Penske’s IndyCar operation went from four full-time cars to three by 2022 and has not added an additional car for the 500. This is the first time since 2014 that Team Penske has entered just three cars for Indy.
With Simon Pagenaud, who won the race for Penske in 2019, now with Meyer Shank Racing, the three remaining drivers – Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin – have had to work hard to explore various setup options, especially given the rainfall on day 2. .
When asked by Motorsport.com whether the team was missing a fourth car, Cindric replied: “It’s a good question, and I think there are definitely positives and negatives to it in terms of focus versus data and information. And when you have a guy like Simon on the team and how good he is here, he certainly brought a lot to the team. We certainly miss him as part of it.
“But when you look at the preparation and what it takes to get these cars ready to race at Indy, I think that regardless of who’s driving the cars, the attention to detail you can always have with fewer cars.
“It’s definitely a balance here. We’ve driven five cars here, and this is the first time in a long time that we’ve driven three cars. It was refreshing in some ways in terms of simplicity, but definitely miss having Simon as part of the team. †
Last year Penske’s cars qualified disastrously, between 17e and 32ndthe last spot was earned by 2018 winner Power, who had to get through the thrilling Bump Day to make it in the field.
Asked if the team had put their finger on what went wrong, Cindric replied: “I think maybe after this year’s qualifying we’ll find out, to be honest, to see if we’re right. I don’t think you’ll know until you know.
“We had some cars that were solid on the show, and we’ve got poor Will trying to make the show. I think we’re still scratching our heads on some fronts. There are some areas where we could definitely be better.” and wouldn’t have put ourselves in the situation there with Will I think we understand that part of it.
“What will drive us to challenge for the front row? I think maybe after tomorrow or Sunday we can process a little more and understand it better.”