AN OPEN-WHEEL CAREER BEGINS
Born just outside of Nashville, TN it became clear at a very early age Josef Newgarden was destined to go fast. It wasn’t the drivers or the glamour of racing that caught his eye, it was the cars. From that very first time he saw an INDYCAR he begged his father for a go-kart. Finally, at age 13, Josef’s persistence paid off, his family purchased his first go-kart. He was hooked and from that moment on the speed and love for driving would consume his life.Nashville, TN is not traditionally a motorsports mecca. So Josef and his family began traveling to Indianapolis on a weekly basis to compete at New Castle Motorsports Park. After honing his craft Josef took home two titles in the 2006 karting season – KRA Junior Yamaha & Junior TAG World Championship. His rapid rise in motorsports was just beginning.
After his success in karting, Josef quickly moved up to the 2006 Skip Barber Southern Regional Series. He would take home three wins and seven podium finishes enroute to a runner-up Championship finish in just his first season of single-seater competition. Newgarden moved into the National Skip Barber Series in 2007 and would compete for two seasons, amassing 5 wins.
AN AMERICAN IN EUROPE
After impressing in the Skip Barber series Josef was selected to compete at the legendary Formula Ford Festival in England as a part of the Team USA Scholarship. Josef would go on to become the first, and only, American driver to win the Kent Formula Ford Festival. After his strong showing in 2008, Josef would stay in the UK to compete in the 2009 British Formula Ford Championship. He would secure nine wins and finish the season as runner up in the Championship, the highest finish by an American in series history, a record that still stands.Josef was starting to catch the eye of team owners in the ultra-competitive landscape of European professional motorsports. Josef would close out 2009 by taking two wins in the opening round of the Formula Palmer Audi category before moving, full-time, into the Formula 1 development series GP3. 2010 would prove to be Josef’s most difficult season in motorsports to date. Despite his efforts and dedication he would finish the season 18th in points having secured one pole position and a best finish of fifth place.
A BUMP IN THE ROAD
Josef’s outlook on his 2011 season was looking bleak. He was concerned his racing career may have stalled out and potentially come to a close. Thankfully, a unique opportunity to race for powerhouse Indy Lights team Sam Schmidt Motorsports presented itself. Josef would move back to the United States and begin focusing on a career path that aligned with what inspired him as a young driver, INDYCAR. It would take just one season to make his presence known in American open-wheel racing. He would take home five wins and 10 podiums, highlighted by a dominant drive at New Hampshire Motor Speedway where he would lap the entire field and take the win.
WELCOME TO INDYCAR
On December 7, 2011, Josef was announced as the driver for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. His incredible 2011 performance afforded him a three year contract with the young INDYCAR team, a rare opportunity for a rookie driver. Newgarden would go on to compete for the team for 3 seasons, earning his first podium at the 2013 Baltimore event. He would narrowly miss the win at the 2014 Iowa Corn Indy 300 due to problems with his last pit stop.
In early 2015, Sarah Fisher would announce that her team was merging with Ed Carpenter and that the team would race under a new banner, Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing. With the addition of Ed’s experience and mentorship, Josef would begin to show his true talents behind the wheel of an INDYCAR. He would kick-off the season with a 12th place finish at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the team would continue to build on this momentum each weekend. During the fourth race weekend of the 2015 season, Josef earned his first IndyCar Series victory at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. He would move from his 5th place starting position to 2nd of the first lap of the race, and lead the most laps enroute to his 2.2-second win. Later that same year, he would take home another win at the Honda Indy Toronto. Josef would finish the season 7th in the standings, a personal best in IndyCar.
The start of the 2016 season would see Sarah Fisher announce that she was no longer participating in the IndyCar Series. The team and Josef would transition to race under the reformed Ed Carpenter Racing. Newgarden showed strength early in 2016 with a podium at the 2016 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. He would narrowly miss a pole position at the 2016 Indianapolis 500 and would start in the middle of the front row. He finished the 100th running of the Indy 500 in a strong 3rd place. At the 2016 Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, Josef was involved in a major incident with Conor Daly where he would break both his hand and clavicle. Remarkably, he returned to the car two weeks later, working his way to a top 10 spot at the 2016 Kohler Grand Prix at Road America. Only 28 days after his crash at Texas, Newgarden would put on a spectacular show at Iowa Speedway, leading 282 of 300 laps and taking the win. A remarkable achievement with a broken hand and shoulder. At IndyCar’s return to Watkins Glen International, the 2016 Grand Prix at the Glen, Newgarden claimed another podium, finishing 2nd. After a 6th place finish at the 2016 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, he finished the season in 4th place overall in the season standings.
THE CAPTAIN CALLS
On October 5, 2017, Team Penske announced that Josef Newgarden would be joining their team as a driver for the 2017 season. Immediately, Josef and Team Penske began to click. He won his first race with the team during round 3 of the 2017 season, clinching victory after a hard fought duel with Scott Dixon.
A CHAMPION IS CROWNED
Newgarden moved into the INDYCAR points lead following back-to-back victories at Toronto and Mid-Ohio. At Gateway Motorsports Park, Josef held off his teammates and Scott Dixon to clinch his fourth series victory of the season. The following week at Watkins Glen, Newgarden had a sizable cushion in the points over second place Dixon. Newgarden ended up leaving the Glen with a three-point lead, later a four-point lead as he won the pole for Sonoma, setting a track record. Newgarden needed to finish 4th or higher regardless of Pagenaud’s result and he finished 2nd to clinch his first title. Newgarden became the first American born driver to win the Astor Cup since Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2012.