Josef Newgarden - 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Champion

Josef Newgarden 2019 IndyCar Season Champion

by The Earl of Indy, Robert Earl |

Team Penske‘s Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet), a 28-year-old from Hendersonville, Tenn. clinched his second series title in the last three years by finishing eighth in Sunday’s double points race and joined Sam Hornish Jr. as the only Americans to win multiple series crowns since 1995.

Newgarden gave team owner Roger Penske his 16th series championship, including the fourth in the last six years. It was also the 35th Championship across all major racing series for Team Penske.

“Josef, a great champion. You can see it in his eyes,” Penske said. “You could see it the first time he won with us, and with Will and Simon, who just had an outstanding season, when you think about three wins and certainly the Indy 500 is the crown jewel that all of us want to have every year.

“But the season was great, the poles and the competition. We’ve got a lot of young drivers coming up, (Felix) Rosenqvist came in, Colton Herta outstanding, and then it’s the (Scott) Dixons and the rest of them that you have to race every single day, and Michael (Andretti) has got a great team, Chip (Ganassi) does, and obviously the folks over at Arrow, and it’s just on and on and on. I probably missed somebody. But the competition has never been better.”

Roger Penske

That had the Captain, Roger Penske in a great mood after the race. High Fives and all.

Josef Newgarden knew exactly what he had to do coming into today?s race and he and his No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet team executed perfectly.


Newgarden finished eighth, but it was exactly what the Tennessee native needed to secure his second NTT IndyCar Series championship. With a series high four wins plus two poles and seven podiums, Newgarden took home the crown with a 25 point margin over his teammate Pagenaud.

HOW TOUGH WAS THIS IN MANAGING THIS RACE INSTEAD OF GOING ALL OUT?

?I was so pissed earlier and I thought we were throwing it away. We were trying to think as a team there and obviously we were trying to divide and conquer. They just did such a great job, this group all year long, and I didn?t want to throw it away at the end and do something silly. But man, they called a great race and I tried to be as smart as I could today. I am so proud of everybody and Team Chevy has done a great job. They won the Indy 500 with Simon (Pagenaud), which has been fantastic, and then to win the championship is as much as you can ask for in a year. I am just so thankful to the team and we just have such a great group.  Not just on the No. 2 car, but everybody on the team is just amazing in what they do.  Thank you to Hitachi, they just signed on for a multi-year deal, so this is big for us. I am glad its over with because I was crying that whole lap, and just happy that its over with.?

Josef Newgarden
Josef Newgarden

YOU SAID IT HAS BEEN A DRAINING YEAR AND AT TIMES YOU TOOK ON TOO MUCH. WHY WAS IT SUCH A STRESSFUL YEAR FOR YOU?

?It?s just been a lot this year. But I have had the best people around me and they have take care of everything. I couldn?t ask for more than what I have and it is just amazing to be able to win races and drive for this team. Its been my dream since I was a kid. I am just really thankful for everything and everyone that has done anything for me.?

Josef Newgarden
Josef Newgarden IndyCar Series Champion
  • Josef Newgarden didn?t have a race-winning car on Sunday afternoon at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, but his eighth-place finish was enough for him to earn his second IndyCar Series Championship in the last three years and Team Penske?s 16th IndyCar Series Championship.
  • Starting from the fourth position, Newgarden and the No. 2 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet knew exactly what they needed to do to try and win the IndyCar Series title and fell into the fourth position early on, while also defending the fifth position from James Hinchcliffe.  As tire degradation was extreme at the 11-turn track, Newgarden began catching third-place Alexander Rossi just 10 laps into the event. 
  • Newgarden made his first pit stop on lap 13 behind Rossi.  A fantastic stop from the Hitachi team allowed Newgarden to come out of the pits in front of Rossi, but he eventually gave up spots on the track to Rossi and Simon Pagenaud and ran sixth while running on primary Firestone blacks. 
  • Newgarden and Rossi put on a spirited battle as Rossi?s tires continue to wear.  Newgarden nearly got around his championship rival, but elected to play it safe before coming to pit road again on Lap 35.  Once again, when everything cycled out, Newgarden was eighth with a car that was struggling to find rear grip just past halfway.
Josef Newgarden - Alexander Rossi - Laguna Seca
  • Continuing to struggle to find grip on the track, Newgarden came to pit road for the final time on lap 64, making it a 26-lap run to the finish. He was seventh when the pit stops cycled through.
  • Newgarden dropped one more spot before the checkered flag to finish eighth.  However, the finish was enough to earn his second IndyCar Series Championship.  He beat Pagenaud by 25 points to secure his second title in the last three years and Team Penske?s 35th National Championship. 

— Team Penske / Chevrolet & IndyCar Media