Josef Newgarden is back among the favorites after victory at Mid-Ohio – The battle for the title is wide open after eight winners from ten races – The Music City Grand Prix casts its shadow ahead
Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) declared his ambitions for his third title before the summer break. The 2017 and 2019 champion won the Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio to celebrate his first win of the season just before the summer breather.
After Penske as well as Newgarden somewhat languished at the start of the season, the US American was already in captivating form in Detroit and at Road America and was on the verge of break-through. In the Motor City, Newgarden was only caught by Pato O’Ward (McLaren SP) in the final laps due to the Mexican’s fresher rubber.
At Road America, Newgarden dominated the race at will. However, shortly before the end of the race, when everyone already took Penske’s first win of the year for granted, technical gremlins struck. Once again, Newgarden gave away a certain victory and even dropped through to 21st place.
However, after visiting Victory Lane at Mid-Ohio, the 30-year-old is now fourth in the championship. Despite being 69 points behind championship leader Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing), Newgarden will enter the final third of the season highly motivated.
Eight different winners from the first ten races
Will Palou manage the title coup in only his second season in IndyCar? Thanks to consistent results and his two wins in 2021, the only 24-year-old Spaniard currently holds the best hand. Palou leads the championship with 384 points ahead of O’Ward with 345 points and Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) with 328 points. Fourth and fifth are Newgarden on 315 markers and Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing) on 280 markers.
Palou and O’Ward are the only two drivers who have already scored two victories this year. Palou won the opener at Alabama, as well as dusting off the win at Road America when Newgarden’s machinery failed near the end. O’Ward, on the other hand, won at Texas Motor Speedway and in Detroit, both in the second race.
In all other races, it was a different driver who celebrated his first win of the season. With Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport), Dixon, Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing), Helio Castroneves (Meyer Shank Racing), Marcus Ericsson and most recently Newgarden, there have been an incredible eight different victors in ten races so far. The most varied season in IndyCar history will certainly have more surprises in store over the final six rounds.
Next stop: Music City GP in Nashville
On 8th August, the IndyCar Series does not only return from its summer break – it also has a special debut in the shape of the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville. The new 2.17 mile (3.49 kilometre) Nashville street circuit will be a unique experience in several respects.
The track will pass by the NFL stadium of the Tennessee Titans and cross the Cumberland River, one of the main waterways in the USA. Speeds of up to 320 kilometres per hour are expected when crossing the 1.1 kilometre Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge. Overall, the drivers are anticipating a street circuit with high speeds and a special flair. The eleventh round of the IndyCar Series will go green on 8th August at 11:30 pm (CET).