Newgarden looking forward to Barber after strong start to 2019

John Cote / IndyCar
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Though it is still early in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, Josef Newgarden has already established himself as one of the championship favorites.

Kicking off the season with a win on the streets of St. Petersburg and finishing second in last weekend’s inaugural IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas, Newgarden sits at the top of the series point standings heading into next weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park (April 7 at 4:00 PM ET on NBCSN).

“It’s been a pretty smooth start overall this year,” Newgarden told NBC Sports. “St. Pete was a big difference. I’ve never been able to have a strong weekend there for one reason or another ever since I’ve started in IndyCar. It’s nice to go there and finally figure that weekend out. I think that always sets a good tone for the rest of the year.”

With that tone set, Newgarden and his Team Penske crew will look to retain and possibly even expand his points lead with a great run at Barber, a track where Newgarden has won three of the last four races.

“[Barber] is definitely a highlight of the schedule for me,” Newgarden said. “I like everywhere we go, but Barber has always been for sure a highlight. A lot of people like going there. It’s a beautiful facility.”

“I don’t know why but I’ve always had a good fortune around that place. Races have always seemed to pan out for us. These IndyCar races are so tricky with the way yellows fall or the way the strategy plays out, or what just seems to happen when dominoes fall into place through the race. It’s just always seemed to work out pretty decently at that track.”

But even with his great start to the season and excellent chance to make it three straight victories at Barber next weekend, Newgarden isn’t taking it easy. With the majority of the schedule still ahead of him and a starting grid stacked with talent from top to bottom, the 28-year-old Tennessean knows that a second championship trophy won’t just fall into his lap.

He captured three victories last season, but despite entering the finale at Sonoma with a mathematical chance to win the title, his lack of consistent podiums diminished any realistic chance he had. With 2019 still young, he has little room for error if he wants to be a title contender come Laguna Seca in September.

“We’ve had a good start which is always positive, but it can change so rapidly, you can’t ever get too confident. You always just have to be prepared for what changes,” Newgarden said. “You have to be on your toes all the way through the season. There’s just no point where you can really take a break or breath. You just gotta be on top of it.”

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Max Verstappen is PointsBet favorite to score sixth staight in 2022 Singapore Grand Prix

PointsBet 2022 Singapore odds
Mark Thompson / Getty Images
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Max Verstappen is the PointsBet Sportsbook odds favorite to win the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street course to stretch his current win streak to six consecutive. He shows odds of -200 this week.

Formula 1 did not compete in Singapore in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Verstappen has podium finishes in his last two attempts on this track. he was second in 2018 and third in 2019. In the first 15 races of this season, he has failed to stand on the podium only twice and has an average finish of 2.73.

With minus odds, the way to determine a payout is by subtraction. In order for a bettor to earn $100, he must wager $200 this week; with that wager, he will get back his initial stake and winnings of $100.

For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Charles Leclerc is ranked second this week with +400 odds. He has two previous Singapore GP starts to his credit with a best of second in 2019. He is coming off back-to-back podium finishes with a third in the Dutch GP and a second at Monza.

Ranked third is Carlos Sainz, Jr. with a line of +1100. He has top-five finishes in four of his last five starts, but only one of these, a third in the Belgian GP, was on the podium. Sainz is one of four winners other than Verstappen this season. His victory came in the British GP.

Lewis Hamilton shows a line of +1200. His last win came last fall in the Saudi Arabian GP and the Mercedes team has struggled to contend for victory in 2022. They are improving, however, with eight top-fives in the last nine races. Hamilton has two wins in his last three Singapore starts, which came in 2017 and 2018.

Rounding out the top five is Hamilton’s teammate George Russell at +1800. He has not won, but has shown remarkable consistency with top-fives in all but one race. Notably, his only bad finish came in his home GP in England. Russell has one previous start at Marina Bay; he finished last in the 2019 race. He finished fourth in 2019 as part of a four-race streak of top-fives.

The most recent Singapore GP winner from 2019, Sebastian Vettel is a longshot at +50000.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

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