Coming off a superb runner-up showing at Iowa Speedway, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden has opened the Honda Indy Toronto weekend atop the first practice session.
A last-second flyer of 1:00.2385 around the 1.75-mile Exhibition Place street circuit was enough to grant Newgarden the fastest time of the session ahead of Team Penske’s Will Power (1:00.4497) and Toronto’s own James Hinchcliffe (1:00.5728).
Newgarden is trying to continue his upward trend over the last few races, which include an eighth at Pocono and the aforementioned second behind Ryan Hunter-Reay one weekend ago.
“When things are going like that, it’s really good,” he said to IndyCar Radio. “You just want to try and keep the momentum rolling and not have anything silly happen. Even when they do, hopefully you get over it really quickly and hope there’s nothing substantial.
“We’ve had a good string of results, the team’s worked really hard, and all we’re focusing on is trying to finish out the year right. I think we’ve got a good shot at that.”
Newgarden has had an up-and-down third season in the series with five DNFs (three crashes, one gearbox, one lost wheel), but feels that the recent work from him and SFHR is proof of their true talent.
“It’s a tough thing in racing because nobody really sees the evidence for everything – there’s a lot of looking at and saying, ‘Why is that like that?’ and you kinda take it for face value, where a lot of teams, a lot of drivers, a lot of situations have things come up and you just don’t see why,” he noted.
“We’ve had a lot of things we’ve dealt with, but I think we’ve got a great group. We have fast cars and good engineering. I’d just be really pleased for this team if we could string together some more results for this year.”
Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader Helio Castroneves was fourth in the session (1:00.6363). Rookie pilot Carlos Munoz rounded out the Top 5 (1:00.6514).
A second IndyCar practice at Exhibition Place is slated to begin later today at 1:55 p.m. ET