Josef Newgarden makes Team Penske debut in test at Road America

(Photo courtesy of official Twitter page of Simon Pagenaud)
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It didn’t take long for Josef Newgarden to get into the swing of things with Team Penske.

Newgarden, who officially joined the Penske Verizon IndyCar Series team last week (replacing Juan Pablo Montoya), took part in his first test with his new team Monday at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Newgarden led off the day with a photo posted on Twitter below. His first run was in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet, the same livery as was run in Sonoma.

The entire Team Penske contingent of Newgarden and his new teammates – reigning IndyCar series champion Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Helio Castroneves – were among several teams that took part in the test. Pagenaud and Castroneves didn’t waste time welcoming him with some good natured social media posts.

The test was a closed event, and Newgarden did issue a statement about how the day went (via Team Penske):

“It was a great day,” Newgarden said. “There is so much to learn, but I think that’s a two-way street. I need to learn the Penske way, but I also think there are some things I can bring to the table from my experiences at ECR (Ed Carpenter Racing). The car was a little different from what I was used to, but that’s all part of the process.

“The setups for these cars can be very different from one to the next and there are different ways to drive the car. I learned a lot about how my teammates drive the car and why they do it that way. The feedback is incredible with these guys and the amount of data is amazing with four cars. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to get back out there with them. We’ll continue learning as a group throughout the offseason and be ready to go (for the 2017 season opener) in March at St. Pete.”

Newgarden will be back behind the wheel Thursday as the sole Team Penske driver taking part in a Firestone tire test at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois (near St. Louis) in preparation for IndyCar’s race return to the track next August.

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Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.