Josef Newgarden’s rookie IZOD IndyCar Series season has been a roller coaster ride full of competitive speeds and bad luck, and the season finale MAV TV American Real 500 was no different.
The No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) car got a quick jump off the starting grid from 14th position and climbed to eighth on the first lap.
From there, Newgarden developed rear instability and fell back several positions. He adjusted the No. 67 car’s weight jack from the cockpit and was able to improve the car’s handling before his first pit stop.
On lap 43, Newgarden reported to the team that the No. 67 car had lost power. He coasted into his pit box where it was discovered that an electrical failure had occurred that was outside of the team’s control.
The Tennessee native went nine laps down while the team replaced the part. Due to a series of cautions, he was able to gain three laps back.
Newgarden and the SFHR team then focused on finishing the race and refining the car to gain valuable data for the 2013 season.
“I thought the race was great,” Newgarden said. “The low downforce was tricky, and I wish I could have been part of the front group. It was a shame that we had a problem and were out of the mix early on.”
Newgarden finished the race in 16th having completed 244 of 250 laps.
“It was good that we ran the rest of the race after the problem we had,” he said. “It’s better than not running and it’s great experience for the future.”
Now that his rookie season is in the books, Newgarden and SFHR will focus forward on the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
“It’s been a tough year,” Newgarden said. “I think for the off-season we’ll look to apply everything we learned and come out swinging in 2013.”
Owner/driver Ed Carpenter earned his team’s first victory in the MAV TV American Real 500. He edged out Dario Franchitti of Ganassi Racing when a late caution slowed the field on its final lap.
Scott Dixon of Ganassi Racing, Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport and Helio Castroneves of Team Penske completed the top-five. Hunter-Reay’s fourth-place finish was good enough to earn him the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series championship title.
Fellow championship contender Will Power of Team Penske lost control of his car on Lap 56 and made contact with the Turn 2 wall. Power’s misfortune allowed Hunter-Reay to nose ahead of him and take the championship with only a three-point advantage.