Newgarden looks to add to his trophy case at Indy

Newgarden goes for the milk at Indy

Josef Newgarden

He’s the 2017 NTT IndyCar Series champion and the points leader at this writing this season. A nice addition to Josef Newgarden’s resume would be an Indianapolis 500 victory.

And he’ll have that opportunity Sunday, May 26, when he and 32 other drivers take to the 2.5-mile quad oval of Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, airing live on NBC.

For the 28-year-old Tennessean, this is his eighth start in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and his third for Team Penske. His best showing came in 2016, when he dueled Carlos Munoz for the lead in the race’s final laps before being forced to pit for fuel, which opened the way for then-rookie Alexander Rossi to drive to victory. For his trouble, Newgarden finished third.

Asked afterward whether he regretted his decision to not conserve fuel, he replied, “It’s Indy. You gotta go for it.”

This season after four races, Newgarden sits atop the IndyCar points standings thanks to a win in the St. Petersburg season opener and four top-five finishes. The 500 comes in the midst of a critical four-week stretch for these drivers, that started with the May 11 Grand Prix of Indianapolis followed by the double-points Indy 500 on Sunday and the twin races of the Detroit Grand Prix on June 1-2. Performing well at this time of year can set up a championship run.

And while a second series title is certainly nothing to scoff at, even Newgarden would admit a Borg-Warner Trophy and a swig of milk in Victory Lane is what it’s all about.

Josef Newgarden

Full name: Josef Nicolai Newgarden

Birth date: Dec. 22, 1990

Birthplace: Hendersonville, Tenn.

Height/weight: 6 feet/177 pounds

Car: No. 2 Dallara/Chevrolet

Team: Team Penske

IndyCar wins: 11

Top 10s: 65

Poles: 6

Previous series: Skip Barber Southern Regional (2006-07), Skip Barber National (2007-08), Formula Palmer Audi (2009), British Formula Ford (2009), GP3 Series (2010), Indy Lights (2011)

Honors and achievements: 2017 NTT IndyCar Series championship; 2011 Indy Lights series championship

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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