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Josef Newgarden pops the question to longtime girlfriend Ashley Welch

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2017 IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden is used to answering questions, particularly from reporters and fans.

But Saturday, Newgarden was the one asking a question – the biggest of his life.

Shortly after Newgarden and longtime girlfriend Ashley Welch arrived in Japan for an off-season vacation, the couple began sightseeing.

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🇯🇵 w / @smashleywelch ❤️

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Amid the backdrop of the ancient gardens in Kyoto, Japan, Newgarden bent down on one knee and asked Welch to marry him.

Without hesitation, Welch happily said “yes.”

“I’ll soon be the Newest Garden of all,” Welch said in a play on words in a post on her Instagram account. She even created a hashtag: #TheNewestGarden.

A number of Newgarden’s fellow racers congratulated the couple on Instagram, including Graham Rahal, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Conor Daly.

It’s unknown whether the couple has set a wedding date yet. But we wish them all the best as they soon embark upon their new life together.

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IMSA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration: Why Sebring is so special to Bobby Rahal

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Bobby Rahal has driven in some of the biggest races in the world, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 Hours and, of course, winning the Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1986 and in 2004 as a team owner.

But winning the 12 Hours of Sebring two years in a row (1987 and 1988), Rahal feels, is right up there in terms of his greatest accomplishments as a race car driver.

As IMSA celebrates its 50th anniversary, Rahal reflected on what racing at Sebring International Raceway has meant to him:

“To me, Sebring is the ultimate endurance race. Not as long as Daytona or Le Mans, but the demands put on a car and driver at Sebring are highly unusual.

“My father raced at Sebring in the late 60’s. To win that race two years in a row really meant something to me.

“While we’ve won a lot of other races, we’ve won just about everywhere, you name it. But for me personally, winning at Sebring those two years in a row was very special.”

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