IndyCar: What Drivers Said after Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway

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Here’s What Drivers Said after Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway:

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) — winner: “We came out in some traffic and it was really hard to be behind cars for some reason today. The No. 27 Napa Auto Parts Honda was better than everyone else so it was an exceptional day but right now Rob (Wickens) and James (Hinchcliffe) and Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and everyone involved in that incident have our thoughts. It’s tough to really celebrate after what happened. It’s the team. I have amazing teammates. Speaking of teammates, Zach (Veach) and Marco (Andretti) really helped me there in traffic so I owe them a beer or a case of beer. It’s just been leaning on Ryan (Hunter- Reay?) and Michael (Andretti?) and Bryan (Herta?) ever since day one to help me overcome the challenge that is superspeedways. You can’t do any of this without an amazing team, so I am very thankful to be on Andretti Autosport and have this great group of people. It’s a special day today. (Can you win the championship?): “We’re going to try. We’re executing like we need to do on Sundays and we’ll do everything we can to keep that rolling. There’s no time to rest now as we’re in Gateway in five or six days.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) – finished 2nd: “I actually thought we’d be able to jump him again, but I got caught up with a lapped car coming out of the out lap and almost went to the wall, and came back; and then had a miss-shift on the out lap. It was just a terrible exchange altogether. I wasn’t quite good enough in traffic. (Alexander) Rossi was very good running in traffic. We just had way too much push. So yeah, that’s all we could do. The guys did a great strategy. We went long. That’s how we jumped in but weren’t quite good enough in traffic, but it was a great day for the Verizon guys.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) – finished 3rd: “It was a tough race for everyone I think. Obviously, you never want to see an accident like that at the beginning. I’m glad there was some good news on that front and our thoughts and prayers are with Robert and his family. We made several adjustments to the car – taking wing and more wing. We got it to handle pretty well but congrats to Rossi and their team. They did a hell of a job and deserved to win it. I’m looking forward to coming back strong Saturday at St. Louis in the PNC Bank car.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda) – finished 4th: “I am just happy that Robbie’s injuries are not life-threatening and the other guys are OK. That is the main thing. As for the race, it was a good day for the SealMaster Honda No. 18. It was a solid finish, fourth place. There were obviously some weird circumstances. It’s tough to get your head back in the game, but we pulled through as we usually do. It was a solid effort by the whole team. I am really proud of the guys. It was a good day for us.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet) – finished 5th:  “Yeah, it was just a tough day. We didn’t have anything for anybody. We were scrapping to keep that top 5. That was the big thing for us. I was driving my butt off and I think the team was trying everything they could to help me and this was all we had. Will looked like he gave (Alexander) Rossi a good run for his money, which was great. It was just not enough. So we’ll look at everything. It’s always kind of tough right after this type of race. You don’t have all the facts and you want to go back through the data and try to figure out what you can do better next time. So, that’s what we’ll do. But, I’m thankful that all the fans stuck around to watch this race. We’ll work hard for these last three now.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Group 1001 Honda) – finished 6th: “I’m very satisfied with how our race today went. During the big crash in the beginning, it turned out that our front wing adjuster got ripped off the nose of the car. We started the race a little conservative on front wing, to get through the first stint. Our plan was to keep adding throughout the race, but we weren’t able to so that kind of hurt us. We were stuck with that same front wing angle. As soon as I got close to cars, I struggled. We just needed a little more front wing which we couldn’t put in. But, all-in-all, I’m pretty happy with our day. Hoping that Robert (Wickens) is OK.  We’re all thinking of him.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda) – finished 7th:  “I think we made a good gamble to pit early. We came out and we were flying, and we leap-frogged everybody… and it figures we’d go 480 miles with no yellow, so we ended up right back where we started. But, we went for it and all we needed was a little help to be on the podium, but we had to save [fuel] for most of the race. Coming away with a 100th top-10, but wish it was a win. We’re on to Gateway next weekend but sending good thoughts tonight to Robbie [Wickens].”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet) – finished 8th:  “We got damaged in that first crash and we had to change the tow link which the guys did an amazing job – we didn’t lose a lap. We restarted in the back, and it was very, very difficult to move forward.  I don’t know if there was more damage under the car. We will check at the shop. I think that was the best we could do today with what we had. It was unfortunate without yellows.  Just not much we could do. I was so proud to drive the Shell Chevrolet Marketplace car.  It is what it is, we will go to Gateway to bounce back!”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet) – finished 9th: “First off, my thoughts and prayers are with Robert (Wickens). I really hope he’s OK and recovers quickly because he’s been a huge addition to the series this year. Overall, the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet just fought all day. The guys did a great job on pit lane and they got me two stops on that last stop. I’m really proud of the effort the whole team has put in this weekend, especially with only running one hour worth of practice and going straight into qualifying and 500 miles with tough weather conditions. They gave me a car that was really solid to start with and we were able to bring home another top 10 for the team. We had a really good test at Gateway a few weeks ago, so I’m excited to get back out there next weekend and hopefully bring home another good result.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet) – finished 10th: “It was a very long day! Early in the race, I thought we were going to be okay. We had the speed to run with the cars in front of us and were even close to leader pace. We lost some track position in the pits which didn’t put us in a great spot. We tried to go off-strategy and pit outside of a fuel window, but with it staying green, we ended up having to run slow to save fuel the rest of the day. I don’t think we had a winning car but I feel we had a borderline Top 5 car instead of just a Top 10 car. Unfortunately, it was just a long second half of the race with riding around to save fuel and try and stay out of the leaders’ way.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet) – finished 11th: “Great to be racing here at Pocono; we had great support from the fans mainly from the ABC Supply family. We didn’t have the fastest car – maybe top 10 but 11th place is OK. Looking forward to Gateway now. We’ll try to maximize everything and get our first top 10 under our belts.”

ED JONES (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) – finished 12th: “We didn’t really get a lot of practice time this weekend which limited the improvements we could make to the car. The start of the race was pretty crazy but we made it through. Obviously, we sat and waited for a while after the accident and it’s great to hear the positive news on Robert. We picked up some damage and had to repair the car when we got going again. We went laps down after that and from there just tried to adjust the NTT DATA car the best we could to get the most out of it.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet) – Finished 13th: Max Chilton, No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet: “That definitely felt like a 500-mile race, especially with that time delay. Obviously, my thoughts are with Robert after the earlier accident, which shook everyone up a bit. I think it was a good thing that we were able to put on a bit of a show for the fans though, although it probably wasn’t the most exciting race. Good job by the safety crews to get the fence repaired in time to allow us to race today. I felt like at times we were quick and during some stints, we struggled a bit when I had to let the leaders by, but I tried to make the most of what we had. It’s another 500-mile race under the team’s belt and essential experience at a track the team has never been to before. We’ve tested at Gateway before so we’re aiming to get the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet nearer the front next weekend.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Bobby Rahal Automotive Group Honda) – finished 14th:  “Most importantly, I’m hoping for good news on Robbie. I’m sure he is a little banged up which we all would be in that situation.  I started racing against Robbie and Hinch when I was 10 years old. We’ve had a lot of good battles over the years and he’s had an amazing year so I hope that his recovery will be extremely quick and he’s back out here with us. It’s a real shame about the start of the race because I think our car might have been better than Rossi’s. It was a very good race car.  It’s a shame but we can take a lot of positives out of this and move forward so I’m pretty pleased.”

CONOR DALY (No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet) – finished 15th: “It was obviously a tough day for us. We had to go into the race with almost no track time, so it was a big guess. At every stop, we put in a lot of front wing. We just kept trying to adjust, but still just struggled with the front of the car. I think by ourselves our pace was good, and we were maintaining a decent spot for where we were on track. I had one chance to pass someone for position and went for it with Ed, but I had no front grip at all and then clipped it. It’s a shame. You hate to end your day like that, thankfully the car wasn’t badly damaged, just small stuff. I would love another shot at it because I think there are some positives to our car and some positives to what we have, I just don’t think we had enough time to evaluate everything.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet) – finished 16th: “The guys did a great job getting the Fuzzy’s Vodka car fixed. At the end of the day, there was really nothing else we could do in terms of improving our position and there was no need to risk anything else. That was always the plan, to go out and do a few laps and gain the positions we could. Unfortunately, our race was over before it began. The car had a lot of damage to the right rear and never felt quite right when we went back out. It’s extremely disappointing, you come here wanting to continue some good momentum we’ve had the last handful of races, but we never got that shot. We’ll have to look forward to Gateway next weekend and try to rebound there.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet) – finished 17th: “It was a throttle sensor failure so I lost all power and unfortunately it’s going to take 15-20minutes to change it. That’s going to be so many laps down that we decided to park it. It’s a shame. We were really looking forward to this race. We have a lot of ABC (Supply Co.) employees here supporting us. It’s racing, sometimes you have one of those things. We haven’t had a mechanical issue all year. That’s unfortunate that it happened here. “[On the conditions] It was hard to pass, definitely. I mean, you can see right now nobody is passing anybody. It’s pretty much spread out. It wasn’t hard, it wasn’t what we were used to racing close to each other like that. It’s been pretty difficult. [unintelligible track noise] I think it’s going to be a track position race today.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda) – finished 18th: “I’m OK. I’m just thinking about Robert (Wickens) right now. I haven’t had any information yet. They’re just waiting for him to come back to the medical center. It’s unfortunate in the first half of the race. I just hope Robert is alright. [I’m] just lucky to get out of that one.” (Did you know Wickens was alongside?): “Well yeah, he had a run out of Turn 1, came up along the side of me, but I was in the draft of (Will) Power in front of me so I started pulling ahead. Once we got to (Turn) 2 he was at my corner at best. I mean barely there. It was one of those corners you’re not up alongside, you know…its…yeah. The first lap of the race. I mean I thought, at that point, I had got to him, cleared him. I even gave room. I left a lane; left a half of a lane, if not more. I’ve gotta look at it again. I was pretty shocked I got hit in the back. That is neither here nor there right now – we’re just thinking about Robert. It’s all very very unfortunate.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda) – finished 20th:  “Yeah – not the race day we were hoping for. You know, I saw the accident happening in front of me. (Zach) Veach started sliding up, I tried to slow down and just kind of lost it in the fray. As I was going backward, I think Pietro (Fittipaldi) had nowhere to go and came into me. Other than that, there was a bunch of stuff going on, I’m not sure exactly what happened. I took my hands off the wheel when I went backward, and I think some piece of debris came in as I was holding them (my hands) in, kind of just smacked the top of them so I took a bit of a beating, but nothing is broken, just some swelling and some cuts. We’ll rest it up and be fine. Obviously, I’m just hoping Robbie’s (Robert Wickens) alright. Never good to see a car go up (into the fence) like that, but I know he is in good hands. Hopefully, we’ll see him back in the car soon.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda) – finished 21st: “I saw Ryan Hunter-Reay’s car hit the wall and I immediately backed off but I was covered by oil, my helmet and my car, and there was nothing I could do.  I just went straight into the wall. There were obviously a lot of cars involved and it’s a pity it happened in a 500-mile race. Right now I’m just worried about other drivers that are injured. When you are side-by-side, drivers get adrenaline and want to go faster but the problem was in Turn 2, it used to be just a kink; it’s nothing, you could go flat side-by-side. But now, with the less downforce, it’s really bumpy and you’ve got to be really careful with that. I was side-by-side with Bourdais into the corner and I backed off and braked but in front, unfortunately, Robert and Ryan made contact and that was nothing we could control.”

PIETRO FITTIPALDI (No. 19 Paysafe Honda) – finished 22nd:  “I’m feeling great. I’m obviously a little sore from the impact but I’m 100 percent, no broken bones. Thankfully. I just saw a lot of smoke ahead, I was in the middle of the corner behind Ed (Jones), it was full of smoke and all I saw was that I was going to hit (James) Hinchcliffe head on, so I had to slam on the brakes and try to get low. When I did that, I think with the debris on track, the fluid, and the cold tires I just lost the rear of the car and then hit him sideways. There are three races left, so I am going to try and get some good results to finish off the season. I’m looking forward to Gateway.”