LONG POND, PA – Josef Newgarden had one of those days that are what some call “championship winning races.” He didn’t do anything too spectacular but still finished in the top five in his No. 2 Chevrolet.
That’s how titles are won.
Newgarden, came home fifth in Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at the Pocono Raceway for his fifth consecutive top five finish at the Tricky Triangle and sixth in seven career tries. In fact, he finished fifth in last year’s race too.
His car just didn’t have enough to win but he did just enough to stay up front to bank more points in his account.
“It was kind of an interesting day, but it could have been worse,” said Newgarden. “It was sort of like qualifying yesterday where qualifying got rained out but we started on the pole. We didn’t finish this race but we finished fifth. We’ll take it.
“I wish we could have been a little bit higher, but I think Will (Power) was going to be tough to beat today. He looked very strong. Certainly towards the middle of the race I thought he was looking very good. We fought with what we had today and I thought the Hitachi Chevy was pretty good. Coming out of here with a decent finish allows us to now focus on the last three events. We just need to set our sights on Gateway next weekend and execute. I think we will have a good car. I always feel confident with Team Penske, and Team Chevy has been pushing hard, so I’m looking forward to it.”
While a fifth place run isn’t anything necessarily spectacular for the championship leader, to come away with his 11th of the season is one that goes a long way. See, his main rival in this year’s championship was involved in a frightening opening lap crash. Takuma Sato came down on Alexander Rossi which prompted a scary five car accident which left Sato upside, Rosenqvist scrapping the catch fence and Rossi’s championship hopes potentially dashed.
Rossi, trailed Newgarden by 16 points heading into this weekend’s race. He’s now 35 points out leaving Pocono as Newgarden a little more than doubled his points lead. That’s why a top five is exactly where he needed to be.
His teammate Simon Pagenaud finished third in his No. 22 Chevrolet as he’s now 40 points arrears. Scott Dixon had a second place result and is now 52 points back himself.