Diligence and determination paid off for Josef Newgarden and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) in today’s first of two back-to-back “duals” at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.
Driving the No. 67 SFHR Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, Newgarden started the 70-lap race 24th on the grid and drove his way through the field to seventh position, making his second best career finish.
“Not a bad day,” Newgarden said humbly. “We had a strong car and we did a great job from where we started the race.”
After gaining 15 spots, the sophomore driver pitted early on an alternate pit strategy, falling back to position 19. Once again, Newgarden steered his way past his opponents, slowly gaining ground each lap.
“We had a killer strategy which is crucial when you start in the back on these types of tracks,” he said. “So we were able to pass people when we needed to.”
The SFHR pit crew played a key role in Newgarden’s success, pitting nearly perfectly on all four stops.
“We had great stops by the team and did everything when we needed to, so all of the credit goes to the group,” Newgarden said.
In Sunday’s second race in the double-header weekend, the No. 67 car will take off from the exact same grid position.
“You can never really plan to make the same outcome happen again,” Newgarden said. “We just have to stay out of trouble like we did today and work the strategy with the weather the best we can. I think we need to tweak the car a little bit before tomorrow’s race.”
Dale Coyne Racing’s Mike Conway won the first of the weekend’s Dual race features and will ironically start first on the grid in Sunday’s race. Ryan Hunter-Reay finished second and Justin Wilson third.
Live coverage of Sunday’s race will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC. For the latest updates from the No. 67 car, follow @SFHRindy on Twitter.