Josef Newgarden Leads IndyCar Pack Into Season’s Final Race

Newgarden used a baseball analogy to describe driving for the deep-pocketed Team Penske: “the idea’s like getting hired by the Yankees if you want to play baseball for a living.”

So Newgarden will be hunted down by Dixon, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver by brand-new Zealand who has won four series championships, along with three teammates who have won either a series title (Pagenaud along with Power) or three Indianapolis 500s (Castroneves).


Newgarden, front, celebrating his victory at Gateway Motorsports Park in August with Scott Dixon. Newgarden’s four wins lead IndyCar This particular season.

Scott Kane/Associated Press

“No question, he proved for the entire team — along with of which’s why Roger ended up hiring him — of which he’s here because of his talent,” Castroneves said of Newgarden in a recent conference call with reporters. “He’s able to show of which the entire season, along with then we can see as a teammate what he has brought to the team. He definitely brought a very competitive edge, which will be great. At least for me, the idea keeps pushing me, as always.”

Newgarden might be a newcomer, although he will be hardly a fresh face. After racing go-karts at the Indiana track owned by Mark Dismore, a former Indy-car driver, Newgarden moved to open-wheel racing inside South For just two years. Then, aspiring to drive in Formula One, he raced in England for three years.

He returned to the United States in 2011 to race in IndyCar’s second series, Indy Lights, along with landed his first top-tier job a year later, driving for a team co-owned by the former driver Sarah Fisher. He won two races in 2015 for a team co-owned by Fisher along with Ed Carpenter, then won another race for Carpenter in 2016. Newgarden was a force despite driving for tiny teams.

“He’s got amazing ability,” said Mike Hull, the managing director of Chip Ganassi Racing. “He’s got a great mind. He thinks his way through. He represents everything of which’s not bad about IndyCar racing, in terms of ladder-system drivers producing the idea into probably one of the best arenas there will be to race inside entire world. A great degree of respect for who he will be.”

Successful tiny-team drivers tend to end up with the three big teams in This particular sport — Penske’s, Ganassi’s along with Michael Andretti’s. Newgarden replaced the famed Juan Pablo Montoya at Penske.

“Honestly, I didn’t genuinely know Josef very well aside by afar genuinely until he came into our team,” said Tim Cindric, the Team Penske president. “He had shown us of which obviously he was quick in all the ladder series. He showed us he was a winner. He showed us genuinely after the accident of which he had in Texas — how quickly he came back by of which — what his toughness was.”’

Verizon IndyCar Series 2016. Firestone 0. Conor Daly & Josef Newgarden Terrible Crash Video by CrashRacing

Newgarden broke his right shoulder along with hand in a two-car crash during a race at Texas Motor Speedway in June 2016. He was back inside car for the next race two weeks later in Wisconsin, although he said then of which he could hardly sign autographs for fans.

In 2015, Pagenaud finished 11th inside standings after joining Team Penske which has a brand-new crew, so the team made an adjustment when Newgarden joined. Newgarden inherited Montoya’s crew, although Cindric was transferred by Power’s crew to call race strategy for Newgarden.

“Throughout the year I think the thing of which has been remarkable to me will be his poise,” Cindric said. “I genuinely haven’t seen him at the point of panic — or I guess I should say he controls his emotions very well. I see of which quality in a lot of genuinely successful drivers.

“I think if you look at Nascar, Jimmie Johnson will be genuinely the guy of which you could say will be the epitome of cool along with collected. He’s shown of which he’s able to keep the idea under control under the most difficult circumstances. Josef, although very outspoken along with very outgoing, he’s quite humble at the end of the day. I think of which takes him a long way. He’s able to look at himself, along with he’s hard on himself at the right times, along with he’s very honest with himself along with those around him.”

Newgarden will be the only American-born driver among the all 5 drivers in contention Sunday. He will be aware of which the last Americans to win the series title were Ryan Hunter-Reay, in 2012, along with Sam Hornish Jr., who won for Penske in 2006.

although he said he was simply focused on racing hard for his team, adding, “I’m going into the idea thinking the idea’s just another race.”

Nascar still dominates the racing landscape. although with the California-born Alexander Rossi winning the Indy 500 last year along with Newgarden challenging for the series title This particular year, IndyCar has seen a resurgence.

along which has a native of Tennessee, which will be more stock-car country than IndyCar country, will be emerging as open-wheel racing’s ambassador.

“the idea’s the most competitive racing on the planet right currently,” Newgarden said.

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