Will Power Takes Chevrolet V-6 to Victory Lane at Barber Motorsports Park
Team Penske Driver Scores Second Consecutive Victory for Bowtie in Return to IZOD IndyCar Competition
LEEDS, Ala. (April 1, 2012) – Will Power took the lead with 12 laps remaining in the Grand Prix of Alabama and drove his Chevrolet V-6 powered No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car to Victory Lane. It was the second victory for Chevrolet in as many races as the Bowtie brand returned to IZOD IndyCar Series competition this season.
“It’s good to get the Verizon 12 car in victory lane with a Chevy engine,” said Power. “It was awesome. (My crew was) on the money today. Without these guys, there’s no way we could have won today”
The win was Power’s second consecutive win at the Birmingham, Alabama track and the 16th of his career. He has never finished out of the top-four at the 2.38-mile, 17 turn track. The championship runner-up driver from last season started ninth in the 26-car field.
Giving Team Chevy another spot on the podium was Power’s teammate and last week’s winner, Helio Castroneves, No. 3 AAA Team Penske Chevrolet. With the strong run, Castroneves remains atop the point standings with two of 16 races in the record books.
“Congratulations to Will Power and Team Penske on winning today at Barber Motorsports Park,” said Mark Kent, Director of Chevrolet Racing. “We are very proud of the collaborative effort that went into making our Chevrolet V6 engine a winner so early in the 2012 season. To have scored two consecutive wins is a direct reflection of the hard work put forth by all of our Chevy teams leading up to these first few races of the season. It is very rewarding to see these efforts pay off so early in the season. We realize there is a lot of racing left this year, but everyone at Chevrolet is pleased with this great start to the 2012 season."
Giving Chevrolet two more finishers in the top-eight were James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport Chevrolet in the sixth place, and Rubens Barrichello, No. 8 BMC-Embrase-KV Racing Technology Chevrolet in the eighth finishing position.
The win extended Chevrolet’s lead in the Manufactuers’ Standings to six points.
The next stop for the series will the Streets of Long Beach (Calif.) on April 15, 2012.
CHEVROLET V-6 POWERED DRIVER POST RACE QUOTES:
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER: NOTE: This is Power’s second straight IZOD IndyCar Series win at Barber Motorsports Park and his 16th career win. He has never finished outside the top-four at this track in three starts: ON THE RACE: “It was an awesome race. Tim Cindric kept putting me in such a good position so that we could use our speed. The last restart was kind of hairy. I knew Scott (Dixon) was going to be really quick and hounded me for a couple of laps there. It’s good to get the Verizon 12 car in victory lane with a Chevy engine. It was awesome. (My crew was) on the money today. Without these guys, there’s no way we could have won today.
“It was an absolute team effort. We went thinking we had to be kind of a little bit off strategy to the other guys to be able to pass around here. So we started out on (Firestone) black tires and everyone else started on reds. Then we went to reds when everyone else was on blacks. That got us a couple of spots. Then with good stops and good strategy calls put me in clean air so we could use our speed, we slowly passed one-by-one, and passed a couple on the track. It was a very good team effort. Absolutely a team effort. The strategy was perfect. The stops were perfect. We were quick when we needed to be, and put ourselves in a position to win which I did not think was possible this morning.”
THE SECOND STINT WAS REALLY SHORT, WHAT WAS THE REASON? “The second stint, yes. It was all basically, Tim Cindric was looking at where he could put me out in clean air. It was short because he found a gap that we could lay down some good laps. I think the other reason the racing was really good day was because Firestone came with a really good tire to race that had a good drop-off in lap town. That allowed people to pass because the tires actually went off. I think you have to thank Firestone for good racing and allowing people to pass.”
LOOKING AT THE NEXT TWO TRACKS, THOSE ARE TRACKS YOU ARE STRONG AT; TALK ABOUT CARRYING MOMENTUM INTO THOSE TWO TRACKS: “You know, we really have been quick everywhere this year. I think you put this race out of your mind pretty quickly and start focusing on it. I guess it gives the guys confidence that we can win if we don’t qualify on the pole, and we can win from quite far back.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 AAA TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD: NOTE: His finish coupled with his win last week kept Castroneves atop the IZOD IndyCar point standings: TALK ABOUT YOUR RACE TODAY: “First I want to thank AAA, Shell/Pennzoil, Verizon, SKF—those guys give us great support. To be honest, it was very difficult. Those are my tires from qualifying. Unfortunately, I locked a little bit too much: I used them a little bit too much. I mean it paid off starting from the pole position, but certainly hurt me a little bit, actually a lot, in the race. That’s why Scott (Dixon) was able to go off of Turn two, good run, but I was just staying in the middle and not to do too much. But, in the end, I thought it was a great battle; I think that’s what (racing’s about), and I want to apologize as well to (James) Hinchcliffe. My car was already bad with those (Firestone) reds, and as soon as we started the race, it pushed so bad that we kind of squeezed him and I felt terrible. We were having a great race. Hopefully we’ll have a better one next time.”
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ATOP THE POINT STANDINGS? “Pretty darn good. I’m not thinking about it right now. I’m thinking about the big picture. For Long Beach, we’re really looking to have a better result, two spots better. But, I’m happy. It was certainly a great effort today for the AAA (Chevrolet) machine. It was very difficult. Ron (Ruzewski, engineer) did a great job on the strategy. But, I’m not thinking at the moment for the present. I’m thinking one race at a time, and that’s what we are going to be doing.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 TEAM GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 6TH: ON HIS RACE: “I would say it was doing pretty well until about 30 to go and the yellow came out. I think we were sitting in a pretty good position for a podium. The car was pretty strong. When that restart came out and Helio (Castroneves) got so luck with the way that timing line worked, so he ended up restarting in front of me when I was ahead of him on track. So, that is the outside for the restart; you are starting on the dirty side of the track. Graham (Rahal) got by and that allowed (Simon) Pagenaud to get a run, so it was sort of a chain reaction of things. We are disappointed to be honest from where we started to where we finished. I don’t think it was a true representation of the pace that we had and where we should have been today. But, the car ran well, the Chevy engine ran well. The tires were good. Chalk it up to experience. Not our day. Luck didn’t fall our way today. But it all comes back around eventually.
“The Go Daddy Chevy had a good pace, but I don’t think we had the pace to run with Scott (Dixon) or Helio (Castroneves). We were running alright – pretty much on course for a third-place (finish). If we would have beat Helio out of the pits on that final stop then I just would have had to keep him behind me, which on this track isn’t impossible. But that yellow came out and because of the way the time line works coming out of the pits they gave him the spot and again I got stuck on the outside for the restart. Graham (Rahal) got around me and that gave (Simon) Pagenaud the run and we lost two spots that we shouldn’t have. It’s pretty disappointing given where we started. I was hoping for a better result for the Go Daddy car but we brought home some points, we’ll chalk it up to experience and move on to Long Beach.”
RUBENS BARRICHELLO – NO. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 8TH: ON HIS RACE: “I am learning to race with this car. The car is so reversed that if you go on the inside and you are going to touch. You say ‘No No No, don’t come…Bang’. The car is in one piece. The back of my car, you can see, they were treating me like a newcomer. (LAUGHS). You know when you go to the university and that take your hair away, that was my first time. (LAUGHS) We had one the fastest cars right at the end. But, at the beginning I was struggling. At the beginning with the pressures of the tires, I was struggling big time. If I had had this whole car with the tire pressures that at the end, I’m pretty sure we would have had even a better race. I had a great restart. It was good.
"I first need to say thank you to the crew and thank you for my first top-10 finish. It's hard to be happy with a top-10, but starting so far back and at some points in the race even further back, I think it was a positive that I was able to work my way back through the field. By the end of the race, I had one of the fastest running cars, so I think it was enjoyable to watch and for me to race. People race hard over here, but they were fair. I had many knocks and bumps, but the cars are so robust in this series that we can luckily get away with it. I enjoyed my day and thank my sponsors, BMC and Embrase and my team once again."
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 11TH: ON HIS RACE: "The car was good, and we were really fast through the middle of the race - that was fun - and we were as fast as anyone. But, I got into (EJ) Viso and broke the upper-right segment of the front wing. I was a lot faster than he was and just got into the back of him. My guys did a great job in the pits, but after that, I didn't have the downforce on the front end that I needed. I did what I could on the late restarts, but that's why we dropped back at the finish."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 12TH: "We were dynamite in that (middle) segment of the race! That was the only stint where we had a new set of (Firestone) Reds, and it was fun being able to pass so many guys. We lost some spots in the pits, and then we just didn't have the rear of the car hooked up as well after the last restart (on lap 74 of 90 laps). I had to crawl along those last few laps just to keep it on the track and not lose the back end."
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 14TH: ON HIS RACE: “We had a tough day out there today in the Hitachi car. We were gaining track position over the middle stint of the race but then we had some tire issues and it cost us position. It’s great to see two Team Penske drivers on the podium and good job by Will (Power) to get the win. It’s not the finish we were hoping for in our first race with Hitachi on board but I’m excited to get to Long Beach and go for the win there.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15TH: ON HIS RACE: “Barber tends to go to understeer so we tried to adjust to avoid that as much as possible, and we thought we’d have neutral racecar. In the end though, the rear tires wouldn’t stay underneath me. I tried as hard as I could for as long as I could, but at the end of the stints it was pretty difficult. Particularly at the end of the race, we had a scuffed set of reds that that probably had about five laps too many on them and that ended up catching us out a little bit. But the good news is we made big strides in qualifying in the National Guard Chevy this weekend and we usually have great racecars at Panther. We’re going to keep putting all the pieces together and we’ll be alright.”
E.J. VISO – NO. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 18TH: “Coming into the race I believed we would keep up with the pace that we showed in qualifying and in St. Petersburg.. Unfortunately, the general pace of my car today was slower than the rest of the field. We didn’t have a balance issue, but a pace issue and that cost us a lot of time. This is also a track that if you overheat the tires, push a little too hard, it will make you pay and that also happened. The crew did a great job in the pits, we just had a pace problem. The team is going to sit down and review the data and I am confident we will get everything resolved for Long Beach.
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 22ND: ON THE RACE: “I don’t know what happened today. We tried some things in the warm-up this morning and the car just wasn’t happy. So we went back to the setups we used in qualifying. And that was pretty good yesterday. But the car had just a ridiculous amount of understeer today. I couldn’t get through any corners. Then we tried to save fuel and turn it into a two (pit) stopper. But that didn’t work either. It was just a long race. It wasn’t much fun from where I was sitting today. Actually, this was the first day we have run here with so much sunshine and the track surface was very slick. The conditions changed a lot today, but some guys were able to figure it out. This new car seems to have a very small window to make it handle. I hope things go better on Wednesday when we test at Indy and the car will be better on the ovals.”