BELLE ISLE, MI – Heading into the doubleheader weekend in Belle Isle, no one has as much momentum as Team Penske. They had won four of the last five Verizon IndyCar Series races on the season including last weeks Indianapolis 500.
Plus, this was a big race weekend for them. Roger Penske is the man behind the action in Belle Isle and the race is also big for their manufacturer Chevrolet. After all, it’s in their backyard.
Unfortunately for them, the weekend hasn’t gone to plan.
In practice on Friday, none of the trio of drivers were found towards the front. Josef Newgarden was ninth and fourth respectively on the timing charts while Simon Pagenaud was 11th and seventh respectively. Will Power was the slowest of the bunch being in 13th and 12th respectively himself.
In qualifying, they struggled again. Power was the best qualifier though in sixth while Pagenaud and Newgarden shared Row 7. That carried over into the 70 Lap race.
Power was the top finisher among the group with a seventh place finish in his No. 12 Chevrolet. Newgarden and Pagenaud came home ninth and 17th respectively.
The trio said that the pace was actually there in their cars but Honda was just that much better. Power, said that the shorter street tracks like this one helps the Honda teams as they didn’t have anything for the Honda cars on Saturday.
That’s frustrating for them to have that much balance and speed but it not be enough. Power and Newgarden fell to third and fourth respectively in the standings heading into the second race on Sunday.