Power notches first win of 2014 at Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

IndyCar, IndyCar News/Releases, INDYCAR PR — By on March 30, 2014 11:02 pm
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FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG QUOTES:

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Man, I’m mentally tired. That was physical and hard, but pretty stoked to get the first win for Verizon as the series sponsor with the Verizon car. It’s a great day, a great stop there when we all pitted at the same time, the boys got me out there. Really happy with that and we executed well. I worked so hard in the offseason. We came into the season wanting to win a championship for Roger, and the way it went down last year was really disappointing for Helio (Castroneves) not to win. Between the three of us – Juan (Montoya), Helio and myself- we’ve been working really hard to get the car right. The field is so tight that I’m just happy we had a good race car today. Didn’t quite have the pace in qualifying. That’s how you want to start the season. Last year was horrible, and this year it’s good to get a points lead. (About the controversial restart on Lap 82): “They threw the green early, I thought we were meant to go in that zone. So that was – I was surprised. I don’t really know what happened behind me, what happened?” (Did he brake check Helio): “I left it a little, I didn’t touch the brake at all. They can look at my data, I did not touch the brake.”

ROGER PENSKE (Owner, Team Penske): “It was just a great run by Team Penske. Obviously, Will (Power) had the car under control all day and Helio. Great to see Chevrolet come in 1-2. Also for Verizon, who just took over as series sponsor. It couldn’t be a better day.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Overall we had a good race. Historically we haven’t had the best start to the season here at St. Pete. But the crowd was great and I’m really impressed with the turnout today here. It’s such a great event here. We had a lot of fun and the Target team bringing two cars home without any damage to start off our year is a small win. We’re looking forward to improving and heading to Long Beach in a few weeks.”

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was a pretty tough race just with the tires and our balance wasn’t quite where we needed it to be. Then I didn’t help the situation either running into the back of Montoya exiting the pits and damaging our front wing. We ran about three fourths of the race with a broken front wing, which really didn’t help us at all. Despite the issues we faced today though, we were able to hang in there and get a top 10 result to start the season off. We’re looking forward to even better results moving forward.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was encouraging that we had that much pace in car but it was obviously disappointing that we had some mechanical issues early in the race. We lost quite a bit of ground dealing with those issues. Overall though the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen crew really fought hard today and had some really clean pit stops. I have complete faith in the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew and the Chevrolet team that they’ll figure out the issue we faced today and get us ready to have a great race in Long Beach.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “I need to thank the Target team really. Everyone was so close out there it was all about track position. Then we caught on our out lap and lost a position on track as well. The No. 28 almost put us in the wall after that and overall I think we lost maybe half a second and that equates to two positions out there. I think we had a car to finish in the top five and we finished sixth. Not the start we wanted, but we’ll take it.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “We had a good start. The first stint I had a nice rhythm going but we struggled a bit on the blacks on the next two stints, but we tried hard. It was difficult to gain on the track today. After a great qualifying, we’re a little disappointed with the finish but we came away with some points for the ABC Supply team.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay Andretti TV.com HVM): “Our race was good until I crashed on the front straight (Lap 82 restart); I’m don’t really know what happened, a guy in front of me wrecked and then I couldn’t really do anything about it. I think I was doing quite good before staying in the top 10 looking forward to a top-10 finish. It’s racing. I learned a lot today, but it’s just a shame I couldn’t do much after the crash. Thanks to my Cinsay crew for working hard all weekend.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): “I got a good start. I saw that it was going green and there was a stack-up in front of me and I knew you could go on green so I pulled off to the right and went straight on down the inside so it worked out for me. After that we struggled all day with a lack of grip. I could never attack the car; it was driving me more than I was driving it. There is a lot of work to be done but I think we had some highlights this weekend. We’ve just got to keep working on it.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): “At the end there, the United Fiber & Data car got even better. We were going to be so strong at the end of this race if we had been in contention. You could see at the end there we were keeping pace with some of the guys; it’s unfortunate to see it like that. More yellows might have helped keep us on the lead lap, maybe. We could have taken advantage if some more guys have problems with their tires in the end. At the end of the day, that is the way it goes. I think getting to still run and know what the chassis was going to do and learn a little bit about the tires again helps. We have another street race in two weeks, so all of this stuff still applies in Long Beach, and that is what we have to look at as a positive to come from this.”

MIKE CONWAY (Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “As the day went on, we steadily moved up and we got to third. I think we had a different strategy from other people. We made some big gains on the red Firestone tires drove by many people today. So that was very positive. I wasn’t really hoping for a safety car there around lap 80. I was hoping to hold the gap when we went to the black tires. I didn’t hear a radio communication to come into the pits then. I thought the safety car waved me by but they were waving (James) Hinchcliffe by instead. I don’t know if there was a communication problem there too. I didn’t know if they waving at me or both of us. Then they said it was only for Hinch. And that was it. It screwed up our whole day. Then on the restart, there was a big pile up. With the single file restarts, you can’t see around the big rear wings because you can’t pull out to pass before the green flag. And we can’t see the green flag with these rear wings and we bunched up single file. So we have to rethink that area I believe. We have to be able to see around the other cars. It definitely needs to be looked at in the future.”

NEXT PAGE: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg quoteboard continued

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