Newgarden “elated” with Penske’s recovery from Friday, “but disappointed” not to win at Road America

Spread the love

Photo credit: Team Penske

Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden converted a second-row start to a second-place finish at Road America, but in his assessment after the race, it was merely “okay”. The two-time series champion ran in the top 5 throughout the race but ultimately had to settle for P2 behind the race winner and championship leader Alex Palou.

“Disappointing for the way it finished for us just because there was a great opportunity in the middle to win this race.[…] I’m conflicted because on the one hand it was a great recovery for all of us on Team Penske. We started this weekend in pretty bad shape, were really far off the pace. We chipped away at it, did a lot of work, felt like we got really close in qualifying, had a really good race car. From that standpoint I’m elated, but just disappointed.“

The race was chaotic from many different standpoints at Road America. A new surface threw up a big curveball heading into the weekend and it led to plenty of cautions.

“Restarts were bringing different action. The tyres were bringing something different for people. It was possible to pass, like very much so. It raced really well. There was a lot of unknowns going into the new surface on how it would race.”

Newgarden particularly expressed his dislike for the new surface, and while he partially chalked it up to personal preference, he conceded that Penske has been struggling on resurfaced tracks this season.

“I’m an old surface fan anywhere we go. I don’t like new pavement at any track. But it is a different challenge than what you get on an old surface. I think as a team we’re not excelling on smooth surfaces, particularly something like this. It’s in our control to make it better. As a team, we’ve got to figure out a better formula for our cars with this type of track. I think this weekend just cemented that for us.”

This may bode well for Newgarden and Penske at Mid-Ohio, where the surface hasn’t been touched in 17 years, and where Newgarden has four straight top-ten finishes, including a win in 2021.