News & Multimedia

New Champion Newgarden Shifts Sights to Next Big Goal: Winning Indy

Josef Newgarden admits winning the Verizon IndyCar Series championship didn’t sink in immediately after finishing second in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 17.

That result delivered Newgarden his first IndyCar championship in his initial season with Team Penske, prevailing by 13 points over teammate Simon Pagenaud. Still, the pinch-me moment came a few minutes later, when he climbed from his No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and was surrounded by media, teammates and family.

“When we crossed the finish line at Sonoma, I knew we had gotten it done,” Newgarden said. “We had talked about it on the radio. It wasn’t in that moment. It wasn’t until I got interviewed and I got out of the car, saw my family.

“You think about all of the work that goes in and all the effort goes in, that’s when it really hit me. I wanted to start bawling like a baby at that point. But I tried to hold everything back and make sure I got through the interview.”

Newgarden encountered another surreal championship moment Thursday when he visited the lobby of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Administration Building, expecting to conduct a few media interviews. Instead, he was surprised by seeing the media -- and nearly the entire IMS staff -- in the lobby to honor his title.

That celebration reminded Newgarden of the place he wants to enjoy his next life-changing moment – Victory Circle at IMS on Sunday, May 27, 2018 after winning the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Winning at Indy isn’t a hopeful ambition for Team Penske. It’s an expectation for drivers for the most successful team in North American open-wheel racing history. The “500” is the race team owner Roger Penske circles on his calendar in thicker ink than any other, as his team has won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” a record 16 times.

“It’s what built Team Penske’s legacy,” Newgarden said. “Driving for Roger, that’s what he wants to win. As drivers, it’s the one we want to win, too. It’s the hardest race to win.

“You only get one shot per year. We’re going to put that as our primary goal again next year and hope we get that one, too.”

Newgarden and all drivers in the field next May will face an additional variable, the sleek new aero kit that drew raves from fans, media and drivers during testing this summer.

The universal kit contains additional safety enhancements and is intended to deliver even greater on-track racing since most of the aerodynamic downforce will be generated from underneath the car. That will create less air turbulence for trailing cars, allowing for more overtaking opportunities.

A deep pool of resources and the experience of team owner Penske, team president Tim Cindric and the veteran Penske crew should help Newgarden and his teammates quickly unlock the secrets of speed for the new body kits next May at IMS.

The new aero kit also resembles the sleek rockets that raced at Indy in the 1980s and early 1990s. So it also doesn’t hurt Newgarden to be within arm’s reach of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Team Penske adviser Rick Mears, who ruled that era at the Brickyard.

“Roger has his hand on the pulse all the time,” Newgarden said. “He knows what’s going on. He’s going to give you what you need if you don’t have it.

“Any new variables, we’re pretty good at sorting through them quickly. I hope that’s what we’re able to do. If we do that, that should give us a good shot at potentially winning the race.

“I’m excited for it. I’m a little bit anxious, a little bit nervous. But that’s all good stuff. Having a new car, everyone – including the fans – is looking forward to that.”

Visit IMS.com for more information about the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Josef Newgarden 500
 
New Champion Newgarden Shifts Sights to Next Big Goal: Winning Indy
The surprise celebration at IMS reminded Newgarden of the place he wants to enjoy his next life-changing moment – Victory Circle at IMS on Sunday, May 27, 2018 after winning the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Read More
Related Media
Day 6
 
Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #6: Unser Family Reunion
The Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational is a weekend full of good times and even better vibes at IMS. The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association event is a racing museum in motion, as hundreds of vintage and historic cars are raced hard, as they were intended.
Read More
Day 7
 
Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #7: Farewell, Nicky and Jim
It’s always hard to say goodbye to dear friends. But the loss of Nicky Hayden and Jim Nabors hit especially hard for us in 2017 at IMS.
Read More
Day 8
 
Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #8: Keith Urban Lights Up Stage
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been known worldwide for great motorsports competition for 108 years. But the Racing Capital of the World also has welcomed some of the top musical artists in a variety of genres for live concerts over the last two decades.
Read More
Day 9
 
Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #9: Ken and John
DeLion, in his 23rd year on the Safety Patrol, continued to work at the track in his customary spot at the south pit gate even though he was diagnosed with colon cancer in late 2015. He learned that Andretti was at the track in early May of this year, and he told a writer interviewing him that he wanted to meet John and encourage him.
Read More
Day 10
 
Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #10: Prill Breaks Through
Stories flowed freely, like the sweat and tears of the winners, as America’s most prestigious amateur racing event, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time Sept. 25-Oct. 1.
Read More
Items 23 - 27 of 585
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at hospitalitysales@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21