.”

PIETRO FITTIPALDI (No. 19 Paysafe Honda): “We tested at Gateway about two weeks ago in our No. 19 Paysafe car. We had a really good test there. It’s a short oval and I’ve raced on a short oval before so I’m happy that I’ll be arriving with some experience. It’s unfortunate what happened in Pocono. We had a good race car and I wanted to run the whole 500-mile race and pick up as much experience as I could, but I got collected in the accident. But we have to move forward now and focus on Gateway and hopefully, I can come out with a good result on our last oval of the season.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I am really looking forward to St. Louis. Last year, I felt like we were really going to have a good chance to contend but we got caught up in the first-lap accident. I am excited to have another chance to go put on a good show for the fans in St Louis.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I’ve really enjoyed racing on short ovals this year and Gateway is our last chance to do that until 2019. It’s another oval I’ve yet to race at, so I’ll have a lot to learn once the green flag drops. If our speed at Iowa can carry over this weekend, we should be looking at another strong result for the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka team!”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “I’m pretty excited. It’s been a good track for us. Our short oval program has been good this year. We’ve got three races left so we’re ready to score big points and plan to be pretty aggressive there and hopefully get a win for the No. 22 Menards Chevy soon.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet): “I can’t wait to get to Gateway Motorsports Park this weekend for the night race. Coming off another top-10 finish at Pocono, I think the whole Carlin team is building up a lot of momentum to keep this upswing going for the final few races of the 2018 season. The No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet had a strong test here a few weeks back, and I’m really optimistic that having that data and experience will pay off this weekend. I visited St. Louis in May for the Indy 500 media day, and I have to say that the track does a fantastic job getting the whole city involved and excited about the event. Looking forward to feeling their energy and seeing the grandstands full again!”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Group 1001 Honda): “After three consecutive top-10 finishes including sixth at Pocono this past weekend, I’m really looking forward to Gateway! We had the privilege to test there last month, which we felt we had a lot of success accomplishing what we wanted to. I feel we can keep our momentum going and put the Group 1001 car out front under the lights Saturday night.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “I’m so thrilled to be returning to Gateway Motorsports Park after the spectacular event we had last year. I think this track is one of the absolute best in terms of the effort that they put in to promote our series, and I hope to put on a great show for them. We are obviously nearing the end of the season, so we will be looking to continue to close the gap to Scott (Dixon) this weekend. With that said, all of our thoughts are still with Rob (Wickens) and his family at this time.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Gateway was a missed opportunity for us last year, so we’re looking to come back with the same competitive speeds and come away with a good result for the DHL team. The fans were really supportive of the series’ return in 2017 and we’re hoping to put on a good race for them.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “Unfortunately, it was a short race for us last year, but it is a very impressive facility. It is a great, fun track. The characteristics of Gateway are very unique. I think it is one of the best short ovals because there is such high banking in Turns 1 and 2, and Turns 3 and 4 are kind of flat and, as we observed, it was one of the best short oval races last year. I think it was a great show. The fans were really excited, and it was great to see so many enthusiastic fans at the race. Since we had a very good race at Iowa, I am certainly looking forward to going to Gateway.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet): “Coming out of such an emotional weekend like the one we just had in Pocono and going straight into another race is going to be challenging for everyone, but I think it’s a good thing that the INDYCAR family will be together this weekend, especially at a place like Gateway where the series has been welcomed with open arms. Carlin has shown this season that at the tracks where we have a chance to test prior, we’re just so much stronger. And after a really productive Gateway test a few weeks ago, we’re feeling optimistic about our race. The track did a great job last year of getting the city involved, so I’m really excited to see all of those St. Louis fans back out at the track who came out last year.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet): “Really enthused and ready to get behind the wheel of the (No.) 88 car and be back with my guys. We’re ready to speed up our development and progression, and we’re more driven than ever to get some of the results we know are possible based on our results from last season. I’m also very excited to race at Gateway for the Bommarito 500 for the first time.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 MilitaryToMotosports.com / Curb Honda): “We had a decent test at Gateway last month, so hopefully we will roll off the truck strong and continue to improve the car. It will likely be a tough race physically as steering weight is high there. We need to get on the podium – we’ve been so close this year, so we’ll fight to get the job done this weekend.”

IndyCar champion Will Power completes ‘Victory Lap’ at ceremony in Indianapolis

Will Power Victory Lap
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment
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INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power went on his “Victory Lap” last week to celebrate his second career championship as the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series champion.

It began with several media interviews in Monterey, California, the day after he won the championship with a third-place finish in the Sept. 11 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

From there, it was off to Los Angeles for more interviews and personal appearances that included a VIP Tour at the Petersen Automotive Museum, several appearances on SiriusXM and lunch at The Ivy, where the Team Penske IndyCar Series driver was treated to Wagyu Beef.

“It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had in my life,” Power told NBCSports.com.

From L.A. back to Power’s North Carolina home, near Team Penske’s home base of Mooresville, there was one stop left on Sept. 17 — the Victory Lap Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, an invitation-only banquet where Power and his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet crew at Team Penske were honored for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship.

They didn’t even have to check into a hotel and spend another night on the road. Power and his team left on a Team Penske plane from the Statesville, N.C., airport at 4 p.m. ET Saturday to fly to Indianapolis. On arrival an hour later, a limo bus took the team to IMS.

Power led the 2022 season with five NTT P1 Awards for pole, earning the NTT P1 Award as the best qualifier of the season for the fifth time in his career. Power also made history with his 68th career pole, breaking the all-time mark held by the legendary Mario Andretti.

Power and Scott Dixon also became just two of only five drivers to complete every lap of every race in IndyCar Series history.

“What a year,” Power said as he was awarded his personal Astor Cup trophy (the second in his collection after the 2014 championship. “What a phenomenal year coming off one of my worst seasons personally. We came back with a vengeance.

“I want to thank Roger and Kathy Penske for everything they have done for me over the years. I wouldn’t be standing here and have the numbers I have without what Roger has done for me. I’m given a car every week that is capable of winning the pole, races, championships, and Indianapolis 500s. I’m so grateful for that.

“Also, to Greg Penske, you are there every week now at every event and I know we will be in good hands moving forward with the Penske Family.”

There are many on Power’s team and at home, that helped support Power throughout his career. None is bigger than Power’s wife, Liz, who told Power before the season that he would win the championship and break Andretti’s record.

“I must thank my wife. I’m so lucky to have a wife with that crystal ball that can tell me what is going to happen,” Power said. “I can’t think you enough, babe. I love you so much and you have been a big support to me my whole career. We’ve been together 17 years, and I’ve been in the series 17 years. She has been such a huge support to me. The mother of our child and she is a fantastic mother.

“She can’t tell the future. She just had faith in me.”

Liz Power’s premonition came true and that allowed Power and his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet team to celebrate Penske’s 17th IndyCar championship and 42nd title in the racing team’s history.

“The 12 crew this year, I’ve never had such a great group of guys,” Power said. “Trevor Lacasse (chief mechanic) is such a calm guy, but he does such a meticulous job on the preparation of the car. He is very, very good at keeping the whole crew happy. It feels as if there is no pressure on us. That’s a huge part in getting the most out of people. It was our first year together with you as a crew chief. What a great year to start our relationship.

“Dave Faustino (Power’s longtime engineer), we’ve worked together for 15 years. He’s almost like a wife to me, a partner … apart from sleeping together. We have a very good working relationship. Sorry Dave, I’m an awkward person and you are not.

“The things we have been through in our years together, it’s crazy that we continually improve and get better. We are standing on the podium after winning the championship and we are talking about the car, the race, and the tires. We weren’t talking about the championship.

“We never stop. The other boys were laughing at us, but I’m already thinking about next year.

“Ron Ruzewski (Team Penske IndyCar Managing Director and strategist) on the radio, always calm. He has actually made me a calm person. I rarely get upset on the radio anymore.”

Power also recognized the fans who helped boost attendance at many venues on the schedule this season as NBC Sports enjoyed its largest IndyCar audience yet.

“This series is growing,” Power said. “With open wheel racing now so popular because of Formula One, it’s really our time to push and put money behind it and go now and take IndyCar to another level because we have the best racing product in the world.

“I have to thank my teammates and (Team Penske president) Tim Cindric. I can’t tell you how hard we push each other. We are ultracompetitive and love each other and push each other hard, so thank you.”


Power won the championship by 16 points over hard-charging teammate Josef Newgarden, who finished second in the standings for the third year in a row.

“Overall, I’m filled with a lot of pride for our team and what we were able to do this year,” Newgarden said in his banquet address. “Any year that you step in the championship, you can easily see the challenges it presents everybody.

“It’s a very difficult challenge for the teams and drivers. To be a part of it, make it through it and for us at Team Penske, to topple it, is a very big deal. We’re all competitive.

“The tough thing about being in a championship fight, especially with teammates is we all want to be the best. That’s how it should be. We are competitive people and want to be the best. But it’s a team sport.

“Will, tremendous season, great, great job. I think the world of everybody on our team. It’s a big group. I’m so happy for all of you on the 12-car crew. There is so much we can take into next year.”

Six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was unable to attend the banquet because of the Goodwood Festival in England but sent congratulations to Power via a video message.

“I really want to congratulate Will Power,” Dixon said. “You drove a tremendous season this year. Even with some of the lows that you had, some of the mistakes with qualifying, you bounced back tremendously. I know how tough these championships are and to see you do it in the style that you did it in the last race of the season, massive congratulations.”

Power’s championship formula included one victory, nine podiums and 12 top-five finishes. Teammate Josef Newgarden was second in the championship with five wins but only six podiums.

Cindric saluted Power’s season in accepting the championship team owner award.

“Will, you took it to another level this year,” Cindric said. “You are the complete package. You completed every lap, had nine podiums, finished out of the top 10 just four times, broke Mario Andretti’s record, and you did it all without cussing at the officials on national TV.

“One complaint I do has is while most of us think you might be from another planet, you never told us your wife was a fortune teller.”

Cindric also honored the seasons of Penske drivers Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, who won three times in his second full season (“You are one of only two full-time IndyCar drivers that has driven for us in the past 23 years that hasn’t won an Indy 500 or an IndyCar championship. Your time is coming.”).

Kyle Moyer was named team manager of the year (his fifth time and Penske’s sixth). Pennzoil presented Lacasse with the chief mechanic of the year for the first time, the sixth time for Team Penske. The No. 12 crew also won the Firestone Pit Performance Award for the most pit stop performance award points in 2022.

Power, Newgarden and McLaughlin delivered nine of Chevrolet’s series-leading 11 victories this season, helping Chevy win the Manufacturer Award for the seventh time since it returned to the series in 2012 and the first time since 2017. Jim Danahy, U.S. vice president, Competition Motorsports Engineering for Chevrolet, accepted the award on behalf of his team.


Christian Lundgaard was honored as the 2022 NTT IndyCar rookie of the year. Lundgaard, from Denmark, scored one podium, two top-five finishes and seven top-10s in the No. 30 Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He edged David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD by 18 points in the standings for first-year series drivers.

Christian Lundgaard (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

“It’s been a tough season and looking at how it panned out, we struggled so much at the beginning of the season and how we were able to turn it around means so much to me and the team,” Lundgaard said. “It’s the one thing that you only get one shot at. I’m happy to have it.

“Being the first Dane at the Indy 500 certainly helps. Competing here for me is quite important and also special. To win this award and to be here in future years means so much to me. I have a chance to compete for wins and championships.

“This team gave me this opportunity at this track one year ago. We came back and got redemption. We got our first podium here. This year was 40 years ago that Bobby Rahal won the same award. It’s pretty special to keep it among the team.”

Sweden’s Linus Lundqvist was honored as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion after a dominant season for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing. Lundqvist won a series-high five races in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry and clinched the Lights championship with a race to spare, ending with a 92-point advantage over Sting Ray Robb. HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing owners Henry and Daiva Malukas accepted the team championship.

“I’m very proud of that,” Lundqvist said. “It’s cool to see. We are starting to look to the future, and this might not be doing too bad. It’s been great. As most of you can guess with Henry and Daiva Malukas (team owners), it’s been an incredible journey. So much fun that we’ve had. To be on the grid this year was so much of a struggle for us. I didn’t even know I would be doing this until January.

“To be able to pull out the season that we had, I cannot thank this team enough. We will celebrate this for a long time. I’m so happy and proud about that.”

Outgoing IndyCar Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Geoffrey Billows also was honored as he is leaving that role while battling cancer.

“When I think of Dr. Billows, I think of two words,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said. “One is selfless and the other is tough. He’s gone through a lot these last couple of years, and he didn’t want anybody to know. He’s an amazing man, and we are very grateful for what you have done.”

Dr. Geoffrey Billows with IndyCar president Jay Frye (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Billows was presented with a framed checkered flag signed by all drivers in the series as well as other IndyCar officials and dignitaries.

“I was not expecting this at all,” Billows said. “This means so much for me to be part of this family for the past 30 years. I’ve been presented with opportunities I never thought I would ever have. I can’t tell you how much I love all of you guys and care for all of you guys.

“Thank you so much. I want to also thank my wife, Tammy, who has been a pillar of strength as I continue on this journey with cancer for the past two years as well. You will still see me as a consultant because I love this too much to quit altogether.”

When the evening concluded, Team Penske boarded a bus to the airport for the short return flight to Statesville. They were home by midnight.

Power’s Victory Lap was complete.

“The best thing about this is I get to sleep in my own bed tonight,” Power said.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500