Captain's Corner - Josef Newgarden on his first Penske IndyCar win

The most recent race winner for Team Penske talks about his assimilation to his new team.

Captain's Corner - Josef Newgarden on his first Penske IndyCar win
Race winner Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda, Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

From the outside, Team Penske can seem a little stiff and sterile, but I’ve been surprised that’s not the case at all. Let me be clear, from a professional perspective, I never have doubted my choice to join Team Penske for even a second. However, I did wonder how my personality and the way that I choose to operate within the framework would fit.

It didn’t take long to for me to realize that apprehension, which is probably a little too strong of a word, was unfounded. Roger Penske speaks of human capital being the team’s greatest strength. That’s the truth. The people at Team Penske are the finest. Everyone takes what they do very seriously, but that can’t be confused as not being close minded or robotic.

I’ve meshed and integrated without even the slightest bobble. In fact, I’m a little amazed at how easy it has been. We all want to win and work very hard at that, but we have plenty of fun along the way. It’s practically the perfect proportion of professional and personal.

Throughout my career I’ve never really had the benefit of having teammates on a full-time basis. Most of the time, I was a team of one. That is definitely not the case now. My teammates – Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power – are fantastic and we get along extremely well. Within the structure of Team Penske and the way they go about their business it’s crucial that we are able to coexist at a high level. It’s four teams that make one and the goal is to win races regardless of which one. And I think that is perhaps the greatest single strength.

On the competition side, all of the data, thoughts, concepts and opinions are shared. The level of what can be learned in the framework is amazing. Those three drivers and their respective race teams are very accomplished and each brings something a little different to the table. The fact that we get along as people, beyond being race car drivers, is a requirement for all intents and purposes. It would be challenging to share to the extent that we do if there was any jealousy or animosity of any kind. Honestly, I never worried about getting along with them as people, but when I was on the outside looking in, I did wonder what that looked like.

Additional strengths of Team Penske are the resources and experience. That’s not a secret. Everyone in the sport is fully aware of that, but until you experience it first hand, you don’t realize the full scope of it. The first time I walked into the shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, I was overwhelmed.

They’ve definitely taken what they’ve learned over the years and adapted it to continue the success that started more than 50 years ago. Everything is certainly about winning races and championships, but we’re able to learn from that and pave the road for the future.

This past weekend, we were able to put our No. 2 Chevrolet in Victory Lane at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama and that was a tremendous experience. It really was a team win in the truest sense. Without the whole conglomeration of our four-car operation, it would not have been possible. The level on which we lean on one another is real and a critical element of the success. I don’t have the words to express my thanks to them and I look forward to helping each of them when they are in position to win a race.

Sure, we all want to win for ourselves, but we don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal of Team Penske success.

I’m truly honored to be a part of Team Penske and play a small role in the continuation of the greatest legacy in motorsports. 

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