For a second consecutive race, CFH Racing’s pair of Luca Filippi and Josef Newgarden were quietly consistent and in the top dozen of the 24-car Verizon IndyCar Series field.
Whereas Filippi stealthily scythed up from 19th to ninth at St. Petersburg, and Newgarden was 12th, the pair both ended in the top-10 in Sunday’s inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana with Newgarden ninth and Filippi 10th.
It marks the first time this season and first time as the merged CFH Racing, combining the Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing teams, that both cars have been in the top 10 in the same race.
Filippi, driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, explained post-race that realistically the pair were on target for top-five or top-six finishes without the off-sequence strategy that jumbled the order.
“It wasn’t so much of an effort today,” Filippi told MotorSportsTalk post-race. “I think we did everything right. Some luck played out for cars at the front. I think the top four were on the alternative strategy. From that prospect, Josef and me were fourth and fifth on the regular strategy.
“I probably made a call on the slicks one lap too late. In the traffic, I lost the position to Josef. But it’s good. Both cars in top-10 is not what we really want – we want more – but ultimately, it’s a solid position for our championship, to get two cars in the top-10, and for myself to have two in the top 10. I want more, but it’s good.”
Filippi has been good though. After only scoring one top-10 finish in his previous eight IndyCar starts in 2013 and 2014, he is two-for-two this year. He is one of five drivers to have done that; the others being Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Tony Kanaan.
Newgarden, in the No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet, banked his first top-10 of the season in ninth after starting 12th.
“The thing I am happy about is that we got a top-10 on a difficult day,” Newgarden said, via the team release. “It could have gone a lot better for us. We struggled a little bit on the wet, but when it was going dry we were very strong and we didn’t get to capitalize on that.”