Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden who will have Verizon sponsorship for the No.1 Chevrolet at Gateway Motorsports Park says he is looking forward to this weekend’s final oval event of the season, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500.
Paddock Eye spoke to the Tennessee native during a media teleconference on Wednesday.
I’ve got two questions for you. First one is how do you expect the new aero kit to perform this weekend, given that you’ve never run at Gateway before, and also you’re going to be running at night, so the track temperatures are going to be cooler? And then my second question is how do you think you’re going to perform in Portland, obviously, as it’s a new venue?
Well, I’m excited for both. I don’t have a bunch of information on Gateway. We’ve not been there, so we have no data to look at. We’ve got nothing to go off of really. I’ve got to hope that it’s going to be like Phoenix. Phoenix to me was an improved show. Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but I think it was much better than the year before. There’s big tire dropoff. Even at nighttime, because that’s a nighttime race, too, so I am hoping it’s going to race like Phoenix, but I don’t know yet. We’ve not been there, so I can’t give you a strong answer.
When it comes to Portland, Newgarden said:
And then for Portland, I’m just really excited for a new track. It’s been some years since I got to go to a new racetrack, and I always love that challenge of having to figure out really quickly, and everyone is going to be on top of their toes trying to figure out the track as quickly as possible. That to me is a fun challenge and one I think we’re pretty ready for. We’ve been doing as much research about the place as possible, and I think we’re as prepared as we can be without actually testing there.
Newgarden goes into this weekend’s race in third place in the championship race and speaking ahead of the event he said:
Gateway is a race I’m really focused on and a place I’d love to get another win at. It was a great battle between my teammate Simon Pagenaud and myself last year. Definitely an exciting race for the fans and a fun one for us racers. We’ve stayed in the same spot in championship points, but we’ve got to do better. The No. 1 Verizon Chevy team is working really hard to give me the best car possible, so we’re really ready for a good run there to get as many points as we can and try and advance in the standings.
Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power is looking forward to the race this weekend:
Definitely looking forward to Gateway this coming weekend. It’s a really fun track to race at, being a short oval. We’ve had a good streak of finishes the past few races for the No. 12 Verizon Chevy, but we really need to keep that up to gain more championship points. Scott Dixon has been so consistent and running really well, so we have to keep trying to outperform him and get another win. The whole No. 12 Verizon team is really focused and we’re ready to put our best foot forward and get another win.”
Simon Pagenaud who enjoyed a great battle with Josef Newgarden at last year’s race in Gateway commented by saying:
I’m pretty excited. It’s been a good track for us. Our short oval program has been good this year. We’ve got three races left so we’re ready to score big points and plan to be pretty aggressive there and hopefully get a win for the No. 22 Menards Chevy soon.”