DeHarde’s Driver to Watch in Barber: Josef Newgarden

By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer

Over the last two seasons, Josef Newgarden has had his coming out party for the Verizon IndyCar Series at Barber Motorsports Park.

The Tennessee native earned his first win in dominating fashion for CFH Racing in 2015, leading 46 of 90 laps and executing a daring pass on Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves to take the lead.

But for Newgarden, this is more than just the track where he scored his first win. This is the track closest to his hometown of Hendersonville, Tennessee. But for the 2011 Indy Lights champion, there’s no place like home.

His last four results there have been a ninth, eighth, win and a third, and all for midfield at best teams. Scott Dixon’s had six podium finishes in seven races at the Leeds, Alabama track but with Newgarden in one of the top rides in IndyCar racing today, he might score another win at the 2.38 mile natural terrain road course.

It wouldn’t be a total surprise as his star has been rising in IndyCar the last few seasons.

2015 was Newgarden’s initial breakout year in IndyCar, scoring two wins, a pair of seconds and a few other top ten finishes to place seventh in the series points. The next year he was fourth in the final standings with a dominant win at Iowa, a pair of thirds and two other top five finishes that Newgarden parlayed into a drive at Team Penske.

Now Newgarden is having the best start of an IndyCar season that he’s ever had with a pair of top ten finishes. He currently sits fifth in points, is coming off of his first podium for Roger Penske and returns to the site of his first victory. Why shouldn’t Newgarden do big things this coming weekend?

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.