Josef Newgarden transported to hospital for evaluation of possible head injury

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NEWTON, Iowa – Two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was airlifted for further evaluation of a possible head injury because he fell and suffered “an abrasion” after Sunday’s race at Iowa Speedway.

Dr. Geoffrey Billows, outgoing medical director for IndyCar, said Newgarden was communicating after “passing out” and striking his head shortly after the checkered flag. The Team Penske driver had wrecked while leading on Lap 231 in pursuit of his second consecutive victory at the 0.894-mile oval.

Observers said Newgarden fell in the motorhome lot where drivers stay on race weekends.

UPDATE: Team Penske says Newgarden will be hospitalized overnight for observation

“We just want to send him downtown just for further evaluation because we don’t have the ability to get more advanced imaging or radiographs,” Dr. Billows told reporters in the Iowa Speedway infield care center. “But he’s awake and talking to us.”

Dr. Billows said Newgarden was transported by helicopter because of concern that the 45-minute ground transport to Mercy One Des Moines Medical Center in downtown Des Moines would be delayed by postrace traffic and a Blake Shelton concert at the track.

Newgarden was airlifted “only because it’s so far to Des Moines,” said Billows, who stressed the helicopter flight was precautionary. “It’s a 45-minute drive, and we’ve got all this concert traffic and everything, we were afraid it was going to be delayed, and the helicopter was sitting here.”

An ambulance was called to the driver lot after Newgarden collapsed. He was inside the care center for about 30 minutes before being loaded into the helicopter on a stretcher.

Newgarden already had been evaluated in the care center after his crash and conducted interviews with NBC Sports and other media.

“That’s the thing that makes it confusing,” Dr. Billows said. “He crashed, he was evaluated here after the crash, and he was fine. We actually went and talked to him afterwards. And then apparently after (we) talked to him, he exited his hauler and passed out or fell or whatever and hit his head.

“We just felt out of the abundance of caution, we wanted to make sure he doesn’t have any kind of head injury.”

Dr. Billows said Newgarden “seemed OK” during his crash evaluation, but that the wreck registered a heavy enough impact that IndyCar planned to re-evaluate the driver Thursday “because of the level of Gs on the accelerometer.”

IndyCar will race on the next two weekends at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the streets of Nashville, Tennessee.

Newgarden led a race-high 148 of 300 laps and was poised to take the points lead with his second consecutive win and fifth of the season.

Outside the care center after the crash, Newgarden told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns that the impact “was definitely a bit of a shot.” His car lost traction in Turn 4 after an apparent suspension failure, according to Team Chevy officials.

“I want to cry,” Newgarden told Burns. “I’m so sad for my team. I don’t know what happened. It was a good run. It’s just one race, but I feel terrible for us. Team Chevy and Hitachi guys did a great job. Something went wrong there.

“Everything felt fine to me up to that point. I did have a vibration at the start of the stint, which isn’t abnormal. Tire balances are always shifting. It’s very possible that we had a mismatched set or something. It wasn’t diabolical whatsoever. Actually, everything felt just fine. It was totally unexpected when it happened. It caught me by surprise. I didn’t know what happened until I was in the wall.”

Newgarden told other reporters in further interviews that the hit “definitely rocked me. I got a little bit shaken from it, but I’m OK. We have great safety in IndyCar, and the car held up good. So it wasn’t that bad, but it’s never nice to hit the wall at flat-chat. We’ll pick up the pieces and go on.”

Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin, who hosts a YouTube show with Newgarden,  visited the care center shortly before Newgarden was transported.

McLaughlin tweeted support of his Penske teammate after the race.

IndyCar officials released a statement later Sunday night: “Following an on-track incident at Iowa Speedway, Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden was evaluated and released from the infield care center.

“After the conclusion of the race, he fell and returned to the infield care center. He is awake and alert and has been transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.”

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
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The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)