Four races remain on the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, with the next event Sunday, Aug. 3 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course — a track Josef Newgarden compares to an amusement park thrill ride.
“Mid-Ohio is cool because it’s like a roller coaster,” Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) driver Newgarden said. “It’s very flowing, and I think this is the circuit with the most grip that we go to all year.
“You can literally exit some of the corners and go flat on the throttle. There’s just so much grip around Mid-Ohio, especially once we get toward the end of the weekend. That’s really fun because it’s high commitment. If you want to be fast around Mid-Ohio, you have to really be committed to the lap time.”
The elevation changes and quick turns on a roller coaster ride bring thrills to passengers similar to the charge IndyCar drivers feel along the 13-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course.
Newgarden drove test laps in his No. 67 Hartman Oil Dallara/Honda/Firestone car July 24 at Mid-Ohio to prepare for the Honda Indy 200.
“Last week’s test went really well,” Newgarden said. “Last year we struggled in the test and we didn’t have quite what we needed from the car last year, but this year I think we have a much better starting point. I feel encouraged that we’re going to be fast.
“We’ve been fast at a lot of tracks this year, and we’ve had success working with my engineer Jeremy (Milless) and the whole SFHR team. I think we made good progress, and we’re going to be strong.”
The ups and downs a roller coaster produces are a metaphor to Newgarden’s season. There have been bright moments, including a recent second-place finish at Iowa Speedway, along with days of disappointment.
Newgarden sits in 16th in the Verizon IndyCar championship points standings with four races in front of him.
“The final races this year are crucial because if you’re not where you want to be in the championship, it’s important to vault yourself back up,” Newgarden said. “We need to have a good final stretch, and we will see where the points land.”
The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network at 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Aug. 3. The 90-lap race will also air on IMS Radio Network on channels XM 209/Sirius 213.
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