By David Morgan, Associate Editor
INDIANAPOLIS — After a week of uncertainty since his visit to the hospital in Iowa, Josef Newgarden got the green light to be able to climb back behind the wheel of his No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet when track activity begins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday.
Newgarden was on a dominant run at Iowa last Sunday, looking to sweep the weekend before a suspension component in the right-rear of his car broke, sending him hard into the wall. The four-time winner in 2022 was cleared and released from the Infield Care Center afterwards, but a short time later fell in the motorhome lot and hit his head, leading to an overnight stay in a Des Moines hospital for observation.
Following his release from the hospital in Iowa, Newgarden returned home to Nashville before making the trek north to Indianapolis to undergo a medical evaluation from IndyCar to determine his status for Saturday’s Gallagher Grand Prix.
Late Thursday afternoon, the sanctioning body released a statement that Newgarden had been cleared for opening practice at IMS, a 90-minute session beginning at 9:30 am ET. Following practice, Newgarden will be re-evaluated by the medical staff and a decision will be made then on whether he will be cleared for the remainder of the weekend.
“Following the event at Iowa Speedway and per INDYCAR protocol, the driver of the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden, was evaluated this afternoon by INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows,” the statement read.
“The examination determined that Newgarden is cleared to participate in tomorrow’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice session on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Newgarden will be re-evaluated after the session to determine if he’s cleared to resume all racing activities for the remainder of the Gallagher Grand Prix event.”
Should Newgarden not be able to finish out the weekend after practice, Team Penske has placed Santino Ferrucci on standby to drive in relief of the two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion.