Newgarden to make 200th IndyCar career start at Long Beach

With a new season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition underway, Josef Newgarden is primed to achieve a milestone start. By competing in this weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on the Streets of Long Beach, California, the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion, two-time IndyCar champion and driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet will reach career start No. 200 in the IndyCar circuit. 

A native of Hendersonville, Tennessee, Newgarden’s racing career commenced through karts before ascending through the open-wheel ranks including Skip Barber, Formula Ford, GP3 Series and Indy Lights. He claimed the 2011 title and made his inaugural presence in the IndyCar Series at the start of the 2012 season, where Sarah Fisher Hartman signed him. Driving the No. 67 Honda for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, Newgarden started 19th and finished 11th in his IndyCar debut. He would achieve a front-row starting spot at the Streets of Long Beach and notch a total of five top-15 results and an average-finishing result of 18.2 through 14 starts before settling in 23rd place in the final standings with 200 points.  

The following two seasons, Newgarden remained at Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and competed in the team’s No. 67 entry in all but one event, where he piloted the No. 21 entry during the 2013 Indianapolis 500. Throughout both seasons, he achieved his maiden podium result in the form of a runner-up finish during the 2013 Grand Prix of Baltimore at the Streets of Baltimore before notching another runner-up result at Iowa Speedway in 2014. After finishing in 14th place in the final driver’s standings with 348 points, he ended up one spot better, 13th, in 2015 with 406 points. 

In 2015, Newgarden, who competed in a Chevrolet for CFH Racing following a merged partnership between Sarah Fisher and Ed Carpenter and finished no higher than seventh during the season’s first three events, captured his maiden IndyCar victory in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in April after leading a race-high 46 laps. He finished in the top 10 twice during his next five series’ starts before notching his second career victory in the Honda Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place in June. Managing two runner-up results and his maiden pole position at the Milwaukee Mile throughout the final six events on the schedule, Newgarden climbed his way up to seventh place in the final driver’s standings with 431 points. By then, he had racked up four podium results, including two victories, 345 laps led and an average-finishing result of 10.8. 

The following season, owner Sarah Fisher withdrew from IndyCar and Newgarden’s team was rebranded to Ed Carpenter Racing, with the Tennessee native piloting the No. 21 Chevrolet. Newgarden would achieve a front-row starting spot for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 along with two podiums and six top-10 results through the first nine-scheduled events before notching his first victory of the season at Iowa Speedway in July.

A month before the victory at Iowa, he was involved in a harrowing accident on Lap 42 when Conor Daly, whom Newgarden was battling with, got loose underneath Newgarden entering Turn 4 and shot back across the track as he sent Newgarden pinned against the wall before the latter rolled upside-down and made another head-on contact into the wall after being pushed by Daly’s car. Amid the wild wreck, Newgarden, who survived the wreck, suffered a broken hand and clavicle, but would not miss any events. Managing a runner-up result at Watkins Glen International and three top-10 results during the final five events on the schedule, Newgarden ended up in fourth place in the final standings with 502 points and an average-finishing result of 9.9. 

The 2017 season was a breakthrough year for Newgarden, who departed Ed Carpenter Racing and replaced two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya to drive the No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet for Team Penske. After commencing the season by finishing eighth at the Streets of St. Peterburg followed by a third-place run at the Streets of Long Beach, Newgarden captured his first victory as a Penske competitor at Barber Motorsports Park in April after leading the final 14 laps. He would then record two runner-up finishes and five top-10 results during his next eight starts before notching a dominant victory at the Streets of Toronto in July.

After winning for a second consecutive week at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in late July, Newgarden assumed the points lead for the first time in his career. He would retain the points lead following a runner-up result at Pocono Raceway, a dramatic victory at World Wide Technology Raceway in August and an 18th-place finish at Watkins Glen between August and September.

Then during the season-finale event at Sonoma Raceway, which marked his 100th career start in the IndyCar circuit, Newgarden, who led a race-high 41 laps and came into the event with a four-point lead in the standings, finished in second place behind teammate Simon Pagenaud and clinched his maiden IndyCar Series championship by 13 points over Pagenaud and 21 over four-time champion Scott Dixon. As a result, Newgarden became the first American-born competitor to win an IndyCar title since Ryan Hunter-Reay made the last accomplishment in 2012 and he delivered the 15th IndyCar title for car owner Roger Penske. In addition to winning his first IndyCar championship, Newgarden notched a career-high nine podiums, including his four victories, 390 laps led and a career-best average-finishing result of 6.1. 

Entering the 2018 season as the reigning champion, Newgarden finished seventh in St. Petersburg before claiming his first victory of the season during the following scheduled event at Phoenix Raceway. Despite winning at Barber Motorsports Park two races later, the Tennessee native would lose the points lead in May and would spend the remainder of the season flirting within the top five in the standings. Ultimately, he would notch his third victory of the season at Road America in June and a total of 13 top-10 results and a career-high four poles throughout the 17-race schedule before settling in fifth place in the final standings with 560 points and an average-finishing result of 7.1. 

Newgarden commenced the 2019 season by winning the season opener at St. Petersburg, where he led 60 laps before notching two podiums and four top-four results during the following five events. He would then win the first of a Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader feature at The Raceway on Belle Isle, Michigan, in June before proceeding to win at Texas the following weekend and at Iowa in July. To go along with a total of seven podiums and 14 top-10 results throughout the 17-race schedule, Newgarden, who led the championship standings in all but one event, secured his second IndyCar championship following an eighth-place finish in the season-finale Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and edging teammate Simon Pagenaud for the title by 25 points. With his championship, Newgarden led 490 laps and achieved an average-finishing result of 5.6. 

Throughout the 2020 season which was shortened to 14 events amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Newgarden won four races: Iowa Speedway in July, World Wide Technology Raceway in August, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course and the season-finale event at St. Petersburg in October. Despite finishing in the top 10 in all but two events, notching a career-high average-finishing result of 5.2, leading 455 laps and never dropping below the top five in the standings, Newgarden fell short of winning his third IndyCar title by 16 points over Scott Dixon, who notched his sixth title. 

In 2021, which marked his 10th season as an IndyCar competitor, Newgarden commenced the season with a 23rd-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park after being involved in a multi-car wreck on the opening lap. He would rally by finishing in the runner-up spot three times and accumulate six top-10 results during his next eight starts before achieving his first elusive victory of the season at Mid-Ohio in July, where he led all but seven of 80 scheduled laps. Three races later, he would fend off a hard-charging Pato O’Ward to win at World Wide Technology Raceway in August and draw himself into championship contention. Despite finishing no lower than seventh during the final three events on the schedule, Newgarden, who recorded an average-finishing result of 7.3 and six podiums, including his two season victories, ended up in the runner-up spot in the final driver’s standings for a second consecutive season as he fell short of winning the title by 38 points to Alex Palou. 

Newgarden commenced the 2022 season by rallying from finishing 16th at St. Petersburg to notch back-to-back victories at Texas and the Streets of Long Beach. After finishing no higher than 13th during his next three events, which dropped him from first to fifth in the standings, he rallied by finishing fourth at Belle Isle before scoring his third victory of the season at Road America.

Despite winning the first Iowa Speedway doubleheader feature in July and at World Wide Technology Raceway in August, Newgarden, who dealt with inconsistent results and no additional podiums outside of his victories throughout the season, managed to climb his way up to the runner-up spot in the standings on the strength of five top-eight results during the final five events on the schedule. Despite finishing in the runner-up spot during the finale at Laguna Seca, he settled in the runner-up spot in the final standings for a third consecutive season and missed the title by 16 points over teammate Will Power amid a year where he won a career-high five races, six podiums, three poles, led 527 laps and ended up with an average-finishing result of 8.2.  

This past season, Newgarden rallied from finishing 17th at St. Petersburg before prevailing in a late battle against Pato O’Ward to win at Texas in early April. Then four races later, the Tennessee native triumphed for the first time in the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after overtaking reigning Indy 500 champion Marcus Ericsson on the final lap amid a one-lap shootout. The Indy 500 victory, which marked Newgarden’s 12th attempt to accomplish the feat, made Newgarden the 75th different competitor to win the event as he became the first American competitor to win the event since Alexander Rossi made the last accomplishment in 2016.

In addition, Newgarden delivered the 19th Indy 500 victory for Roger Penske. Following the Indy 500 victory, he would win both Iowa doubleheader events in July and rack up seven top-10 results during the final 11 events on the schedule. After finishing 21st during the finale at Laguna Seca, however, Newgarden concluded the season in fifth place in the final standings with 479 points. Overall, he notched four victories, five podiums, a career-high 602 laps led and an average-finishing result of 9.5 throughout the 2023 campaign. 

This season, which marks his 13th season in IndyCar competition, Newgarden is coming off a season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg victory after he led a race-high 92 of 100 laps, which marks his 30th career win and third in St. Pete. Despite finishing in eighth place in the non-points $1 Million Challenge at The Thermal Club, the Tennessee veteran leads the IndyCar standings by 13 points over Pato O’Ward as he commences his pursuit for both a second Indy 500 victory and a third IndyCar title. 

Through 199 previous IndyCar starts, Newgarden has achieved two championships, 30 victories, 53 podiums, 18 poles, 4,075 laps led and an average finishing result of 9.6. 

Josef Newgarden is scheduled to make his 200th NTT INDYCAR Series career start in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach at the Streets of Long Beach, California, on Sunday, April 21. The event’s broadcast is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on USA Network. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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