Newgarden welcomes international opposition in IndyCar

Two-time IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden says he welcomes the arrival of young talent such as Alex Palou and Pato O'Ward from other countries and formulas to dispute the NTT IndyCar Series.

Newgarden welcomes international opposition in IndyCar

The Team Penske-Chevrolet ace would need Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda’s Alex Palou not to start this weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to have a chance at a third crown, as he lies 48 points in arrears, and a win is worth only 50 points (not including bonus points).

But Newgarden insists he’s not resentful of the fact that Palou, a Spaniard, appears to be a lock for the title, and that his chief opposition is Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet’s ace from Mexico.

“There's a great deal of pride amongst all of us that we have such amazing talent in this championship,” said the Hendersonville, TN native. “It makes it more meaningful, I think, when you do a good job.

“So these guys should be really proud of what they've done, and to be here at the finale and still have somehow an opportunity – I think it's almost an impossible opportunity – but to be in the fight is really cool.

“It's fun competing against these two because in this championship you want to compete against the best from around the world, and to see what Pato is doing with the contingent from México and to see how invigorated Spain is becoming, the fellow countrymen of Alex, is just what this championship is about.

“You want the best from around the world competing and trying to showcase their abilities. I'm excited to compete against them.

“I'm disappointed we're not in a better position. I wish this was more of a true fight here for this final round and we could be closer, but we fought hard and I think we fought against the best this year. Whoever comes out on top, I think, is a very deserving winner between those guys.”

He added later: “It's been a real pleasure driving with these guys. They're incredibly talented, and I love to see that coming into the IndyCar Series.”

Asked by Motorsport.com if he felt any obligation to help O’Ward’s chances, as a fellow Chevrolet driver, Newgarden replied: “No. Seriously, we're not in a position where we can help Pato. We're in the fight ourselves, so we have to look out for our own position.

“I would love to see it in the Chevy camp this championship, whether it's me or Pato. But we're not in a position, I think. I don't even know how we would help him, to be quite honest with you. I'm not sure that we would do anything that would be overt to clearly help him somehow win the championship.”

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