Josef Newgarden of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) finished eighth in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday, April 27, fighting through changing weather conditions for his second top-10 result of the young Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Thunder and lightning forced a two-hour, 30-minute delay to the start of the race, and the field took the green flag on rain tires on the 15-turn, 2.38-mile road course.
Newgarden, from Nashville, Tenn., started fourth in the race but battled tough weather and tricky handling of his SFHR Dallara/Honda/Firestone car.
“It was a tough day for everyone,” Newgarden said. “The conditions were very difficult to figure out, but we salvaged what we could there at the end.
“In the first part of the race, my vision was completely blurred. I couldn’t see a thing. Toward the end of the first run, we dealt with a lot of understeer on the wet and tried to fix that and got on the red tires and did the best we could to try and salvage.”
The 100-minute, 69-lap race ended under caution when rookie Mikhail Aleshin made contact with the tire barrier in Turn 14. There were five caution periods in the treacherous conditions. 2012 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay won the race.
“We could have been a little bit higher potentially for the day,” Newgarden said. “I think we had a top-five car, though it would have been tough to challenge with the leaders. We will take what we can today in good solid points.”
Newgarden holds 10th place in the championship standings.
SFHR will head home to Speedway, Ind., for the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the Verizon IndyCar Series will compete in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis road course race on May 10 and the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25. The team will test Wednesday, April 30 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course.
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