When the last IndyCar race was ran at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. in 2007, Josef Newgarden was 16 years old.
Now 24, Newgarden was among the batch of IndyCar drivers to return to the 4.048-mile road course Tuesday for the series’ first test to prepare for its return to the schedule in 2016.
It was Newgarden’s first laps around the track since he competed there in Skip Barber in 2008, when he said it was “terrible compared to now.”
The Nashville, Tenn., native is preparing for his fifth year on the Verizon IndyCar circuit and although he has not publicly confirmed a contract as yet, is likely to stay with CFH Racing.
“Man, I love this place. It’s awesome,” Newgarden told MotorSportsTalk. “It’s the first time I’ve driven anything with power and grip. It’s incredible. It’s so fast. It’s all high-speed corners. Yes, some low speed corners. But every corner is fast. High commitment, very flowy track. You can’t mess up the rhythm. I like that it’s penalizing. You have to be precise. It’s just a damn cool track.”
The two-time series winner said grip was high around Road America, leading to one being “really flat through the Carousel” (Turns 9 – 10).
“It’s pretty sporty right now,” Newgarden said after the morning sesion. “And it seems to be getting quicker. We’ll see how it gets at the end of the day.”
IndyCar returns for a second, closed test on Sept. 28.