Mistake costs Newgarden a chance at second straight IndyCar win

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There’s curbing one’s appetite, curb appeal of a house and then what happened to Josef Newgarden in Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.

Newgarden smacked a piece of curbing so hard on Lap 57 (of 85 laps) that he wound up wrecking.

And with that wreck, so went Newgarden’s hopes for a top-10 finish — and potentially a second consecutive win, having won the week before at Iowa.

Instead, Newgarden, who started eighth in Sunday’s race, learned a very valuable lesson: what it’s like to be on top one week (winning at Iowa), and then be on the bottom (finishing last at Toronto) the next week.

Here’s what Newgarden had to say about his incident:

“It (was) an error on my part,” he said. “I hate to blame it on an injury, but I hit the curb too hard and lost the wheel.

“I couldn’t hang on to the wheel. I didn’t have the strength to hold on to the wheel. I feel terrible for our guys. We had a good race going. We were fighting back.

“We got put back for an incident that I don’t think was our fault. We fought our way back. We could have had a good finish there. It was my mistake and I feel bad because we are going to lose some points there.”

Indeed, Newgarden dropped from second place after his win at Iowa to fifth after his early exit at Toronto. He’s now 88 points behind series leader Simon Pagenaud.

Newgarden hopes his hand is in better shape for the next race at Mid-Ohio next weekend.

“It’s just sore,” Newgarden said of his injured paw. “I wish my grip strength was better right now but it’s not; probably not where I need to be.

“I should have stayed off the curb. I knew better than to hit it that hard with my grip strength where it is.”

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IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”