Josef Newgarden’s journey began at New Castle Motorsports Park in Central Indiana when, at 13 years old he first steered a racing cart out of the pit lane towards turn 1.
Since then, he hasn’t looked back. What followed where multiple wins and karting championships before the move to open-wheel racecars in 2007.
Early Junior formula success culminated with a history making achievement in October 2008. Josef’s win in the Kent class at the Formula Ford Festival at the Brands Hatch Circuit in England, as part of the Team USA Scholarship program, earned him the honor of being the first American driver in the 36-year history of the event to reach the top step of the podium. Like Formula One stars before him such as Jenson Button and Mark Webber, Newgarden’s victory bestowed not just confidence on the track, but also the notoriety off of it to climb the next rung on the motorsport ladder.
- Birthdate: December 22, 1990
- Hometown: Nashville, TN
- Resides: Indianapolis, IN
Josef spent 2009 honing his racecraft in the world’s toughest motorsport training ground, the British Formula Ford Series. He impressed even the most jaded of industry experts as he scored 9 wins and 16 podiums from 25 races and finished the season in 2nd overall and earning the Rookie of the Year title. Josef also competed in the more advanced and powerful Formula Audi cars in 2009, winning two of three races in that series. The racing world was surely now paying close attention to the young American with the European-sounding name.
For 2010, Newgarden moved up to the FIA GP3 Series which, as a mere two steps from Formula 1, attracts the most talented young formula car drivers from around the world. Despite several mechanical troubles, Josef took 5 top-ten finishes and 1 pole position from 16 starts, a more than credible record considering the competition.
The year 2011 saw a dramatic change in course for Newgarden as several Firestone Indy Lights teams expressed their interest in having Josef return to North America to compete for the championship. In the end, the dominant and defending championship squad of Sam Schmidt Motorsports secured the services of the then 20-year-old Newgarden.
In Josef’s rookie season with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in 2012, the then 21-year-old was lightening quick. Newgarden was the fastest rookie and Honda-powered qualifier for the Indianapolis 500, and turned the fastest race lap of all competitors at three different venues. The rookie finished 11th in his IndyCar Series debut in St. Petersburg and started on the front row at Long Beach in only his third IndyCar race. In his first visit to the Sao Paolo, Brazil circuit, Josef qualified 8th and completed the fastest race lap.
2013 brought much improvement for Newgarden’s sophomore season with SFHR. Josef secured his first IndyCar Series podium finish at the Grand Prix of Baltimore. He finished second in Baltimore after qualifying in the Firestone Fast 6 for the first time in his career. The Nashville-native drove from the 25th position to finish 5th in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and also finished in the top 5 at Pocono Raceway and in Race 1 in Houston. Newgarden drove the No. 67 car to top 10 finishes at Barber Motorsports Park, Belle Isle, Detroit, and Texas Motor Speedway. The fastest Honda driver on 4 practice days at Indianapolis 500 finished the 2013 IndyCar championship 14th in points.
2013 Season Highlights
- Earned first IndyCar Series podium in Baltimore, finishing 2nd
- Finished 5th in Sao Paulo, Brazil, after starting 25th
- Secured Top finishes at Pocono Raceway and in Houston
- Finished in the Top 10 in seven races including Barber Motorsports Park, Belle Isle, Detroit, and Texas Motor Speedway
- Fastest Honda driver on 4 practice days at Indianapolis
- Qualified 5th in Baltimore, 7th at Texas Motor Speedway, and 8th in Milwaukee
2012 Season Highlights
- Finished 11th on IndyCar debut in St. Petersburg
- Started on the front row at Long Beach in only his third IndyCar race
- Qualified 8th in Sao PAulo, Brazil on first visit to the circuit – fastest race lap
- Fastest in practice for Indianapolis 500 on 3 of 6 practice days; qualified 7th for the race; top rookie and top Honda-powered qualifier
- In podium contention at Toronto with a few laps to go before blocking violation by competitor, resulted in contact with tire wall, finished 13th – fastest race lap
- Fastest Race Lap 3 times – tied for most in series with Will Power
- 2005-2007 – Multiple World Kart Championships
- 2007 – Second overall in the Skip Barber Southern Regional Series
- 2008 – Second overall in the Skip Barber National Championship (3 wins)
- 2008 – 1st American to win the prestigious International Formula Ford Festival (Kent Class)
- 2009 – Finished 2nd in the British Formula Ford Championship (9 wins, 16 podiums in 25 races). Also won 2 out of 3 Formula Palmer Audi (UK) races
- 2010 – Raced in the FIA GP3 Series (2 steps from F1); 5 top-tens, 1 pole in 16 races
- 2011 – Firestone IndyLights Series champion (5 wins, 10 podiums in 14 races)
Outrun the Sun
As a spokesperson for the nonprofit organization, Outrun the Sun, Josef is speaking out about the importance of sun safety and skin cancer prevention among race fans. “I’ve heard many stories about people leaving the track really scorched after sitting in the stands all day,” Josef says. “I’m glad to be part of this program that encourages race fans to protect their skin. I have a friend who is a melanoma survivor and I can tell you that it is much easier to prevent this disease than it is to treat it. No sunburn, or tan, is worth the risk of getting skin cancer.”
As part of a new sun safety initiative between Outrun the Sun and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), Josef was featured in print, radio and video public service announcements at IMS during the month of May, National Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness month. Outrun the Sun also distributed 30,000 ultraviolet wristbands and sunscreen to fans entering the gates this year’s Indianapolis 500.
“We take the safety of our fans seriously and sun protection plays a vital role in keeping them safe and comfortable,” notes J. Douglas Boles, IMS President. “We want race fans to have the best experience possible while they’re at the track and we’re pleased to partner with Outrun the Sun to lessen fans’ risk for sunburn.”
Outrun the Sun, Inc. is dedicated to building national awareness of melanoma and other skin cancers, educating communities about preventive measures that reduce melanoma’s incidence rate, and to raising funds for melanoma research, leading to effective treatments and a potential cure. You can watch for Josef at upcoming Outrun the Sun events and also in future sun safety promotions!
For more information about skin cancer prevention, please visit www.outrunthesun.org.