The second of three Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheaders heats up this weekend for the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers, where surviving the high temperatures and heavy humidity is vital.
Josef Newgarden of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) spent time during the Verizon IndyCar Series two-week break from competition to train for the warm climate.
“The heat is a challenge all around,” Newgarden said. “It’s the humidity that gets you in Houston. Hydrating is absolutely crucial, especially in between races. We’re going to be running Sunday as well so Saturday night you have to make sure that you’re ready to go for the next race. The pit crews are out on their feet working 10-hour days, so hydrating and staying cooled off is crucial for them as well.
“I tried to do a lot of cardio training outside over the last week, acclimating myself to what I’m going to be dealing with inside the car. You can’t simulate exactly what it’s going to be like. It’s even hotter with all of your racing gear and being inside an Indy car with the heat that it produces. Running and cycling are my two favorite things to do outside when I train.”
In 2013 SFHR left Houston with fifth and 13th place finishes. Newgarden, 23, is currently 18th in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship point standings, after leaving multiple tracks in the first half of the season with subpar results that stemmed from situations out of his control.
“I’d like to leave Houston with a couple of really strong results,” Newgarden said. “Looking at Detroit’s doubleheader, we didn’t have a good weekend. We had good pace, but we weren’t able to leave the weekend with good results. We could definitely use a break. We’ve been close this year, we just have to try and catch that break. We’re hoping to make Houston the place to do it.”
Humidity aside, Houston’s pair of 90-lap races on the 1.683-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit will not be an easy task, according to Newgarden.
“It’s a challenging course because the concrete is a little different than places like Detroit and Toronto,” he said. “There’s some places where there’s a lot of grip and some places where there’s zero grip. Trying to figure out where you need the car to work on the concrete areas that have no grip is a test.”
Strike, LLC will again back SFHR’s No. 67 entry. Strike is headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, right outside of Houston.
“It’s great to have Strike back on for Houston,” Newgarden said. “They’re partnering with us for the whole Texas campaign. Dallas was fun, but we didn’t finish as high as we wanted to. I think Strike would appreciate having even better results in Houston because it’s their home base. Everyone loves the Strike livery and I love showing up to a weekend where I get to drive the Strike car.”
To catch Newgarden in the Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader, tune into NBC Sports Network at 3 p.m. (ET) Saturday, June 28, and Sunday, June 29. Both races will air on the IMS Radio Network, broadcast on the Sirius 213 and XM 209 channels. For the latest trackside updates from the Strike car, follow @SFHRindy on Twitter and Instagram, and like Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing on Facebook.
Strike is a leading single-source energy services provider, known for its high safety and quality standards. Strike’s integrated network of energy services ranges from upstream production, processing and gathering facilities to high-pressure transmission and distribution lines. Strike is committed to ensuring the safety and health of its employees, the general public, environment and its customers through the industry leading Safety program. Fulfilling a need in the Midstream Energy sector led to the creation of Strike, LLC in 2003, and Strike’s foundation is built on the pillars of Safety, Quality, Accountability, and Integrity through partnering. Over the past 10 years, Strike has created various business units with numerous locations throughout the Gulf Coast region. For more information about Strike, please visit www.strikeusa.com