Josef Newgarden is playing the IndyCar silly season game really well

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Upon speaking to Josef Newgarden at Mid-Ohio a couple weeks ago, I made the comment after we were done with our official conversation that he’s risen to become the domino in the Verizon IndyCar Series silly season for 2015 – a role previously held by Simon Pagenaud (2014) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2012) in recent years.

It’s a lofty title and one the 24-year-old American rising star is fully worthy of, having finally become a race winner this season and with several options theoretically in play for him in 2016. Newgarden is on a one-year deal with CFH Racing for 2015 with a one-year option to continue next season.

The one thing he told me pretty definitively is that the racing in IndyCar is “the best racing on the planet right now,” and while he’s been mentioned as a possibility for Haas F1 Team next year, that’s more of a long shot for him at this stage.

With a two-week lull in the IndyCar schedule, the news has primarily been about schedule changes (Road America in, Phoenix maybe in, Fontana out) and lawsuits (Andretti vs. Andretti, because that doesn’t make anyone’s head hurt). But there hasn’t been any movement on the driver front.

Luckily, Newgarden has amped up his already strong social media game lately with a couple tweets you might not necessarily expect to see from a driver currently racing with CFH Racing.

First up was this one last week, that the four-year IndyCar veteran has a new street car, from Bobby Rahal BMW.

Graham Rahal offered this follow-up volley in return:

He’s also retweeted Newgarden a handful of times here in the last week.

But that’s not the only entity outside CFH appearing on Newgarden’s timeline.  Newgarden went home to Nashville last weekend and took in a Tim McGraw concert.

“Thanks for the love @BigMachine,” says part of his tweet.

Big Machine, of course, is Big Machine Records – a sponsor at Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, which has adorned Sage Karam’s car for the 2015 season. Taylor Swift is also a Big Machine artist, and her likeness was on Tony Kanaan’s chariot at Detroit – on the same weekend T-Swift played Ford Field there.

Lest that be the only form of Big Machine back-and-forth, Newgarden also had a test in what appeared to be an old NASCAR Truck in Nashville thanks to Scott Borchetta, who is President/CEO of the Big Machine Label Group.

Twitter has caught on, including notable IndyCar link hound Matt Archuleta (@indy44).

It’s pretty fascinating to watch, because Newgarden is playing the game really well in making public positive declarations about other outlets.

That, or it’s a freaky series of coincidences all coming back-to-back.

My idea? Since the IndyCar season is coming to a close here in two weeks, why not have the Newgarden Courtship play out as some form of reality show, maybe over a four or six-week period, since those seem to attract more viewers than they realistically should?

Have teams continue putting out their best offerings to sign him, and have Newgarden extend a Sharpie to teams he wants to carry on with to the next episode. Have the stakes get higher with every successive week.

Then, when it finally comes time to sign, Newgarden extends the final Sharpie and signs on the dotted line.

It would help pass the time… at least for the first month of what is shaping up to be another looooong offseason.

UPDATE: Who says Newgarden’s current team isn’t getting the love? In this faux commercial for Fuzzy’s Vodka, the non-drinking Nashville native can play a pretty good pitchman.

Final Rolex 24 results by class

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For the third time in four years, Wayne Taylor Racing is victorious in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

Kamui Kobayashi drove the team’s No. 10 Cadillac for the race’s final three hours, and won by more than a minute over the No. 77 Mazda of Oliver Jarvis. Loic Duvall finished third in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac.

Joining Kobayashi in victory lane were co-drivers, Regner van der Zande, Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe.

Here’s a look at some of the winners in the other classes:

LMP2: 

The No. 81 Dragonspeed ORECA crossed the finish line first in the five-car LMP2 class, with Ben Hanley winning by two laps over the second-place Mathiasen Motorsports entry driven by Gabriel Abury. Nic Minassian finished third in the No. 18 Era Motorsport entry.

Dragonspeed’s winning team also included co-drivers Colin Braun, Harrison Newey and Henrik Hedman.

GTLM:

For the second consecutive year, BMW RLL took the GLTM class honors, as Jesse Krohn took the checkered flag in the team’s No. 24 BMW M8 GTE. Krohn was joined by co-drivers John Edwards, Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert.

Porsche Teammates Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy finished second and third, respectfully.

GTD:

The Andrea Caldarelli took the class honors in the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Paul Miller Racing, finishing ahead of Marco Mapelli and Mirko Bortolotti.

Caldarelli’s co-drivers included Bryan Sellers, Corey Lewis and Madison Snow.

Click here for full race results by class

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