LEEDS, Ala – Josef Newgarden’s two year win streak at Barber has officially come to an end. That happened when he brought his No. 2 Chevrolet home in fourth place in Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. But, that in itself is a big story.
While Newgarden entered the weekend with a win in the season opener in St. Pete and a second place run two weeks ago at COTA, his car as well as his teammates were never up to par with their competition this weekend at the Barber Motorsports Park.
Newgarden, was only 14th, 18th and 17th respectively in practice and qualified just 16th. Does that sound like a race contender?
That’s why his charge to a top five finish in Sunday’s 90 Lap race is so big. See, it’s typically hard to pass on this 2.38-mile road course. Newgarden, moved up 12 spots in the race.
It was his seventh consecutive top 10 finish at Barber though but his string of four straight podiums, three of which being wins, has come to an end.
The Tennessee native had a great pit strategy plan as he hit pit road for the first time on Lap 8. After the sequence ended, he was all the way up to fifth. He’d remain in the top 10 the rest of the way and picked off five drivers in the end to get his third top four finish in-a-row to start the season.
He was the top Chevrolet driver too and will keep the points lead heading to next weeks race at Long Beach.
Right now, it looks as if Newgarden is going to be a huge threat to win the Astor Cup championship trophy for the second time in the last three years. He’s salvaged two ho-hum starts to the race the last two races and turned them into solid top fives.