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IndyCar Road America

Newgarden “got burned” at Road America with the late strategy call

Josef Newgarden missed out on victory in the IndyCar round at Road America after losing time during the final pit sequence with 12 laps to go.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, Pit Stop

Newgarden was leading a Team Penske 1-2-3 ahead of team-mates Scott McLaughlin and Will Power in the build-up to the last pit stop.

As the laps trickled down, Newgarden also began catching back marker Nolan Siegel, who was called to drive the #78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet while regular Agustin Canapino took a leave of absence following a controversial last week. 

Stuck in a compromising situation and losing time behind Siegel, Newgarden was on the wrong end of the final pit stop window on lap 43. McLaughlin opted to pit the lap prior while Power went for the overcut – with a gap big enough to maximise pace – to vault both team-mates and emerge with the lead - the Australian securing the 42nd  win of his career.

Newgarden was visibly bothered by the win slipping away but carried over the optimism for Team Penske’s sweep of the podium, which hadn’t happened since Sonoma in 2017, especially after his heavy crash at The Kink in qualifying.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet celebrate on the podium

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet celebrate on the podium

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

“It was a great day; great team day,” said Newgarden.

“I think we're all going to be really pleased with the 1-2-3, especially with the #2 car and the disaster yesterday. It was a real team effort to put a new car together. Everybody pitched in, the #12, the #2 and the #3.

“Really rewarding for the entire crew when you have to go through something like that, put it all together, we finish 1-2-3, it's as good as it can get.

“At the same time, we sort of gave that one away - I will say this, too. I felt like we gave it away, but all three of our cars were pretty stellar pace-wise. Whether it was the #3, the #12 or me, I think we all had similar pace.

“With that capability for any of us to win that race, you saw the 1-2-3 because of that.”

"I didn't make the right call"

Newgarden knew the overcut would come into play in a critical way based on how the tyres reacted in the warm-up session ahead of the race.

Even with knowing that, though, coming up on Siegel is where the management of that got complicated.

It was literally nearly three seconds of an advantage on an overcut,” Newgarden said.

“Two-and-a-half, three-second advantage. You can't get overcut on a day like today. You got to work that problem out. We pretty much had it worked out. We've got to a sort of confusing place at the very end with the #78.

“It's all part of IndyCar racing. You've got to sort of manage the situation. I felt like I didn't make the right call there. We could have kept going, and we should have.

“So, when you go for the undercut, that's what happens. You just get burned. We got burned at the end.”

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