Josef Newgarden drove his way from the last row Sunday to finish eighth in the Pocono INDYCAR 500, the fastest 500-mile Verizon IndyCar Series race in series history.
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) driver Newgarden crashed during qualifications Saturday and started 21st on Pocono Raceway’s 2.5-mile triangular oval. He gained 13 positions in 200 laps.
“It was a solid day considering how the weekend unfolded and after the misfortunes of yesterday and keeping the crew here late last night,” Newgarden said. “It’s nice to bounce back and get a top-10.”
Juan Pablo Montoya of Team Penske won the race with an average speed of 202.402 mph.
During the only caution period in the 500-mile-race, SFHR made two pit stops – one for fuel, tires and added downforce, and a second for a splash of extra fuel.
While the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series field made its final pit stops, Newgarden climbed to first place, leading Laps 188-194.
SFHR had no choice but to make one final pit stop on Lap 194. Six laps worth of fuel were quickly added to the No. 67 Hartman Oil Dallara/Honda/Firestone car. Newgarden’s crew sent him back out for the final six laps, and he picked up his third top-10 finish of the 2014 season.
“It was a big strategy race,” Newgarden said. “Considering nobody did much passing today and because it was more of a track position, fuel mileage and strategy race, I thought we did a really good job of keeping up and making the moves when we needed to. That helped get us into the top 10.”
The Pocono INDYCAR 500 was a double points race and helped Newgarden gain 49 points in the series championship. He sits 18th with seven rounds of Verizon IndyCar Series action remaining.
“We gained solid points, especially on a 500-miler,” Newgarden said. “We’re still not completely satisfied because we come to these races to win, but still being in the front half of the field is very good, and particularly because it’s a double points race.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series will continue its busy stretch of racing Saturday, July 12 at Iowa Speedway for the Iowa Corn Indy 300. For the latest updates from the No. 67 car, follow @SFHRindy on Twitter and Instagram, and like the team on Facebook.