A week is a long time in motor racing, but you needn’t tell CFH Racing that. After seeing both of its cars succumb to mechanical failures in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend, the team bounced back in Toronto on Sunday to clinch its first one-two finish in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Following the merger between Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing at the end of the 2014 season, CFH Racing has now visited victory lane twice in the past ten races thanks to Josef Newgarden, who became just the third repeat winner in 2015.
The result was made all the sweeter by a second-place finish for Luca Filippi, marking the Italian’s best ever result in IndyCar and also his first podium finish.
“Just an amazing team effort,” Newgarden told NBCSN after the race. “I can’t believe that we did one-two even. It got a little close with Luca. We were really just trying to keep up. I got a little bit of lapped traffic.”
After a dose of bad luck had left the CFH Racing team at such a low ebb at Texas, the stars aligned and handed Newgarden a golden ticket in the form of a full-course caution ahead of the first round of pit stops in Toronto.
With the rest of the field unable to reach pit entry before it had shut, Newgarden was brought into the pits for a fresh set of tires, allowing the American to catapult up the order when the rest of the field dived in.
Once Helio Castroneves pitted from the lead under the second full course caution of the race, Newgarden found himself in a lead that he would only lose temporarily through the final round of stops.
“I got lucky on that yellow,” Newgarden said. “It was a great call though – it was a great effort by this crew.
“They gave me amazing pit stops and the car to win. Luca is such a star too, it’s amazing he can get a second place. Super happy for the whole group.”
It was the team success that Filippi celebrated and focused on as well, even if he had been within a single overtake of a surprise maiden IndyCar victory in Toronto on Sunday.
“I’m very proud to be on the podium and to bring the Italian flag as well around here,” Filippi told NBCSN.
“I’m very happy. Normally when you finish second you’re always a little upset for some reason. But this time, I think a one-two for CFH Racing, it’s so good.
“Here, we had a close battle between me and Josef. It was hard racing, but we had respect for each other, and we are extremely happy. We needed a result and we got it done.”
As turnarounds in IndyCar go, it’s difficult to think of many better in a seven-day period than this effort from CFH Racing.
“I’ve been pretty down since the performances at Indy and at Texas,” said team co-owner, Ed Carpenter. “But we knew we had strong street-course cars all year long. The best part of it is that both drivers and both crews executed on the same day and we all get to celebrate together. … We kind of ended up on different strategies and each stand made their calls. We didn’t start together, but we ended up together at the end.”