Josef Newgarden is officially a free agent with Ed Carpenter Racing confirming on Thursday that the American has left the team.

The announcement comes amid intense speculation surrounding Newgarden who has been linked with Juan Pablo Montoya’s seat at Team Penske. Newgarden secured his highest Verizon IndyCar Series championship finish in 2016 ending the year in fourth place.

The American took victory in Iowa and secured a front row start for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil a race which saw him finish on the podium in third place behind Alexander Rossi and Carlos Munoz. Penske is not the only team interested in Newgarden.

At the IndyCar Grand Prix of Watkins Glen earlier this month reports emerged that Chip Ganassi is also interested in signing Newgarden.

Scott Dixon who won the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship is the only one of Ganassi’s four drivers to have been confirmed for the 2017 season. Juan Pablo Montoya is the only Penske driver whose contract is up and both Tim Cindric and Roger Penske have said that it will be at least a month before they make a decision about 2017.

Newgarden went on holiday to Hawaii following the final race of the season and has been quiet on social media. It will be interesting to see what his next move is.

 

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