Newgarden improving, and is subject of latest INDYCAR 36 on NBCSN

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Josef Newgarden’s second season in the IZOD IndyCar Series has featured better results, but both he and the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team are determined to find even more improvements.

The Tennessee native has the first three top-10 finishes of his career banked, with a best of fifth in Brazil. Still, as he admitted in an interview Thursday, he still has some way to go.

“This year hasn’t been stellar but has been significantly better on a lot of fronts,” he said. “We’re securing results better and making fewer mistakes all around compared to last year. We have done a great job on strategy and results. But within myself, there’s still stuff to work on. I need to elevate our qualifying. At least now I’ve learned how to run a full race and put myself in position for the best possible result.”

Going into Texas, Newgarden doesn’t have the backdrop of the old Dallara chassis for reference, and has enjoyed the way this car races here with reduced downforce and tires falling off over the course of a stint.

“I loved watching the old races at Texas, but I also like the minimal downforce running we’re doing now,” he said. “Fontana last year was fun to be a part of. We weren’t in the mix there because of an electrical issue, but we were pace-wise. I thought the cars were a lot of fun to drive there.”

Newgarden’s quirky persona and social media savvy – along with, you know, racing – will be highlighted in the next episode of INDYCAR 36, which airs at midnight ET June 8 on the NBC Sports Network, produced by IMS Productions. Newgarden drove the No. 21 Century 21 Honda at Indianapolis and is now back in his normal No. 67 for the SFHR team.

MRTI: Juncos signs Carlos Cunha for Pro Mazda campaign

Photo: Juncos Racing
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Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.

Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.

“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”

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