Racing is a numbers game. What number is a driver on the starting grid? What lap number is the best to pit on? How many tenths of a second can be shaved off a qualifying lap?
IZOD IndyCar Series rookie Josef Newgarden has a few shocking numbers in his arsenal, but the 21-year-old Tennessee native enters the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with a cool head and strong showings at the previous two events of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Following are a few of Newgarden’s numbers that might warrant a head scratch:
It would be easy for most 21-year-olds to get caught up in racing’s dizzying numbers game, but Josef Newgarden and the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team will take each of the 85 laps in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach one at a time to battle for a number at the top of the finishing order.
The Streets of Long Beach are known as a street circuit that requires driver skill to excel. What has been your experience there?
“Long Beach has long straightaways, which provides for good speed. You also have to have a good compromise on your downforce levels. It’s a tricky track with a couple of manhole covers that can bite you. I certainly caught the wrong end of one last year in the Firestone Indy Lights race. I ended up in the wall very late in the race when I was in the lead. Hopefully I’ve learned from those lessons and can apply the track knowledge I have to make it easier for us going there in an IndyCar.”
With your first two IZOD IndyCar races under your belt, how are you feeling in your car?
“I feel great in the car, and it’s been a really good transition from Indy Lights. Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing has made it easy on me. I love the car and I love working with the group of engineers and mechanics on the team. It’s fun trying to get ahead of other teams and figure out the new car quicker than everyone else.”
EVENT BROADCAST SCHEDULE
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will air live on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, April 15.