IndyCar: JR Hildebrand all-time fastest at Phoenix International Raceway
FROM CHEVROLET PRESS RELEASE
AVONDALE, (ARIZ) – Chevrolet drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) got down to business at an open test at Phoenix International Raceway. The April 29, 2017 race at the one-mile track just west of Phoenix, Arizona is the first oval race of the 2017 17-race season.
Making his debut as the full-time driver of the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, JR Hildebrand set an unofficial track record of 19.0401seconds/193.234 mph to sit atop the leaderboard following two days of testing that included two night sessions that gave teams and drivers the opportunity to work in near-race conditions.
Right behind Hildebrand was his boss, Ed Carpenter, in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet with a lap of 19.1223 seconds/192.404 mph.
Josef Newgarden, the newest addition to Team Penske, slotted the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet into third in the order followed closely by teammates Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet and Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet.
Series’ champion Simon Pagenaud also notched a top-10 time and speed behind the wheel of the No. 1 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet.
The newest members of Team Chevy in the VICS, AJ Foyt Racing’s Conor Daly, No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet, and Carlos Munoz, No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet, had a very productive two-day test as they work to become familiar with the Chevrolet Aero Kit with the 2.2 liter V-6 Chevrolet engine.
The season-opening race will be March 12, 2017 on the Streets of St. Petersburg (Florida) followed by the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 9, 2017. Third on the schedule is the April 23, 2017 race at Barber Motorsports Park.
CHEVROLET DRIVER QUOTES:
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 1 PPG TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “It was great to be back in the PPG Chevrolet. We’ve had a great test so far. We’ve been able to work on a lot of different things and compile some good data. It was a long offseason but that was good for me, but now I’m ready to go.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “We’ve accomplished a lot with the Verizon Chevy. The car was good early on yesterday, so that was definitely nice. The transition is going very well, actually. Brian (Campe) is getting used to my terminology and my sensitivities and the other way around. This has been great. We’ve been able to log a lot of track time and work through a ton of things.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “The Hitachi Chevy felt great. I just love driving that thing. I think we got a lot done so far. Everyone gets caught up in the speeds but testing isn’t always about that which is why I feel really good about the work we’ve got in. Earlier today was really special in being a part of the groundbreaking ceremony for the track renovation. I was honored that they asked me to be involved. It sounds like it will add a lot to the experience here when they’re done.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “The Verizon Chevrolet team has gotten a lot done. I’m really looking forward to getting a quick start this season. Last year I wasn’t able to do that. We’ve been very focused here on getting some things sorted out so that we can get out of the gate fast. We had a little change on the timing stand with Jon Bouslog coming over from the No. 2 car, but that hasn’t really effected anything. The communication is good. The car felt very comfortable.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET: “It’s a continuation from last year. We had good cars here last year. We were fortunate enough to be part of the tire test team here last fall, in that regard I think we had a little bit of a jump start on this tire. It’s always nice to get that opportunity and we’re thankful for Firestone to do that. Obviously JR hadn’t been here on this tire, but the team has done a good job. We’ve gone through some changes, but the guys have kept their head down. We still have the same goals of competing for race wins, competing for the championship, Indy 500, and this is an important race. It’s the first oval of the year. You want to come and set of set the tone for the ovals here. The guys have been working hard, and it doesn’t really count, doesn’t mean much today, but at the same time it is fun to be up at the top and reward the guys for hard work this off-season.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 21 FUZZY’S ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET: “We rolled off the truck kind of in the window so it was a lot of just being able to tailor the cars to our individual needs. Those aren’t that different, so both of us are working together with our teams to benefit from each other along the way. That’s all gone smoothly thus far and we’ll get some more race running in this afternoon. I’d be lying to you if I said it didn’t feel good going out and putting a couple laps down and doing it to where we felt — they were legit. We’re not just out there toying around. It felt good.”
CONOR DALY, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET: “There’s a lot to learn in the switch in manufacturers so we have to use our time wisely, keep working and evaluating everything with the ABC Supply Chevrolet. We have a lot of work to do but that’s what testing is for so we can go through things and be ready to go for the race.”
CARLOS MUNOZ, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET: “I think we improved the ABC Supply Chevrolet quite a lot from yesterday—especially balance-wise with car. We have more work to do but we’re getting there. It’s our first time with this aero kit so it’s a learning process. I’m happy with the gains we made overnight.”