(SPEEDWAY, IN) Currently sitting second in the NTT IndyCar Series points standings with three races left, defending series champ Josef Newgarden knew that he would have kick his performances into high gear if he wanted to bring his crew back-to-back titles.
His charge put the No. 1 Hitatchi Team Penske Chevrolet into the winner’s circle at Friday’s INDYCAR Harvest GP Presented by GMP 85-lap feature at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
Newgarden’s third win of the season helped slice his deficit behind series leader Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) to 40 points, 478-438, heading into the second-half of the event, Saturday’s 75-lap sprint that begins at 1:30 p.m. (St. Louis time).
In the caution-free race that averaged 119.060 mph, Dixon finished ninth out of the field of 25.
“I’m so excited to be up here on this platform,” said Newgarden, who picked up his first career victory at IMS. “We had a rocket ship/ I was so surprise by how quick the car was. It was a great flight today.”
Starting in Row 1, Newgarden claimed the victory 14.2940 seconds over runner-up Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport). 20-year-old rookie Rinus Veekay (Ed Carpenter Racing) finished third to claim his first-ever podium finish.
Newgarden led 34 out of the 85 laps and made his most aggressive move with 25 laps remaining by churning ahead of then-race leader Colton Herta (Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport). Herta finished fourth on the afternoon but moved into third place in the point standings (118 behind Dixon).
Saturday’s race can been seen locally on KSDK, Channel 5.