A top-10 finish is an excellent starting spot for Josef Newgarden and company, but it is consistency that will keep Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) on track to reach its long-term ambitions.
SFHR is headed west for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the street circuit where Newgarden started in the front row as a rookie, before getting spun out by veteran driver, Dario Franchitti.
“Not being able to run the race last year and getting knocked out into Turn 1 on the first lap was difficult,” Newgarden said. “So I’d like to run the whole race and hopefully do well.”
After a ninth place finish in Alabama on April 7, SFHR is confident that California will bring continued success.
“Long Beach is going to be so important to continue the momentum that we have,” Newgarden said. “We really want to come into Indianapolis with a steady stretch of good results, so it’s super important that we go to Long Beach and score solid points and continue the consistent streak.”
New Firestone tires for all of the IndyCar drivers will challenge each team on the 1.968-mile street course.
“The tires are different this year so that’s going to be a variable that most people have to deal with,” Newgarden said. “I am excited because we had a really good car in Long Beach in 2012 and I think we’ll have an even better one this year.”
Since his first top-10 finish at Barber Motorsports Park, Newgarden said his team has turned a corner and is working on continued improvement each day.
“We’re working on pit stops continuously,” he said. “I’m working on my in and out laps and trying to make everything as smooth as possible leading up to pit stops.”
The No. 67 SFHR Dallara/Honda/Firestone car will start its engine at the longest running street course in North America on NBC Sports Network at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 21. Newgarden will begin practice on Friday, April 19 at 1:30 p.m. ET and will qualify at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 20. For live trackside Twitter updates, follow @SFHRindy.