By: Ashley McCubbin
Running consistently at the front of the field on a weekly basis, Josef Newgarden put together an impressive season to place second in the year-end standings.
“It was a great season for the No. 2 Chevrolet in 2022, no doubt,” Newgarden told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “It was the most wins I’ve had in one season in my career, but it was wildly up-and-down. Yes, we finished second in the championship but with a bit more consistency we could have really put some distance between us and the rest of the field.”
The campaign including five victories with an average finish of 8.2 across the 17 races.
“Honestly, every win in the INDYCAR SERIES is a favorite,” Newgarden commented. “This is the most-competitive formula in the world, a real drivers championship. But we had some big wins for sure. The team’s first win at Long Beach in several years, which was my first win there ever. That was great. And then, winning the 600th race for Team Penske at Texas. I mean, that is an astounding number when you think about it. Also, the win at Road America and the $1 million prize from PeopleReady will do a lot of good for Serious Fun, and Wags and Walks of Nashville.”
Now as he moves forward and gets ready for the new year, Newgarden says it will be critical to minimize finishes outside of the top-10 by cleaning up a few things.
“That is not easy, by the way,” he commented. “The depth of the field these days is so strong. Chevrolet did a nice job last offseason on making drive-ability improvements that meshed well with our platform at Team Penske, so if we can improve a bit more before 2023 we’ll be in great shape. And then, we just need to be better at Indianapolis.”
The famed oval is circled on the calendar for 2023, despite having placed outside of the top-10 the past two seasons. Newgarden’s best Indianapolis 500 finish came in 2016 at third.
“It’s been a challenging place for us over the last few years, but that work to get better is what drives all of us,” he said. “I think we’re all interested to get out to Thermal and see what that place is all about. It’s in a very popular, interesting part of the country. Any time you can get on a new venue – even if it’s just for Spring Training – it’s fun.”