Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hitachi Chevrolet couldn’t hide his delight as he secured his second NTT IndyCar Series championship in three years at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday.
The Tennessee native came home in eighth place which is all he needed to claim the championship by 25 points over his team mate and Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 DXC Technology Chevrolet.
Speaking following the race an emotional Newgarden said:
“I guess that’s your role as a champion is to push that message and just to be a positive light for that. “That’s really all I can do. I don’t know if I can move the ball further by doing anything else significant. I mean, it’s going to take all of us pushing in this common direction to try and push the sport forward. You know, it’ll take me, it’ll take guys like (Alexander) Rossi and Simon (Pagenaud) and Will (Power), and it will take all of us I think to keep pushing the sport forward, and that’s what we will plan on doing.”
Team owner and founder Roger Penske commented saying:
Josef, a great champion. You can see it in his eyes. “You could see it the first time he won with us, and with Will and Simon, who just had an outstanding season, when you think about three wins and certainly the Indy 500 is the crown jewel that all of us want to have every year.
“But the season was great, the poles and the competition. We’ve got a lot of young drivers coming up, (Felix) Rosenqvist came in, Colton Herta outstanding, and then it’s the (Scott) Dixons and the rest of them that you have to race every single day, and Michael (Andretti) has got a great team, Chip (Ganassi) does, and obviously the folks over at Arrow, and it’s just on and on and on. I probably missed somebody. But the competition has never been better.”
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet finished the race in second place and speaking following the event he said:
It was very impressive. Yeah, I mean he (Colton Herta) does a great job. I was hoping he would make a little mistake, but no mistakes. Man, I was giving it everything I got. I think we had a slightly quicker car, but he hung on. Yeah, he’s going to be tough when he gets a bit of experience.”
Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 DXC Technology Chevrolet was delighted with how the racexwent and was happy to have won the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and speaking following the race he said:
Overall I thought it was an amazing race. I thought we gave a great show for the fans, and it was a great crowd out here today, and there’s nothing to be disappointed about. I tried as hard as I could all weekend. You saw me drive with my heart. I won Indianapolis this year. There’s nothing to be disappointed about. We finished second. That’s the second time we’re second in the championship. We won the championship in ’16. I think the numbers talk for themselves. Do I want to win the championship? Of course. But I’m just equally happy for Josef and the whole team, to wrap up the Indy 500 and the championship in one year is just absolutely incredible. I had a blast. I had a blast today. It was disappointing not to get Dixon because I really thought I had a shot for the win and Herta. But it is what it is. I tried everything I had and it didn’t work out.”