The big changes continue at Team Penske as in addition to bringing in Josef Newgarden this season, he’s getting a familiar face as a race strategiest.
The multi-championship organization announced that Tim Cindric will call the shots for Newgarden this season. Notably, Cindric has spent the last five and a half years with Will Power, beginning with the Honda Indy Toronto in July 2011. The pair have won 17 races over that period of time, including a championship in 2014.
“As we look back, Will and I had a lot of good times but he will continue that without me,” Cindric told the Verizon INDYCAR Mobile app. “Will has won no matter who is in his pit and I think it’s important to understand the transition. As I looked at where our strengths are and where our experience is, Myron (Bouslog’s nickname) and I talked about it and thought we should switch this thing up a bit.
“If we don’t get off on the right foot, at least we will understand why. I’m confident the (No.) 12 car group (Power) will be just fine with or without me and the (No.) 2 car group (Newgarden) is in a good place, but I want to help his transition be the right one.”
Newgarden enters his first season at Team Penske, after spending the last couple years at Ed Carpenter Racing, with a fourth place championship finish in 2016.
“That’s exciting to have Tim running my team,” Newgarden told the Verizon INDYCAR Mobile app. “I’m excited to work with Tim. I respect him a lot within motorsports. He has done a great job with Team Penske. Look at the history with him being a team leader – they have a lot to stand on as a group.
“It’s going to be exciting to work with him. I think he is a great leader and will probably help me be better at my craft and help me improve from what I’ve done in the past. I hope to collaborate well with him and the whole team on the No. 2 Verizon car and having success together.”
With Cindric moving over to Newgarden, Team Penske confirmed Jon Bouslog will call the shots for Power this season. Bouslog spent the past two years working with Juan Pablo Montoya.
“It’s a different opportunity to work with (race engineer) David Faustino and Robby Atkinson, the data guy, and the rest of Power’s crew,” Bouslog told Verizon INDYCAR Mobile app. “It’s probably the best overall crew of people. I think I will learn a lot, to be honest with you.
“There are so many people involved in strategy during the race, you can’t watch everything. There are so many eyes on it. It’s going to be a collective team effort just like before. I think it’s the right thing to do with a new driver in Josef. Tim knows how to handle the new drivers, the expectation level of the team. The best move is to do that for Josef so he has the best of everything to win.”
While changes have happened surrounding the No. 2 and No. 12 entry, Roger Penske will continue to call strategy for Helio Castroneves, while team manager Kyle Moyer remains with Simon Pagenaud to chase a second straight championship.
The team also has signed Juan Pablo Montoya for the Daytona 500, but has yet to announce who is calling strategy for the one-race effort. However, the team did mention it may be expanded to two races, with possibly the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course May 13.
“I would be surprised if we do anything before May,” Cindric said. “If we do anything, it would be, ‘Do we do the road course race at Indianapolis or not?’ But I don’t think we will do another race before May.”
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