Newgarden fails to repeat at Barber, but ‘happy’ to finish third

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Josef Newgarden was hoping a return trip to Barber Motorsports Park would mean a return to Victory Lane, but when the checkered flag flew the young American came home with a third place finish.

Newgarden maintained a consistent pace for much of the day, always hanging among the top five before charging late. The 25-year-old made a daring move on the inside of Will Power in the closing stages of the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama, and began to hunt down the wounded Honda of Graham Rahal for second.

Rahal lacked front downforce after his front wing was destroyed following contact with eventual race-winner Simon Pagenaud and the lapped car of Jack Hawksworth. Time would run out on Newgarden as the Ed Carpenter Racing driver was left to enjoy the podium celebration once again at Barber, but this time from the bottom step.

“That was tough, man,” said Newgarden on the afternoon’s race. “I was hoping we would have a little more today. I’m happy we got a podium. That’s great and good points. It was fun trying to keep up and pass a little bit.

“The Fuzzy’s car was great – it wasn’t like it was bad but it wasn’t enough for the top two guys in Pagenaud and Rahal. We had to have a little more but it was a long day. With no yellows, this is a hard place to go flat-out around. Everyone was working really hard out there.”

Image: Matthew Bishop/Tribute Racing

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Joey Barnes is the Founder of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.

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