Josef Newgarden and his girlfriend walk the red carpet prior to the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship Celebration — Photo by: Joe Skibinski
Verizon IndyCar Series Statement:
Team Penske announced that rising American star Josef Newgarden will join the organization in 2017 to drive the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Josef Newgarden poses with a young fan outside on the red carpet prior to the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship Celebration — Photo by: Chris Jones
The signing of Newgarden – a five-year veteran of the series with three career wins who finished a career-best fourth in the 2016 championship – comes on the heels of a successful season for Team Penske. Driver Simon Pagenaud won the championship this year – the team’s 14th Indy car title – and led a 1-2-3 finish for Team Penske in the point standings along with Will Power and Helio Castroneves.
Newgarden, the 2011 Indy Lights champion, has spent his entire Verizon IndyCar Series career with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing following a merger of the two teams in 2015. That 2015 season was a breakout campaign for Newgarden, who won at Barber Motorsports Park and on the streets of Toronto to finish seventh in the championship. This year, the 25-year-old overcame a fractured right clavicle and right hand suffered in a crash at Texas Motor Speedway to dominate the Iowa Speedway race – leading 282 of the 300 laps in winning.
“When you look at the top talent in the series, both from a driving and commercial perspective, Josef is near the top of the list,” said Roger Penske, owner of Team Penske. “We are always looking to build toward the future and, when we had the opportunity to talk with Josef, we knew that he would be a great fit with our program. He is a fantastic driver on the track and will be great with our partners off the track. He is hungry to win more races and win championships and we hope to give him that opportunity as part of our team.”
Newgarden, from Hendersonville, Tenn., finished the 2016 season with four podiums and 11 top-10 finishes. He has made 83 starts in his five-season career, not missing a race after sustaining the injuries at Texas in June.
“For any open-wheel racer – or any race car driver in general – Team Penske is a dream job,” Newgarden said. “Roger Penske is a legend in the motorsports community and his team has done just about everything they’ve ever set out to do. I look forward to working with all of Team Penske’s great partners. To get an opportunity to work with Simon, Will and Helio, along with the rest of the team, will just help make me a better driver.”
Celebrating its 50th anniversary of racing in 2016, Team Penske swept the top three spots in the championship for the first time since 1994, when it accomplished the same feat with Al Unser Jr., Emerson Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy. During the course of the 2016 season, Team Penske earned 10 wins – five for Pagenaud, four for Power and one for Juan Pablo Montoya – 11 poles and 22 podium finishes. The team led 811 of the total 2,070 laps (39 percent) over the course of the season.
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