What a strong start to the 2019 season that it’s been for Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden. He won the season opener for the first time of his career on the streets of St. Pete, then backed that up with a runner-up effort in COTA.
See, Newgarden was left pretty mad on Saturday afternoon after a seventh place qualifying run on the Texas road course. He used great pit strategy to get into the top five after the first stint, then lucked out by the lone caution of the day to get a podium. Now, he heads to arguably his best track on the schedule – Barber Motorsports Park.
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (4 p.m. ET/NBCSN/IndyCar Radio Network) has been Newgarden’s domain. No one has been able to really touch up over the past four years there.
Newgarden, has won two straight races on the Alabama road course and is eyeing a three peat this weekend. In fact, he’s won three of the last four Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama races overall and came home third in the lone race that he hasn’t won at Barber since 2015.
He led 46 laps in 2015, 14 in 2017 and a dominating 73 a year ago.
“Barber is an awesome track,” said the Tennessee native. “There’s always a great crowd there and it’s one of my favorite tracks we travel to on the circuit. It also helps that we’ve had some success there in the No. 2 Fitzgerald Chevy with three wins in the last four races there. But we’re hungry for more. This season is off to a great start for our team and Barber is a track we know we can continue that momentum at. We want to win races, but if we can’t win races, we need to at least be on the podium to keep this championship run up.”
With how this season has gone, I would expect nothing less than a podium finish out of his No. 2 Chevrolet on Sunday afternoon.
He’s the early front runner for the 2019 championship that’s for sure.