Breakthrough: Young IndyCar Rookie Josef Newgarden Claims 2nd in Baltimore
Being thrown into the fire with the ‘Big Boys’ after riding high with an Indy Lights title at age 20 isn’t easy.
But after taking his lumps, Josef Newgarden has finally broken through.
The young racer, who’s been facing a less-than-ideal season with his Sarah Fisher Hartman crew, clawed his way to his first IndyCar podium finish in Baltimore this past Saturday – emphatically grabbing second place following a grueling battle.
Smashing through extreme heat, six extended caution periods and multiple crashes, the young phenom found glory despite the extreme challenges before him.
Starting in fifth, Josef fell back as far as 19th before powering his way forward through the field.
“I don’t know how I finished second to be honest with you,” he said. “I got hit probably six or seven times in the rear. I know I slammed into people myself from getting hit. I don’t even know how to describe this race to anybody. I think everyone had some good and bad luck. Fortunately the good luck cycled at the end of the race for us and we finished off great.”
It was definitely a result that ran against all odds.
The 22-year-old found his way at the back of a multiple car crash on Lap 47 – and although he escaped unscathed, Josef had an uphill battle coming in trying to regain lost ground.
He passed the test with flying colors, also successfully maneuvering around two more collisions before moving into second behind Simon Pagenaud.
“We wanted to challenge Simon (Pagenaud) but we had a bit of a brake mishap at the end,” Josef said. "We were really struggling with trying to keep the pedal solid. I think the heat was getting to everybody today. It was really difficult to keep the cars cool and it definitely bit us at the end.”
“I think we just boiled the temperature too much in the calipers and the fluid was boiled over. As soon as that happens it’s so hard to get it back. The tires were fine I just couldn’t brake. I was doing everything I could to hold Sebastien (Bourdais) off at that point. I don’t know what would have happened if I could have raced Simon at the end, but I really think we would have given him a run for his money and had a shot. It would have been fun. Simon and I are friends, he’s a good guy and I would have liked to race him. Second place is a great result for our team though, and we’ll take it.”
Congratulations to Josef on his highest IndyCar finish to date in his young career!