By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter
Years in IndyCar: 5
Career Laps led: 679
2016 Team: Ed Carpenter Racing
2017 Team: Team Penske
Josef Newgarden ended his chapter at Ed Carpenter Racing on high note in 2016.
His season literally got turned upside down in a horrific crash at the Texas Motor Speedway on June 12. The accident left him with a broken hand, clavicle and possibility of missing a race.
Once he was medically cleared to race at Road America, Newgarden finished eighth in the race after a brilliant come-from-behind performance after starting 20th.
The 2011 Indy Lights Champion carried out an even sweeter show at the Iowa Speedway two weeks later. He crushed the competition by leading an Indy car record 282 laps on the way to the race win.
A chance to contend for the championship was dashed by a crash on the Streets of Toronto and being unable to resume the postponed Texas race. He responded to those poor finishes positively with a second place at Watkins Glen and a sixth at the finale at Sonoma Raceway.
The double points awarded at Sonoma moved him up to a career best championship finish of fourth.
Now he has signed with the legendary Team Penske squad, replacing Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet.
He has moved to a team that will do anything to win and expects their drivers to have that same mindset, so expectations are very high for the young American.
There is no doubt that Newgarden has the winning desire and the Penske personality. He has contended for championships driving for Ed Carpenter Racing, but keep in mind that was with a 2-car team where Newgarden was the main focus.
Now, he will race alongside Penske’s trio of 2017 champ Simon Pagenaud, 2014 champ Will Power and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. All three drivers have been immersed in the Penske culture for some time now.
After a few test sessions in the books, Newgarden feels right at home on and off the track with the team.
It is all just a matter of time to see if he fulfills his potential as a championship winning driver.