Josef Newgarden crossed the checkered flag in sixth place at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Sunday afternoon, battling Sonoma Raceway’s 2.385-mile,12-turn natural-terrain road course.
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) driver Newgarden started on the front row, drove in the top three for the first 35 laps and led Laps 17-18. But a combination of tire wear and rising temperature played into Newgarden’s result in the final road course event on the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series calendar.
“I think the temperature hurt us quite a bit,” Newgarden said. “It was a hot day, and it just didn’t suit what we were doing very well. We were much better in the morning when it was cooler, and we just weren’t as strong when the temperature went up and also as the track got slower from dust and wind pickup.
“It just got slower all afternoon, and we just got worse, and it didn’t cater to what we were doing setup-wise. The tire degradation was tough today. We were out to lunch on that, and I think that was all attributed to temperature. We were strong in some aspects, but the temperature hurt us.”
Newgarden’s sixth-place drive marked his sixth top-10 finish in 2014. He moved from 16th to 13th in the series championship point standings.
“I think the positive to take away from this weekend is that we secured a solid top-10 result on one of our more difficult tracks over the last couple of years,” Newgarden said. “We’ve made big strides in what we’re doing and the direction we’ve gone.”
SFHR will stay in California for the MAVTV 500 Verizon IndyCar Series finale Saturday, Aug. 30 at Auto Club Speedway, a 2-mile oval in Fontana, California.. Newgarden will test the No. 67 Hartman Oil Honda during the open test Wednesday, Aug. 27 at Fontana.
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