IndyCar Driver Review: Josef Newgarden

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With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

P14 and one of the most improved drivers of 2013, is Josef Newgarden…

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Josef Newgarden

  • Team: Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
  • 2012: 23rd Place, Best Finish 11th, Best Start 2nd
  • 2013: 14th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 5th, 1 Podium, 4 Top-5, 7 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 17.5 Avg. Start, 13.7 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: I’m a massive believer in Josef Newgarden and his potential, and it was realized in part during an improved sophomore season. The results came – four top-fives including a runner-up in Baltimore – and so too did a nine-spot jump in the standings from 23rd in 2012 to 14th this year. Still, I know how hungry this kid is because even with his improvements, he wants more out of himself and to give Sarah Fisher her second win as a team owner. And the one thing that needs to improve is qualifying. Newgarden’s starting position average (17.5) beat only three other full-time drivers, Ed Carpenter, Graham Rahal and Sebastian Saavedra. If he makes a similar performance jump Charlie Kimball did from his second to third year, I’ll say it now, look out. He’ll be a free agent at the end of 2014 and next year is his shot to move up the grid.

Estrada says: Another driver that made a good leap in performance this year was Newgarden, who’s continuing to look more and more like a future star. His inaugural podium finish at Baltimore was the biggest highlight from his 2013 season, but we can’t leave out his stellar run at Sao Paulo, where he overcame an engine change penalty that put him 25th on the starting grid and managed to fight for the win before his tires finally had enough and he subsequently settled for fifth. Qualifying was a problem but if he can figure that out, then he just might deliver an upset win for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing at some point in 2014.

Montoya: ‘Hopefully I get a chance to do Indy again’ (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya is on site at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, his latest trip in a summer and fall filled with a lot of international travel and a number of different race cars he’s been in.

Montoya is committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura Team Penske in 2018, as he’ll share one of the team’s Acura ARX-05s with Dane Cameron.

However, the question of whether he’ll be able to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil remains.

Team Penske has said it plans to only run four cars next month of May, with Helio Castroneves as the fourth driver alongside the three full-time cars driven by Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

While Montoya has said elsewhere that he’s shopping offers and has talked with other teams, it’d be highly surprising to see the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who developed the Chevrolet engine for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal body kit in a Honda-powered IndyCar, although he is running Honda’s brand (Acura) in sports cars.

Montoya elaborated on his Indy 500 prospects in an interview with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the Circuit of The Americas.

“Not full-time no,” Montoya told NBCSN of his IndyCar 2018 prospects. “Hopefully I get a chance to go to Indy, hopefully with Penske, (and) if not someone else. We’ll see.”

Photo: IndyCar

Montoya has extolled the early testing both on the 2018 IndyCar and on the Acura ARX-05.

The first Acura chassis has run at Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway thus far, and will be put through its paces at other venues over the next few months.

“It’s been good. We did a lot of work with INDYCAR on that car. Fans are gonna like it,” Montoya said of the 2018 kit.

“Going to IMSA with the Acura program, we’ve done a lot of testing. It’s a beauty to drive. It drives better than what it looks! I haven’t had that much fun driving a race car in a long time.”

Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car to be campaigned by Team Penske in 2018