By: Ashley McCubbin
Josef Newgarden had a good year in his own right with four race victories, but ultimately came up one spot shy on the ultimate goal in securing the NTT IndyCar Series Championship. He also believes he could have won more.
“I hate to harp on the past. I don’t want to be in the business of making excuses. I think we could have won six or seven races this year, to be honest with you,” he said. “On one hand I’m really proud. I think we’ve had phenomenal racecars. Team Chevy has given us pretty much everything you can ask for. Great engine performance, great partnerships as always. I’ve always had good races with Hitachi on the car. I don’t know why that is. They seem to be a good luck charm specifically for us this year.
“I’m disappointed. We could have won six or seven. I don’t know that I would change much about what we did this year. I don’t know that I’d ask our team to do much different. We sit down and analyze everything, I don’t know that we missed steps very often. We got bit a couple times being in the wrong place, wrong time. As far as our decision making, I was really proud of pretty much what we did all year.”
Ultimately, Newgarden admits he is heading into the off-season torn about his results, as he’s proud of the lack of mistakes they made.
“If you look back at it, the one thing that I could nitpick is maybe we should have been on it a little better in a couple qualifying sessions. Yesterday would have been a key example of that where we may have miss stepped in quallie trim or didn’t capitalize,” he commented. “As far as race day, the decision making we did for a complete season, we finished every lap. We had the potential to win six or seven races on merit, in my opinion. It just didn’t pan out.
“A lot of the days where we should have been on the podium or should have won a race, they didn’t fall our way. I’m extremely proud of that fact, that I don’t think we would have done much different. When we analyze the whole year, we’re not going to point to this mistake or that mistake. There just was not a lot of them, really any at all. It almost makes it that much harder.
“You look at the gap that we were at five races to go, 117 back. You look at how much we clawed back for the season finale, to be beat by so little, that’s what makes it bittersweet. On the one hand I’m happy about a hard performance, but sad about the way the whole thing turned out.”
Despite it all, though, he gets to hold his head high in knowing he left everything on the table in the season finale at St. Petersburg en route to securing the victory.
“Look, I show up to win every race, like any of these guys. If you don’t have that mindset, I don’t know what you’re doing here. I’ll always preach that,” he commented. “We went for the win today. Yeah, maybe there’s some days you’ll say we don’t be as risky on strategy, we might pull back a bit on that approach. We gave it everything we had. We tried to win the race. That was our only focus.
“Whether we win the championship or not, we want to have a great race day, we want to represent our partners and win the race. That’s what we did. We showcased Chevrolet, showed we had the best engine this weekend. Showed off Hitachi, our beautiful car. At the end of the day we won the race but it wasn’t enough for the championship. That’s okay. You’re going to get that.
“We shook our competitor’s hand, told them good job, will come back next year.”
Categories: NTT IndyCar Series