Josef Newgarden has his target aimed for Pocono Raceway’s ‘Tricky Triangle’ this weekend after leaving Houston last weekend with two 20th-place finishes.
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) driver Newgarden raced on Pocono’s 2.5-mile tri-oval in 2013, the first time Indy cars returned to the historic track in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, since 1989.
Newgarden placed fifth last season. But the Pocono INDYCAR 500 on Sunday, July 6 is 100 miles longer than last year’s race, which will test Verizon IndyCar Series teams and drivers.
“Last year we did pretty good,” Newgarden said. “But this year it’s going to be even more important because the race is 500 miles, and we have to go the extra distance of trying to make a comfortable car.”
Newgarden said he enjoys the challenge of Pocono Raceway’s tricky, unique oval, which has just three turns.
“Pocono is fun because it’s the only triangle that we visit during the year,” he said. “It’s a very complex oval to figure out. Each corner is completely different and trying to tie them all together is a very difficult thing to do. The car wants to do something different in every single corner.”
SFHR did not test at Pocono Raceway this season. Instead, Newgarden spent time in a Honda Racing simulator this week, mentally preparing for Sunday’s 500-mile race.
“We have great support from Honda Racing, and being able to spend some simulation time on Pocono has been very helpful,” Newgarden said. “Understanding how to balance the car between all three corners is the biggest equation we’re trying to figure out.”
Nashville, Tenn.-native Newgarden, one of six full-time Verizon IndyCar Series drivers born in the United States, enjoys spending Fourth of July weekend in Pocono.
“Fourth of July weekend is fun in Pocono,” he said. “It’s a cool spot to spend the holiday. Since it is an American holiday, I’m sure there will be emphasis put on Americans winning it. To me, winning at any weekend is the goal.”
NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will broadcast the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at noon (ET), Sunday, July 6. It will also air on IMS Radio Network on channels XM 209 and Sirius 213. NBCSN will air delayed qualifications at 7 p.m. (ET) Saturday, July 5.
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