‘What They’re Saying’ from Indianapolis 500 Practice Day 5

Photo Credit: Dana Garrett

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Chevrolet, 2019 NTT IndyCar Series points leader): “It was a pretty clean day. We experimented with the last couple of changes for the week, trying to get an idea for Carb Day. Carb Day will be more representative of how the race is going to play out, as it was a little cold today. So today, it was just feeling out the car, doing some stops and understanding what we need to do for the race. On Carb Day, we will get a better balance for the car and better understand the changes. I’m excited.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet): “Great day. Obviously, the weather is very helpful with it being cool.  Everyone feels great after that. The good news is that the car is really consistent and similar to what we had before when it was really hot. The car was pretty much the same. We feel like for Carb Day, we might try a little bit more, but I’m ready to go.”  

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Decent practice here at the track. I think since the beginning of the practice I was feeling very comfortable with the car – I think the most I’ve felt since we came here this year and the car was very decent and the balance was where we wanted it to be. But then towards the end, maybe the conditions changed a little bit, maybe we didn’t do the right changes and I just felt like we missed a little bit setup-wise. The good thing is that we had a good car in the beginning of the practice so we can always go back to that and then move forward. I’m looking forward to Carb Day now. I think we still need to improve a little bit to be in the mix, but I’m feeling confident and excited.” 

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, 2018 NTT IndyCar Series champion): “The PNC Bank car feels pretty good. We were just trying the last few things we have left to try, but it was pretty comfortable. The car was really good. Some of the things we changed we didn’t really like, but overall the car feels really good.”

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I started off pretty slowly, honestly. I just felt that I was not up to speed. Still, after the crash we had earlier, it is hard to progress through the traffic. Then, in the end it got much better – it was not too bad. I was able to overtake some guys and feel comfortable. I think we have a really good race car with the NTT DATA Honda.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet, 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner):“We got three full-tank runs in today. We need to work on the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet because I don’t think we are as good as we can be. I was struggling in traffic ,for sure. But we’ve got some time to think it over and decide on some changes, and Carb Day will give us a better indication because the weather will be more realistic to race day.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “We just tried to figure out what we need for the race. Obviously, it was a really cool day today. We tried to learn a couple of things, but we’ll see what’s going to happen. It’s going to be a lot hotter on Carb Day and race day, so I think Carb Day is going to be more representative, but pretty good day so far. We learned a lot so I’m happy.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): “We’re not there right now but we’re going to work hard to get there. It seems like we’ve got a lack of pace and the car balance isn’t great in traffic. It’s a little bit inconsistent lap to lap and it’s creating some challenges, for sure. I’m a little bit baffled right now. The conditions are not ideal; they aren’t like anything we’re actually going to have on race day. It makes it tough to understand what we can take from today into the end of the week for Carb Day and into Sunday. Most likely very little of it is going to translate, but you still have to be strong on any given day.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): “Practice today was really good. The first time we went out, we were a little loose with a little understeer but we made some changes and went back out and the car felt good. We were able to work our way through the pack that was on track. I can’t complain. I know the conditions will be different come race day, but we have one more final practice to look forward to. I can’t wait.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet): “It was a pretty efficient session. We got a lot of laps in. We had a long list of things we wanted to do to validate the car that we had tested earlier in the week. We worked through a few really good changes and we feel really good about the car. Today was a session where the timesheets don’t matter very much because it’s more about what you can do in traffic and how comfortable you are on the track. You need something that you can race with for 500 miles. I’m feeling good and looking forward to Carb Day.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Chevrolet): “It was good to get back to race running today and start to work towards next weekend.  We tried a few things today and hopefully we put it all together to make a really good race car.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, 2019 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter): “Yeah, that was a good day. We were just going through race prep today. There were a lot of items to cover. We are getting closer and closer to being ready for the race.  I feel like we are ahead of the program, like we have been. The Menards Chevrolet is starting from the pole and I think that it’s the fastest one out there. We feel really good in traffic. Just need to find a little more front grip and I think we will be in awesome shape.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Fiasp Carlin Chevrolet): “Overall, it was a solid day of checking off some of the boxes we needed to get through, like working in traffic, on our own, making sure we were ready to go tire-wise, and really just making sure we had a solid foundation to work from. We were able to get the Carlin Novo Nordisk crew some pit stop practice during the session and the guys did a great job. We have a couple of issues we need to work through in the week before Carb Day, but we have an hour and a half to get through what we need to on Carb Day to make sure we’re ready to go for the race.” 

SAGE KARAM (No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet): “We got our first taste of race-trim running today. And I have been in qualifying mode with no cars around me. I kind of forgot the race conditions with cars all around. Today, the No. 24 WIX Filters Chevrolet went out and we made some initial runs to make sure the car was balanced. The car felt really good today.  We made some small adjustments that helped, too. That is one thing about the DRR crew, they know their race settings. I think we have proven that in the last few 500s when we have come from the back to the front of the field. So, I feel very confident about my race car heading into Carb Day and the race on Sunday. Obviously, the conditions are cooler today, but we can adjust for the warmer weather, too, now. So, I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited now.”

CONOR DALY (No. 25 United States Air Force Honda): “It was really good, honestly. I feel really good in traffic. The car is solid. Obviously, these conditions are probably not going to be what it’s like on race day, so we have to be a little careful with how we look at it, but I’m super happy with the car – we just have to keep fine-tuning it. It felt really, really good fighting with some of the top guys out there up front.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “It was a pretty good day, just one step closer to race day. Spent a lot of time spending on race balance which I think is pretty good. We’ve got a little work to do on Friday but really happy with how it’s progressing.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “I think the car was really good today. We’ve had a good car all week, but because of extenuating circumstances we didn’t get the results out of the car that we could have. Luckily, that’s all irrelevant now and behind us because I think we are going to have a really good race day.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We got the car’s balance in a pretty good spot. I’m pretty happy out there in traffic. Unfortunately, we still have this speed problem that we’ve had all week. We will need to put the work in on Carb Day to get this No. 28 DHL Honda where it needs to be for race day conditions.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda): “I think it was a productive day.  We learned so much running in the pack today. I was able to follow the cars due to the conditions being a lot cooler today. There are still a few things we need to get done before Carb Day and I think we gathered quite good data today. I feel the conditions were pretty similar to the first three days of practice. But I don’t expect it to be this cold for next weekend and, if it is, I think everyone will be racing in a pack. I think the higher temperature will separate the field and I think we’ll be on the positive end of that. I feel there is good potential but we need to work a little harder.”

KYLE KAISER (No. 32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet): “(Sunday) was definitely the most exciting day of my life. I never, ever thought I’d be that excited to be last, ever! I think that’s the crazy thing about this race; there’s no other race in the world you’d be that excited to be (in that position). It just shows how hard it is to get into this race. It’s probably the most competitive year ever, in my opinion. I can’t remember when it was that hard to qualify and there were that many people trying to get in. Unbelievable job by the team. Getting in showed all the work this team put in over the past few days.”

JAMES DAVISON (No. 33 Dale Coyne Racing with Byrd and Belardi Honda): “We had a solid day, I would say. We were competitive, but still need to find some more on the handling side to be able to not just hold position but move forward and make some more passes within the pack. We also lost about 40 percent of the track time with a fuel issue. Which those things happen, and, honestly, better it happen today than Carb Day or race day. Overall, it was a good day, and I’m feeling confident for race day.”

PIPPA MANN (No. 39 Driven2SaveLives Racing): “Overall, I’m pretty happy with our Monday practice session. The Clauson-Marshall Racing Driven2SaveLives Chevy felt good in traffic, and we were able to get some pit stop practice done, too. The weather conditions will be very different on Friday and on race day, but this feels like a good base to work from.”

JORDAN KING (No. 42 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “We had a bit of a cough and a splutter at the start of the session with a few issues, but once we got going I had reasons to be happy with the car. On our own and in traffic, we were pretty good. I closed up to the cars in front and managed to get past a couple. I think it’s really tricky in a long train to get past just because it checks up a lot and everyone got the tow down the next straight. Maybe there’s something we can try and work on Friday in a multiple car tow. Overall, I’m much happier today in traffic actually overtaking people and making some progress. It was a solid end to the session, but obviously we need to sort out what happened at the beginning of the session.” 

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 48 DRR Salesforce Chevrolet): “At the end of the day, the Salesforce boys have done an awesome job with the No. 48 car. Realistically, the conditions are so much different now. It is hard to base too much on today’s runs because it is much cooler than what we will have on race day. But we can work with what we had last week with the car in race trim. And we can anticipate what we can work on for Friday (Carb Day) and Sunday. So we got some of the information out of the way today and we can tidy some things up, too. We got all of the race pieces on the car now after qualifying trim. We know we can find a little bit more, too, for the race day setup. Man, it feels slow out there today after being in qualifying mode for a couple of days. We have been concentrated on our race car for most of the month now. That is the main focus right now. I really like the qualifying mode personally, but we also understand that the race is why we are here. It is what is critical to me and the team. The more we can rub on those fine little details is a key for us now. That is what’s going to matter on Sunday.”

JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda): “I thought that was a pretty good session for us doing some traffic running. The week goes by so fast here you don’t always get as many chances as you’d like to do traffic running. Honestly, I was pretty happy with where we finished. If we take that car into the race, then I think we should have a very good day on Sunday. We will try to get this No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM car to the front. Everything that is ahead of us is just going to be good fun – I’m excited.”

ED JONES (No. 63 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet): “It was good to have today’s practice session to work through a long list of ideas and changes. We were not able get our race car quite how we want it yet, but the positive news is we know where we need to make adjustments. We’ll improve the car over the next few days and will be ready to go again for Carb Day practice on Friday.”

COLTON HERTA (No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda): “Another great day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda. The car felt pretty good on track and we learned a lot as we made some great setup changes and not-so-great ones. We’ll probably go for some more changes on Friday before it’s time for the big show.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda): “Today’s practice felt pretty good. I think we have just a couple changes to make for the race. The U.S. Concrete guys will work on making those changes for our final practice, and hopefully we leave the track Friday feeling like we’re in a good spot.”