No. 2 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Start: 1st – 12th-career NTT INDYCAR SERIES P1 Award
Laps Completed: 70/70
Laps Led: 67
Points Position: 4th (-51 pts)
Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet team came close to sweeping the second day of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix weekend on the Streets of Belle Isle before a late-race pass by Pato O’Ward dropped him to second when the race took the checkered.
During the morning qualifying session, Newgarden scored his 12th-career pole position as he jumped to the top of the scoring pylon with just seconds left on the clock in the Firestone Fast 12 qualifying session.
When the green flag waived to start the second race of the doubleheader weekend, Newgarden wasted little time in jumping out to a commanding lead of 17 seconds on the Firestone primary tire. However, a critical moment happened late in the first stint when Newgarden was forced to pit lane several laps ahead of schedule for another round of Firestone primary tires due to a possible caution on the track.
The early call resulted in Newgarden having to run the final 25 laps of the race on a set of the Firestone alternate “red” tires that each driver must use for one stint of a road or street course race. The softer compound was not as durable and as the tire started to go away, Newgarden fell back into the clutches of O’Ward, who made the pass with just three laps remaining.
Quote: “It’s hard not to be disappointed. I think we had the car to beat. It’s just cautions when we didn’t need them and the wrong tires when we didn’t need them. It was a fun strategy. I think we were doing well. It’s just the caution that killed us. My rears were shot. And we didn’t really need that. So, it is what it is. We tried. We went for what we went for. I don’t want to second guess too much. It just didn’t fall our way there at the end, so that’s pretty sad. Obviously, Team Chevy won still. So, I’m very happy for all our partners. Team Chevy does a lot for us, so to get a one-two is a big thing here in Detroit. I’m super happy about that.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!