Josef Newgarden and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) had a tough day swerving through the Streets of Long Beach after a pit stop glitch halted the progress of the No. 67 SFHR/Dallara/Honda/Firestone car.
“We shot ourselves in the foot on both ends,” Newgarden said. “We had a slow stop and then I ended up stalling the car. So we had a double foul all around. I feel bad, we were already slow in the stop and then I pretty much finished us off with the stall.”
Newgarden, who fell from 12th to 20th-place after stalling the No. 67 car, fought his way back into the mix finishing the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 13th overall.
“We had an ok recovery from the slip-up,” he said, “But thinking about where we could have been if we didn’t have the mistake is disappointing. We probably would have gone straight to the front with the decision we made if the stop would have been cleaner. It’s a shame, but we will learn from it and move on.”
The sophomore driver, who holds 19th-place overall in the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship, understands that every second in a race is crucial with the competitive field of drivers surrounding him.
“Anytime you have an error like that, it pretty much ruins your day,” Newgarden said. “It’s tough to come back that late in the race from a mistake. Those are things you have to minimize, so we’re going to try to not have as many of those slip-ups in the future because they can be detrimental. Luckily it didn’t bite us too bad today.”
The 22-year-old Nashville-native is keeping a positive outlook on the long season that lies ahead.
“The positive is that the car is in one piece and we finished 13th, which is not horrible,” Newgarden said. We’re not satisfied with a mediocre finish, but I’m excited to go to Brazil in a few weeks and get another shot.”
A.J. Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato took first place on the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach podium, making him the first Japanese driver to win an IZOD IndyCar Series race. Rounding out the top five were Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson, Dario Franchitti and JR Hildebrand.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Sao Paulo Indy 300 on May 5 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. To get the latest news from SFHR, follow @SFHRindy on Twitter.