Tim Cindric says circumstances, not performance, was to blame for IndyCar championship near-miss
Three of the four Team Penske-Chevrolet entries finished in the top five of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship, but team president Tim Cindric admits to disappointment that the title itself slipped away.
However, in reviewing the season on TeamPenske.com, he declared: “I don’t feel like there are any large gaps that we need to fill. In the first part of the season, there were a lot of things that typically don’t happen, whether it was the weather or debris cautions…
“I feel like from a team perspective – the drivers and the entire group – we just need to refine where we are and not change things in a big way.”
A Penske-Chevrolet started from pole in 13 of the 16 races – two grids were set by championship position because of weather/track conditions during qualifying – but the team earned just three victories, and ultimately Juan Pablo Montoya was edged to the title by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in a tie-break at the end of the season finale.
“Our cars had speed all year; we just didn’t get the results we expected,” said Cindric, who also serves as race strategist for this year's defending champion Will Power. “The results weren’t in step with where you would expect based on the speed of the cars and the performance of the team overall. When you have three cars in the top five, usually it’s not a bad year. But we aim a little higher.”
Cindric declared the team’s highlight was Montoya’s victory in the 99th running of the Indy 500, a race it hadn’t won since 2009.
He said: “We always say that if you have one goal for the season, it’s to win the Indianapolis 500; that for us has always been the biggest thing. From a Team Penske perspective, you could say there was a bit of a drought there. To be able to bring that race home and run 1-2 at Indianapolis was, without a doubt, the highlight. We accomplished our No. 1 goal for the year.”
Montoya, Power, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud finished second, third, fifth and eleventh in the final standings, respectively. Two wins fell to Montoya in a strong second season back in open-wheel racing, while Power scored just one win but a season-high six pole positions.
Concluded Cindric: “I think we’ll continue to show speed and hopefully start showing results at the end of the day. They don’t have to be a lot better. They just have to be a little bit better than the competition.”