Josef Newgarden was the winner in Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series race at the famed Road America course, after starting the race from pole position.
Newgarden led all but two laps around the challenging road course, earning the 27-year-old his 10th career victory.
“It was a hard-fought day; it was not as easy as it looked,” Newgarden said after the race. “I was looking at my mirrors half the day at Ryan closing in on me. I think that Team Chevy engine made the difference. I had the fuel mileage that I needed, good power, good reliability – everything that you’d expect from Team Chevy. At the end of the day, to me, that’s what made the difference.”
Newgarden’s closest competition was Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, who crossed the finish line 3.759 seconds behind the Team Penske driver.
“It’s about all we had today,” Hunter-Reay said. “I thought the car was really good. I was hoping to make it a better show for the fans, I was hoping to get up there and make it interesting, but I gave it 110 percent the whole way. Big thanks to the #28 DHL team again, rock stars in the pit lane and continued consistency.”
Hunter-Reay’s fourth podium of the season moves him into second in the championship standings with 348 points, 45 behind leader Scott Dixon.
Dixon was able to bring his #9 PNC Bank Honda home in third place Sunday, after starting the race from the eighth spot on the grid.
“The PNC Bank car had a ton of speed, at the end there it was just track position,” said Dixon. Had we been able to crack in front of (Josef Newgarden or Ryan Hunter-Reay), I think we could have stayed in there, no problem.
Sunday’s race wasn’t without its share of controversy, on the first lap a move by Alexander Rossi sent Schmidt Peterson Motorsport’s Robert Wickens into the dirt.
“I made a move on Rossi in Turn 5, and suddenly I was P3,” Wickens said after the race. “I thought it was all happy days from there, but Alex got back on the inside of me in Turn 6 – I gave him space, he pushed me off, and I fell back to sixth.”
This isn’t the first time Rossi’s actions have negatively impacted Wickens’ performance. During the season opening race in St. Petersburg, Rossi sent then leader Wickens into the wall at Turn 1, with just two laps to go. Fortunately for Wickens, the incident at Road America seemed to have little impact on his final result, with the Canadian finishing the race in 5th.
2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power’s race was over before it even started, a mechanical issue on the opening lap forced the Australian into an early retirement.
“Literally from as soon as I started warming it up, there was something amiss,” said Power. “I have no clue. They replaced the exhaust and it still didn’t take, so the Chevy guys will take a deep look at it.”
Power’s misfortunes see the Team Penske driver fall from 2nd in the championship standings to 5th.
Up next the Verizon IndyCar Series heads to Iowa Speedway for the Iowa Corn 300 on Sunday.