Newgarden to ‘go for broke’ in IndyCar finale

Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden says he is set to “go for broke” in a bid to win the IndyCar Series at this weekend’s Laguna Seca finale.

The Team Penske driver slipped to 20 points back from Will Power after starting the Portland weekend only three in arrears.

Furthermore, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon has strengthened his position relative to Newgarden, with those two now tied for second in the series after the New Zealander finished third in Portland and the Tennessean only eighth.

It means that neither would hold the Astor Cup aloft this Sunday afternoon (local time) if Power can finish on the podium at Laguna Seca, something which he has done in just over half (eight) of the 15 races held in the year to date.

Newgarden has won five races to the Queenslander’s one, but has failed to finish on the podium at any other time.

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He has all but conceded that he is a somewhat outside chance of adding a third title to those which he achieved in 2017 and 2019, this time around.

“At this point, it just kind of is what it is,” admitted the 31-year-old.

“We’re going to try to win that race and go for broke.

“It’s been kind of a weird year. Everyone has done such a great job on this 2 car.

“I’m so proud and happy with everybody. They’ve really put a good effort together.

“It’s either been winning the race or some weird luck has happened.

“We didn’t need that yellow. Obviously, it helps some people and hurts others.

“We just seem to be on the odd end of these things and they’re not working out.

“I don’t know how Laguna is going to play out.

“We’re going to go and play to win. We’ll see what happens.”

‘That yellow’ to which Newgarden refers was the only Caution period of the Portland race.

The field had not long completed the third and final pit stop cycle when Rinus VeeKay put Jimmie Johnson into the wall on Lap 84.

When everyone bunched up, Car #2 was the only one in the top 10 on primary tyres, and it fell from fourth to ninth in the five laps after the restart, only recovering one spot thereafter due to a mishap for Christian Lundgaard.

“I think the obvious one was that we didn’t predict the Caution,” said Newgarden regarding tyre strategy.

“There’s always the risk that a Caution comes out in that final stint. I wasn’t thinking about that; we went green [almost] the entire race.

“I thought the primary tyres would probably have better durability at the end. That argument holds up a little better with no Caution.

“We just got hosed when we had to restart with all reds [around us]. I was blown away at how much better everyone was on them, especially in the Caution situations.

“That just did not play into our favour, unfortunately.

“It’s a hard day where we really gained nothing after a tough start spot [eighth, due to a grid penalty].

“We’ll regroup and take our Team Chevy car with Hitachi to Laguna and try to be fast.”

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