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Newgarden makes USGP cameo, visits an oil rig with Shell

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Newly crowned Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden has continued his whirlwind month of travel following his IndyCar title clinched at Sonoma, by paying a visit to Austin this week for the United States Grand Prix atย Circuit of The Americas, and sandwiching a trip to the Auger Shell oil rig in-between.

Earlier in the week, Newgarden joined his Team Penske NASCAR teammate Joey Logano and Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for a Shell event on Wednesday ahead of the Grand Prix. That came after spending Tuesday in Detroit at General Motors’ proving grounds.

Shell supports both Ferrari and Team Penske, and with Helio Castroneves off to the Acura Team Penske IMSA sports car program next year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Newgarden activated and utilized by Shell Pennzoil a bit more next season. Shell and Team Penske announced a long-term extension earlier this year.

WEDNESDAY PREP

#RIGTOROAD WITH SHELL

After the three Shell-supported drivers enjoyed a day of media work and practiced golf at Top Golf (Vettel’s swing, above), Newgarden headed to New Orleans for Shell’s #RigToRoad program and a Twitter takeover on Team Penske’s handle. He got to train before actually going onto the Auger Shell oil rig.

BACK TO AUSTIN

Once Newgarden completed his journey to Shell’s rig outside New Orleans, he was back to Austin for the United States Grand Prix.

Newgarden caught up with this year’s famous Indianapolis 500 one-off driver, Fernando Alonso, pre-race, while Alonso’s fellow two-time World Champion Mika Hakkinen provided an excellent photobomb in the background at the McLaren hospitality headquarters.

Nice to see @indycar champion @josefnewgarden (and Mika/Stoffel) at Austin.

A post shared by Fernando Alonso (@fernandoalo_oficial) on

Newgarden then joined NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton for an impromptu reunion on the pre-race grid walk. Things were going swimmingly, and then Buxton and Newgarden bumped into Haas F1 Team owner Gene Haas. You can see the Twitter exchange, below.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

โ€œI would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

โ€œAbu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”