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.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.