"I was full Throttle the Whole race" Newgarden won 3rd Texas IndyCar Race
Josef Newgarden - PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway - By: Chris Owens
He did it again! After snatching the race away from the leader in 2022, Josef Newgarden went and won his third Texas race after a disappointing finish at the last race- that was the season opener.
2022 was good for Newwgarden also won the 600th race for Penske and is now off to a good start, making him a leading name in racing.
Newgarden is a difference maker. There were 5 cars on the lead lap at the end.
"We had a good combination today of a pack race, and a difference maker and that is how I like it. I don't like a full-pack race all the way to the end. We have to be able to use our skills and think of entertainment. I think today was a good mix.
But his last race was not so fun for the very positive Newgarden.
"We are on the board now," Newgarden said, reflecting back to his last race, with a bit of a sigh of relief. As if he really thought he wasn't going to get there. Newgarden is a leading competitor in IndyCar, and so is Pato O'Ward who gave Newgarden a run for his money.
TWO DIFFERENCE MAKERS:
Newgarden won at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday for the second consecutive year when a thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle with Pato O'Ward came to a sudden halt by a crash behind them.
Newgarden and O'Ward -- at one point the only two drivers on the lead lap -- frantically swapped the lead over and over during the final third of the race, and neither showed any inclination to lift off the gas in the fight for the win. The two even bumped wheels at nearly 215 mph with two laps remaining.
But Romain Grosjean crashed while running fifth as the leaders took the white flag, IndyCar threw the caution, and Newgarden won under yellow.
Asked if he was holding anything back to save a burst of energy at the end, Newgarden said that was not his strategy.
"I was full throttle the whole race- I gave it everything the whole race it is a one time deal" he told the media after the race.
ESPN reported on the race:
It was the third career victory at Texas for Newgarden, who won in a Chevrolet for Team Penske. He led a race-high 123 of the 250 laps.
Newgarden held steady in a back-and-forth battle with Pato O'Ward to earn a second straight win at Texas Motor Speedway. Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Driving in a Chevy for Arrow McLaren, O'Ward has opened the IndyCar season with back-to-back second-place finishes. He nearly won the opener at St. Petersburg, Florida, until an engine blip allowed him to be passed by Marcus Ericsson for the victory.
O'Ward, who led 91 laps and used three-wide moves to stay at the front, is IndyCar's new points leader.
Alex Palou finished third for Chip Ganassi Racing and was followed by David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing and Ganassi driver Scott Dixon in a pack of Honda-powered drivers.
Scott McLaughlin of Penske was sixth and followed by Colton Herta, in his first race without his father, Bryan, as his strategist in a personnel change made at Andretti Autosport.
Only seven drivers finished on the lead lap.
"We were losing pretty significantly in the middle and he almost won. Pato was doing great and very fast. We had some difference strategies. When he was asking for more wing, I was asking for less," Newgarden told the media.
Asked about what made him so confident and what he was thinking about winning, Newgarden said: "I call it the Jimmie Johnson effect. He gave us all confidence last year to show us how he could come from NASCAR and drive IndyCar like that, and there was also some good downforce. You can't think of the potential of winning, you need to go flat out and drive these cars, which is almost impossible compared to what these cars can do, Newgarden said in the post-race interview with NTT IndyCar.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES race was perfectly described as “beautiful chaos.”
“Pato gave me all the respect in the world when he was racing next to me,” Newgarden said. “It was really hard to fight those guys. I think (Alex) Palou was super strong, too. There are just no gimmes. It was packed up today, and very difficult to get away.
“There were parts when we were good, parts when we were weaker. But when we needed to be good, the car was there at the end.”
Newgarden, who led a race-high 123 laps, averaged 169.917 mph for his 26th career NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory. Newgarden, from Nashville, Tennessee, also extended his streak to nine consecutive seasons with at least one victory.
2021 season champion Palou finished third in the No. 10 The American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, followed by David Malukas in the No. 18 HMD Trucking Honda in an impressive performance for the series sophomore driving for one of the smallest teams in the series.
“My new word for this week is going to be ‘beautiful chaos,’” Malukas said. “I loved it. I was having a blast.”
Six-time series champion Scott Dixon rounded out the top five in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, as CGR placed two cars in the top five. O’Ward took the championship lead by seven points over St. Petersburg winner Marcus Ericsson with his second consecutive runner-up finish of the season.
“I was timing the tow, but it’s been a hell of a start to the year,” O’Ward said. “The guys gave me an absolute rocket ship. Everybody that was watching the race midway through pretty sure saw that.”
Indeed. The dramatic, two-wide, three-deep pack racing that unfolded on the high-banked Texas asphalt over the closing 20 laps was a dramatic contrast to O’Ward’s breathtaking speed and dominance halfway through the race.
O’Ward took the lead for the first time on Lap 109. By Lap 160, he had lapped the entire 28-car field except for Newgarden, who was nearly six seconds behind in second.
But O’Ward’s imperious march was halted when teammate and NTT P1 Award winner Felix Rosenqvist crashed his No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet in Turn 4 on Lap 179.
That incident unleashed a high-speed game of tactical chess on track and on pit stands up and down the field for the remaining laps, as drivers and strategists devised the optimal time to pit for fuel and tires. It was half-smarts, half-dice roll.
Six cars that were one lap down got the wave-around to the lead lap when O’Ward and Newgarden pitted alone as the sole cars on the lead lap with 68 laps remaining.
That regroup spawned the wild, thrilling side-by-side racing that filled every inch of the racing groove over the last 57 laps. After the restart on Lap 193 following Rosenqvist’s crash, there were 14 lead changes among five different drivers.
O’Ward and Newgarden swapped the lead five times in the last eight laps before Grosjean’s race-ending incident while he was dicing and slicing with the lead pack, too, in his most impressive oval race performance yet.
Newgarden grabbed the front on Lap 242, with O’Ward reclaiming the top spot one lap later. Then it was Newgarden’s turn to take the point one trip later on Lap 244, with O’Ward nosing ahead on Lap 247.
Then Newgarden finally got in front just in time on Lap 249, just a few exhilarating breaths before the yellow flag flew for the last time. In total, the race featured 26 lead changes among eight drivers.
Newgarden will split $10,000 with Team Penske and his chosen charities, SeriousFun Children’s Network and Wags and Walks Nashville, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.
The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 16 on the streets of Long Beach, California. Live coverage starts at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.