The 2013 500-mile IZOD IndyCar Series finale was cut short for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) when Josef Newgarden’s No. 67 Honda-powered car got caught in a five-car incident on Lap 111 of the MAVTV American Real 500.
The No. 18 car of Justin Wilson spun at the exit of Turn 2 on Auto Club Speedway’s oval, leaving a cloud of smoke behind.
“(The incident) really just sparked from Justin (Wilson) getting loose,” Newgarden said. “There was a lot of smoke and as soon as I saw (Wilson) in front of me spinning I didn’t want to T-bone him, so I ended up going right, slamming into (Oriol) Servia. There was an effect to the rear of us, and Tristan (Vautier) and James Jakes got involved too.”
Newgarden, who started 20th on the grid due to an unscheduled engine change, drove his way as high as eighth place before settling for a 20th place finish.
“What happened is unfortunate, but these things can happen when you’re racing close like we do in IndyCar,” he said. “Everyone does a great job out there and I think it just speaks volumes to the safety of the DW 12 chassis and all the work that IndyCar puts into safety. I feel really safe as a driver out there and right now I’m just glad that everyone is safe.”
A night of racing under the lights on the 2-mile, D-shaped oval was cut short for 11 drivers due to contact.
“Everyone seemed to be getting loose tonight,” Newgarden said. “It was tough and it was changing depending on what tires you were on. It could change every stint. It was difficult to keep the cars underneath us.”
Newgarden, who has shown substantial improvement in his sophomore season, is looking forward to continued progress in the 2013-14 off-season.
“Overall we’ve made huge gains this year,” he said. “We did a lot of things really well and made great progress. I can’t thank everyone at SFHR enough. It’ll be nice to go into the off-season after this weekend and try to make even more progress.”
After 28 lead changes in 250 laps, Will Power of Team Penske took the checkered flag, followed by Ed Carpenter and Tony Kannan. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon took home the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Championship for the third time in his career.
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