Racing around the U.S. eight out of nine weekends in a row resulted in a stretch of much needed rest and relaxation for the IZOD IndyCar Series field, including Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) driver Josef Newgarden.
After two back-to-back weekends without the familiar sounds and smells of engines, Newgarden is more than ready to jump back into his No. 67 SFHR Dallara/Honda/Firestone car for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
“It’s been nice to have a break in IndyCar, I think a lot of people needed it,” Newgarden said. “It’s especially great that the guys on the team were able to get some rest. It should give us all a little more energy in our step going into Mid-Ohio, which is a really fast paced track that requires a lot of physical energy on the driver and team.”
The 2.25-mile, 13-turn road course in Lexington, Ohio will also be a change of pace for the field of drivers, who have spent the last five race weekends on ovals and city street circuits.
“Mid-Ohio is pretty historic for open wheel racing and in particular IndyCar,” Newgarden said. “It’s been a household track for the series for a long time and I think it’s probably one of the best if not the best road course that we have in the U.S. Out of all the road courses I’ve been to, it’s my favorite.”
Though located in a remote area, race fans tend to enjoy the setup that the historic venue offers and many take advantage of the opportunity to camp at the track.
“The fans love it because it’s different than a lot of other road courses,” Newgarden said. “It has very open viewing areas with lots of rolling hills and elevation and I think it’s a fun place for people to watch. We always have good fans that come out that like IndyCar and enjoy the Mid-Ohio track.”
SFHR will spend most of today (Wednesday) testing for Sunday’s 90-lap race.
“After having this break, I think testing will be good for everyone as far as getting back into a rhythm goes,” Newgarden said. “It certainly will be positive for us. There’s a lot that we want to go over and confirm with ourselves, so I’m excited to get an extra day of trying some things out, but I think we have a good idea of what we want to do over the weekend in order to have success.”
Newgarden holds 15th place in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings, with six races remaining in the 2013 season. The 22-year-old driver is focused on finishing his sophomore season on a strong note.
“It’s definitely getting down to the wire now for a lot of people,” Newgarden said. “There’s been a lot of times where we’ve been close this year and right on the edge of pulling off a great result, and sometimes we just missed it and sometimes we had some bad luck, but I think we’re definitely right there.
“We’ll be looking to capitalize in these last races this year and I think with a little bit of luck on our side and the right moves, we should be able to put some great results on the board and finish the championship well.”
The green flag will drop at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at 3:40 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 4, and live coverage will begin at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. For the latest team news and for the most recent updates from today’s IndyCar test, follow @SFHRindy on Twitter and Instagram.