Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA USA

Three IndyCar runner-up finishes won’t alter Newgarden’s approach

Two-time IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden, who’s been beaten to the title for the last three years, sees no need to change his approach ahead of the 2023 season.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Newgarden, who won the championship in 2017 and ’19, over the last three years has been defeated by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Alex Palou, and last year Team Penske-Chevrolet teammate Will Power.

But Newgarden, the most prolific race-winner over that period with 11 victories, said that he sees no reason to change how he tackles a season.

“I don't think we're going to change much,” he said. “I don't know that we need to change anything as far as our approach or process. I think everything that we're doing is what we need to be doing.

“IndyCar just has that intangible side to it where you just can't predict everything. You do need a little bit of… I don't want say ‘luck’ but you need the tides to favor you at times. It's preparation, hard work, maximizing each day, then timing needs to be on your side. Sort of the tides need to flow for you.

“I think most of everything went well for us last year. There were just too many events, just a couple too many races that didn't go our way that we needed to.”

Newgarden scored five wins in 2022 compared with one for Power – who himself finished as points runner-up three times, 2010-’12 – but came up short by 10 points, largely thanks to a mechanical DNF at Iowa and a clash with two rivals in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Falling short again, he admitted, “gnaws at me for sure. It's annoying, there's no doubt. How could you not be frustrated by it, right? I think it's normal, very frustrating. I try and take the frustration and just put it into motivation.”

Consequently, Newgarden is now thinking in terms of trying to build an insurmountable lead in points before the season finale.

“How are we going to build a bigger gap where that's not even possible?” he said. “I don't even want to be messing with it at the end of the year. In an ideal world, if we get to the end of a season where we don't have to mess with the gap, if we can just get that out of the way, that would be ideal. That's where my mindset is at: How do we get to that place where it's not even on the table, it's just done?

“I think I'm not arrogant enough to believe that that's easy. It seems near impossible these days to do that. I think that's valid. It's very difficult to do that. I understand that. But I still want to find a way where we can get to a place where we don't have to mess with it.”

Newgarden, now 32, believes that the best thing he can do is accept that some of his fate is out of his hands and that it’s his job to simply maximize every area where he can make a difference.

“It's my opinion there's that intangible you can't control,” he remarked. “When I analyze other drivers and the seasons they've had, even my own, sometimes timing just seems to work out really well for certain teams and individuals. That's a thing you can't control, unfortunately, right?

“With that kind of comes peace of mind. I focus on controlling how can we build the best cars possible to give ourselves the best speed, how can we make the best decisions we can strategy-wise, position-wise. You really just have to hope that the timing blesses you throughout the year as well.

“I am so positive, when we get a year where we get good timing paired with great speed and decisions, it will be a great year. It will be really great. Much better than what we had last year.”

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: IndyCar Series

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Robb: Physical prep for IndyCar is rookie's toughest task
Next article Kanaan still undecided if his 22nd Indy 500 will be his last

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA USA