Josef Newgarden jumped 13 positions to finish ninth in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday, April 7, claiming his first ever top-10 finish in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s second-year driver started the 90-lap race in 22nd and, chipped away at his opponents one by one.
“It was a huge team effort,” Newgarden said. “In IndyCar, with it being so tight, everything has got to go right, everyone’s got to do their part, and when that happens I think we’re going to put good results together and that’s really what you saw today.”
With only one full-course caution flag on the 2.38-mile, 15-turn road course, SFHR was able to precisely perform its plan of attack.
“Today was a great day,” Sarah Fisher, co-owner of SFHR, said with a grin. “We finally executed the plan and pulled it off the way we all worked on and intended it to be. It just gives us a really good feeling going into Long Beach, Brazil and then Indy. We really need to keep this momentum going and I think we can.”
Even with a solid top-10 finish, Newgarden’s mindset is nowhere near complacent. The 22-year-old Nashville-native cited two mistakes he made in Turn 13, where the No. 67 car turned too wide and slid into the marbles.
“I really think we should have been sixth or seventh,” he said. “I’m disappointed, but even so we still finished with a good top-10, but there’s definitely more to be gained.”
2012 IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay took first place on the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama podium, leading a total of 53 laps.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon finished second, followed by Helio Castroneves, Charlie Kimball and Will Power.
With two races packed away, Castroneves leads the series championship with 79 total points. Newgarden is 16th overall with 29 points.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, Calif. on April 21. Follow @SFHRindy on Twitter for the latest updates.