What’s quickly become the worst-kept secret in the Verizon IndyCar Series has been made official on Wednesday, with Team Penske officially confirming Josef Newgarden to take over the team’s No. 2 Chevrolet from 2017.
Newgarden shifts to Team Penske after five seasons with the team first known as Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing for three years, before it merged with Ed Carpenter Racing to become CFH Racing in 2015 and then reverted back to ECR only for 2016.
Newgarden has won three times and finished a career-best fourth in points last season, behind only the three Team Penske teammates in the team’s 50th anniversary season. Now, he’ll be teammates with Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Helio Castroneves as he replaces Juan Pablo Montoya.
“When you look at the top talent in the series, both from a driving and commercial perspective, Josef is near the top of the list,” said team owner Roger Penske. “We are always looking to build toward the future and when we had the opportunity to talk with Josef, we knew that he would be a great fit with our program. He’s a fantastic driver on the track and will be great with our partners off the track. He’s hungry to win more races and win championships and we hope to give him that opportunity as part of our team.”
Newgarden added, “For any open-wheel racer – or any racecar driver in general – Team Penske is a dream job. Roger Penske is a legend in the motorsports community and his team has done just about everything they’ve ever set out to do. I look forward to working with all of Team Penske’s great partners. To get an opportunity to work with Simon (Pagenaud), Will (Power) and Helio (Castroneves), along with the rest of the team, will just help make me a better driver.”
Carpenter confirmed Newgarden’s departure last week, which all but set this announcement up.
Alexander Rossi had also been rumored having taken a meeting with the team at Watkins Glen, but he has re-signed with Andretti-Herta Autosport.