Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden who drives the No.21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet has shown that he will be a Verizon IndyCar Series champion one day.
The American has had a great 2016. The season didn’t start too well however with a retirement from the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, he followed this up however with two top ten finishes in Phoenix and Long Beach.
Newgarden who stayed with Ed Carpenter Racing for 2016 after he took over CFH Racing at the end of last season took his first podium of the season when he finished the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the end of April. The month of May came around very quickly and at the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Newgarden started the race from 25th place and finished in 21st.
Qualifying for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil was an extremely busy time for all of the teams and at Ed Carpenter Racing it certainly was as they went from a two car to a three car team with JR Hildebrand joining the outfit dubbed ‘Team America’ joining Newgarden and team owner Ed Carpenter in the 33 car field.
Newgarden was so close to claiming pole position for the Indy 500 but he was just beaten right at the end of the session by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe which meant that Newgarden would start the race on the front row in second place alongside the Mayor of HinchTown.
In the race Newgarden did a great job and stayed out of trouble bringing his No.21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet home on the podium in third place behind race winner Alexander Rossi and Carlos Munoz in second place. Newgarden was also the leading Chevrolet driver in both qualifying and the race itself.
From Indianapolis the Verizon IndyCar Series moved on to the double header Chevrolet Dual in Detroit. In race one Newgarden started from 14th and that is where he finished the event.
In race two however, Newgarden started from 17th place and stayed out of trouble throughout the race to finish in fourth place just behind Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter Reay.
At the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway in June, Newgarden was involved in a huge crash with Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly which resulted in him sustaining a broken right wrist and a broken right clavicle, however the injuries didn’t stop him. Newgarden underwent surgery and remarkably he was back in the race seat of the No.21 Chevrolet for the very next race at Road America where he started the race from 20th place and came home in eighth place.
The Iowa Corn 300 would prove to be a fantastic race for both Newgarden and the Verizon IndyCar Series. Newgarden in the No.21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet started the race from the front row alongside pole sitter Simon Pagenaud and took the lead from the get go overtaking Pagenaud going into turn 1.
Newgarden never looked back taking his first victory of the season and his maiden oval win and not only that he made Verizon IndyCar Series history by leading 282 laps which is a new record and headed to the Honda Indy Toronto in second place in the points standings.
In Toronto however he had a disappointing race. Starting from eighth place on the grid on lap 57 his made contact with the barriers at turn 5 and retired from the race dropping him to fifth place in the series standings.
All was not lost however as at the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio sports car course in Lexington on Sunday Newgarden started the race from third place just behind Will Power and pole sitter Simon Pagenaud. Newgarden finished the race in 10th place having been involved in a pit-road incident with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Mikhail Aleshin.
As a result of Newgarden’s top ten finish he has now moved up one place in the Verizon IndyCar Series to fourth having overtaken reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon who retired from the race.
Newgarden is in fourth place on 364 points just nine points behind Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.
Newgarden moving up the order in the series standings is great news for the American driver as he has just three races remaining in his Verizon IndyCar Series season due to the fact that he will miss the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The series finale, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will be a double points race so for Newgarden who is 120 points behind leader Simon Pagenaud there are still 200 points on the table for him.
Newgarden is also the first none Team Penske driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series points standings heading to the next race, the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.