Josef Newgarden has packed away his rookie “incognito” season and is ready to start fresh in the No. 67 car for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg this weekend.
“We had all this down time, and now it feels like there’s no time to get everything done for the race weekend,” Newgarden said. “There’s so much to still do with just a few days left. I’m currently really busy getting packed!”
Let’s hope the sophomore star does not forget his helmet before heading south for the Streets of St. Petersburg, the first IZOD IndyCar Series race of the 2013 season.
“We’re just so much more prepared as a team this year,” Newgarden said. “We’ve had a lot of time to enable us to catch up. We dove into the season quickly last year without as much time to prepare. We’ve refined the car and gone over everything from the driver and car standpoint, so we’ve refined the process to be stronger this year.”
Newgarden’s highest finish of the 2012 season was at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, where he placed 11th.
“I love the environment in St. Pete,” Newgarden said. “It’s filled with a ton of IndyCar fans with good weather in a great city. The track is a high braking track. The braking in the car on that circuit is challenging, which also makes it very technical.”
In four races last season, Newgarden turned the fastest lap of any driver. At the Indianapolis 500 he qualified seventh, which made him the quickest rookie qualifier. In 2013, Newgarden and SFHR will proudly attack the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule again backed by Honda power.
With sophomore status comes higher expectations for the No. 67 SFHR Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, and with less than five days remaining until the Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, SFHR is itching to get back to the track after a lengthy winter pause.
“I’m looking forward to the race weekend and the process you have to go through during the weekend with your team,” Newgarden said. “It’s so much fun to go through practice, qualifications and the race to get the weekend down to a good result over the three days. It’s a blast to work with the team and get ready. Everyone’s been chomping at the bit and we’re hungry to start this year. We want to see the results this year from all of our efforts.”
NBC Sports Network will air The Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 24.
Follow @SFHRindy on Twitter for real-time updates from the No. 67 car.