Josef Newgarden’s Strike/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone car looked “striking” under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway, but he struggled to stay up front after starting second and finished 11th in the Firestone 600 on Saturday night.
“It was a tough race for us,” Newgarden said. “There were a lot of green flag laps in a row, which is typical with IndyCar right now because there’s not a lot of mistakes out there. But that makes it difficult when you’re trying to sort out the car because you don’t have a lot of yellows to work with.
“We weren’t quite as strong with the rear of the car as we thought we were, and that was the obstacle we were chasing all night.”
On Thursday, Verizon IndyCar Series officials announced teams could increase downforce for the 248-lap race, which would theoretically slow the car but in turn create less tire degradation.
Newgarden said tire degradation was still a factor during each fuel stint on the 1.5-mile high-banked oval.
“The tire degradation was really high, and we couldn’t drive with a lot of understeer in the car, so that’s what we worked on all night.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series will take a two-week break from competition before heading back to Texas for the Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader June 28-29. Strike again will back Newgarden and SFHR in both races in Houston.
“It was good to have Strike with us this weekend; they are really great people,” Newgarden said. “I wish we could have given them a better result. Realistically, I’d say we were about a seventh-place car tonight, and we weren’t able to seal that up, but I’m excited that they will be back with us in Houston in a few weeks.”
Ed Carpenter won the Firestone 600, followed by Team Penske’s Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya, respectively.
Before racing in Houston, Newgarden and SFHR will drive to Milwaukee and Iowa Speedway for testing days on June 11 and June 13. For the latest news, updates and photos from the team, follow @SFHRindy on Twitter and Instagram and like Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing on Facebook.
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