After first pole, Josef Newgarden happy to be disappointed with fifth in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE – When fifth place is a disappointment, it’s a good day.

And thus, that was the story of Josef Newgarden’s ending to a Sunday, and a weekend, which held so much promise after sweeping the preliminary sessions at the ABC Supply Co. Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest presented by the Metro Milwaukee Honda Dealers.

Newgarden led both first and second practice in the No. 67 Direct Supply CFH Racing Chevrolet, and then backed it up in warmer temperatures for his first career Verizon IndyCar Series pole Sunday afternoon at the Milwaukee Mile.

In the race, he looked dominant when in the lead. Newgarden led the opening 54 laps and again from Lap 60 to 100, so for 94 of the opening 100 circuits, as was good in clean air.

But after the second round of pit stops, Newgarden lost a spot to Scott Dixon, and the ensuing first caution flag after James Jakes had a mechanical issue meant a flurry of caution flag stops. The jumbled order left Newgarden in 11th.

From there, he rebounded to fifth, and led 14 more laps for a total of 109 in the race – a career-high.

“Probably when we got behind Dixon that didn’t help,” Newgarden told MotorSportsTalk post-race. “Then when we followed him in we lost track position, and Bourdais had track position.

“That was what it was all about. You had to have track position. Even if he had newer scuffed tires, Bourdais could hold him off because he had track position. I think we had the fastest car in clean air. In dirty air we weren’t the best. We didn’t have it all day.”

Newgarden’s fifth place finish was his first top-five of the year that wasn’t a win, after winning the Barber and Toronto rounds earlier this summer.

“You finish fifth and you’re not happy about it, that’s a good thing,” he said. “We needed better track position. But it was still a great effort and a good team run.”

Newgarden ranks ninth in points going into Iowa Speedway, where he finished second last year.

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.