Team Chevy carries momentum to Gateway Motorsports Park with lead In Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer Championship standings.
Chevrolet coming off four consecutive Series wins.
The 1.25-mile track hosts open-wheel series for first time since 2003.
Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves won the last race from the pole.
Four Chevrolet drivers among the top five in championship standings.
Josef Newgarden extends his points lead with three races remaining.
The 248-lap race is the sixth and final of the season on an oval
DETROIT (Aug. 23, 2017) – Asked to describe Gateway Motorsports Park in one word, Verizon IndyCar Series team owner Ed Carpenter chose “character.”
The 1.25-mile racetrack’s turns aren’t symmetrical. Turns 1 and 2 are tight with 11 degrees of banking, while Turns 3 and 4 are more open with 9 degrees of banking, which creates an egg shape similar to former Indy car venue Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.
The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to the racetrack in Madison, Illinois, after a 13-year absence for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline under the lights Aug. 26.
“It really makes it a challenge for the driver and the team to get a balance in the car that works at both ends of the track. When you have that compromise, I think it produces really good racing,” said Carpenter, driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet.
The 248-lap race is the sixth and final on an oval this season. Chevrolet drivers have won four, including the past three, races on ovals and have garnered 10 of the 15 podium spots in the five events.
Overall, Team Chevy has won eight of the 14 Verizon IndyCar Series races, including the past four, and has secured nine pole starts. Chevrolet also leads the Manufacturer Championship.
Josef Newgarden, driving the No, 9 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, extended his championship points lead to 18 following a runner-up finish to Team Penske teammate Will Power in the 500-mile race Aug. 20 on the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway. Newgarden, who has led laps in seven consecutive races, won the previous races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and on the streets of Toronto.
“Gateway is going to be really exciting since I haven’t ran a race there,” he said. “It’s been a long time since INDYCAR has been there, which presented a new challenge especially with a brand-new track surface. The No. 2 PPG Chevy crew and I have hit a stride as we continue to run well, including a podium finish at Pocono.
“We’re really happy with how this season has been going and know we have to continue to work hard because with only a few races left anything can happen.”
Chevrolet drivers occupy four of the top five spots in the standings with three races left. Forty-two points separate the front-running Newgarden and fifth-place Power, whose victory at Pocono moved the driver of the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet into ninth place on the all-time list with 32 career wins.
Helio Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Chevrolet, is 22 points arrears of Newgarden and is the only past winner at Gateway Motorsports Park entered. He won the 2003 race from the pole, and has never finished outside the top 10 in five starts at the track.
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud, No. 1 Menards Chevrolet, is in third place. He is the only driver to complete all 1,938 laps.
Drivers representing each of the eight full-time Verizon IndyCar Series entrants tested Aug. 3 on the repaved racing surface. Conor Daly, driver of the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing, was the fastest during an Open Test in May before the capital improvement project began and returned for laps on the smoother surface.
“It feels grippy and it’s a lot faster than when we tested before,” he said. “Turns 1 and 2 are so different from Turns 3 and 4. It’s challenging. We’re still quite fast, but it’s always going to be competitive come race weekend.”
NBCSN will telecast the race live at 8 p.m. CDT Saturday.
At Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois, Team Chevy will be well represented by:
ED CARPENTER RACING:
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet
JR Hildebrand, No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet
A.J. FOYT ENTERPRISES:
Conor Daly, No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet
Carlos Munoz, No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, No. 1 Menards Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Chevrolet
Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet