Indianapolis 500 Pit Stop Challenge decided by record performance

The Penske No. 2 team continues to shrug off the distractions

Syndication: Journal-Courier
Credit: Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Despite it all, Team Penske continues to execute all month, also winning the annual Pit Stop Challenge on Indianapolis 500 weekend with Josef Newgarden over Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren Racing.

In fact, the Team Penske No. 2 produced the fastest ever drag-stop-drag run in the second of a best-of-three sequence to earn $50,000 during Carb Day festivities in advance of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The Penske No. 2 team won 11.333s to 12.121 and closed out the win with a 10.792 to a 12.647. It was no contest on paper.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Credit: Bob Goshert/For IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The winning team:

Chad Gordon (chief mechanic/outside front tire changer)
Caitlyn Brown (inside front tire changer)
Kyle Lapier (inside rear tire changer)
Keenan Watson (outside rear tire changer)
Derrick Ruppert (fueler) and Tom Jones (air jack)

“This is the A-Team,” Gordon told Speed Sport. “We train with the 12-car (Will Power) guys all the time. We get the same coaching, the same facilities — all the same stuff. We expect to be here.

I think we’d all be lying if we didn’t say we’d feel good about it. There’s still also 500 miles to race on Sunday.

“Everybody sitting here, when we got told we were doing this again this year, we were pumped for it. This is, I don’t know, we like showing up for this, showcasing everybody on pit lane. There’s a lot of talent out there.”

The No. 2 team’s biggest challenge came in the first round when Alexander Rossi and the Arrow McLaren No. 7 won 11.312 to 11.492. O’Ward’s No. 5 only advanced into the semi-finals after losing to the Andretti No. 26 team into the box but getting the win because Colton Herta slid through the box, costing them a second.

O’Ward’s No. 5 team advanced on a degree of fortune again when the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing team had a loose wheel.

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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