Newgarden Noses Ahead to P1
For the second time in three practice days, Josef Newgarden and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing topped the speed charts during practice for the 2012 Indianapolis 500.
In the final hour of practice, Newgarden ticked off a lap at 222.486 mph. He ran a total of 47 laps for the day.
Teammate Bryan Clauson ended up in 19th position with a speed of 218.334 mph. Clauson ran only 20 laps to conserve tires and mileage for the remaining practice days leading up to the 500-mile race.
With 29 cars running on the track, both Newgarden and Clauson gained valuable experience running in traffic. Practice resumes tomorrow in anticipation of Pole Day on Saturday, May 19.
On topping speed charts in practice:
“It was another strong day. We’re stepping through it each time and we have a lot more to go still, but our good start is continuing to roll forward. We’re feeling positive.”
On finding more speed:
“I think a lot of people found more speed in the end, and it looks like everyone was trying race runs and we kind of jumped in as well. It was a lot of fun. It was good to run out there with the guys and I think we need to do more of that and figure out how the car operates in the draft a little bit. We certainly learned a lot about the way the car reacts today and we just have to keep progressing and trying to make it even more comfortable during the race. Obviously that’s the important time, so we’re feeling good about it.”
On his team’s performance:
“The team is good. It’s Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and they’ve got a great group. We’ve obviously got a good car and we’ve come out really strong as well. We just need to maintain that. It’s definitely a good sign that we started off strong. Normally when you do start off strong you can hold your form, so we’ve just got to try to make that our case. It’s been great having Dollar General back on with us and we have a good looking race car. It’s performing well and we’re really pleased with where we’re at right now.”
On running a shorter day of practice:
“It’s a bummer not to do as many laps because we had so much momentum from the past two days. I feel really confident about the car we have though. We tried some new things today and seemed to pick up a little speed from where we started. Every day is a different goal and I think today we worked through what we needed to. We ended up learning quite a bit and I think we’ll be set up well for the rest of the month. It’s tough trying to make sure your mileage all lines up with how much we’re allowed to run, and we ran a lot the first two days to get acclimated to the track. Today was an easy day and we’ll get back to work tomorrow.”
On pit stops:
“We’ve been working on getting in and out of the pits because I’ve never done a pit stop in an Indy car. We’ll continue working on it as we get closer to the race. It’s hard to simulate a pit stop until race day, but we’ll keep working on it. I’ve done pit stops in stock cars but this is a little different.”
Josef Newgarden is sporting a very bright black and yellow livery and driving suit thanks toDollar General sponsorship for the Indianapolis 500. He has asked his team to buy him a high-quality and similarly colored Batman suit if he wins the race. “I want it to be straight from the “Dark Knight” if we’re lucky enough to win this thing,” Newgarden said.