Last week at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, we touched on Josef Newgarden’s future in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
This week, we’re discussing the present.
Newgarden was among those caught out by the Sage Karam caution on Lap 66 in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200, which resigned him to a 13th-place finish – his worst finish in a race since ending 20th at the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis back in May.
With that unlucky 13th in the bag, it brings up an opportunity to note that one of Newgarden’s best tendencies is to carry himself well when the chips are down.
He hasn’t really gotten too frustrated publicly after gut-wrenching moments – losses like at Long Beach and Mid-Ohio 2014 and after inadvertently being taken out by teammate and co-owner Ed Carpenter at Fontana this year come to mind.
Newgarden has made it a point to not lose it when things go awry.
“The good thing is I haven’t had any moments that have got the better of me,” he told MotorSportsTalk in an interview last week. “It’s really easy to get emotional, especially when you get out of the car.
“Luckily I’ve never had emotions get the better of me, but I realize they can. People might not have seen yet, but it’s always possible.
“When you have a bad day, it’s one team… it’s a unit, it’s a group. If I have a bad day, I don’t want the team coming down on me, and I don’t want to come down on the team. I’ve always kept that in my mind, and that helps me keep calm in difficult days.”
Newgarden also said the new Rule 9.3.8, designed to prevent competitors and other series stakeholders from blatantly speaking out publicly against the series, has been misunderstood.
“I think the new ruling set out for code of conduct was probably misunderstood,” he explained. “It was bad timing when it came out. I think people didn’t understand.
“Normally you’d release a rule like that in closed doors, but it’s good we have transparency with fans and media so everyone can see what we’re doing.
“Everyone with an opinion in the series will still have it; INDYCAR just wants to make sure we’re not bad-mouthing the series. That’s a good thing. They work hard to give us everything we need to build it up.
“If I’m not happy with another driver, or if I’m not happy with the team or a race weekend, I’m still gonna voice that opinion, and all the drivers will. I think it will take away some of the negative that can come out in the heat of the moment from drivers that may not be necessary.”
Overall though, while winds and rumors of Newgarden possibly moving to Gene Haas’ F1 team have been mentioned on several NBCSN IndyCar broadcasts, he can’t stop praising the series’ current product.
“IndyCar… it has never been a question of, ‘Is it a good racing series to watch?’” Newgarden said. “It’s always had a phenomenal product. It’s a matter of getting people to talk about it.
“It’s nice we’ve had a lot of positive buzz and recognized the racing. I think it’s what the series deserves. You’re not going to find better racing on the planet right now.
“It’s hands down impressive, all of the talent.
“We have a lot of good, positive momentum, but we have to keep it up.”