Team Penske’s defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden in the No.1 Hitachi Chevrolet says it is fitting that 224 days after the 202 season was due to start with the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg which was abandoned in March will end this weekend with the series crowning their 2020 champion.
Newgarden has had a fantastic second half of the season and has closed the gap in the race for his third title from over 100 to just 32 points behind five time series champion Scott Dixon.
Newgarden has to win the race on Sunday, score all bonus points, equally 54 points, the maximum while hoping the Iceman finishes the race in ninth or lower or retires from the event.
Speaking to Paddock Eye during a Zoom media call on Wednesday, Newgarden said:
I’m excited, just like Scott. It’s kind of fitting that we come full circle this with. It was odd to be there at the beginning of the year when everything fell apart, not just in INDYCAR but the world really. To be able to finally come back and run the race is great. To have some fans there is fantastic. Hopefully have a little bit of energy.
It’s obviously different having the fans, the way they’re able to be into the track, social distancing, masks, all that. It’s going to be a different energy, but somewhat to have energy back is really pleasing to see.
Great effort by everybody. Like Scott mentioned, a lot of people to put this together the whole year without knowing we were going to have that. Just thankful we’re able to go back there and race this season. I think it’s going to be a really fun time in October. It’s a different ending for us than we’ve seen in INDYCAR.
We’re all pumped. Team is ready. Feel good. We’ll go to try to have a great weekend.