Newgarden: Rookie drivers will struggle in IndyCar this season

Reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden says the rookie class will struggle at this weekend's Texas Motor Speedway season-opener and throughout the season, due to the lack of seat time

Newgarden: Rookie drivers will struggle in IndyCar this season

This year's IndyCar rookies took part in a test at Texas Motor Speedway two days after the Spring Training session at Circuit of The Americas in mid-February, but have not turned a wheel on an oval since then.

Rookies and first-time TMS drivers will get an extra half-hour of practice on Saturday before full field practice gets underway in the one-day schedule.

But Penske driver Newgarden says that the 1.5-mile banked oval will be a tough way to start the season even for series veterans, let alone rookies.

"Texas is a very difficult racetrack to race in general, whether you've been there 20 years or first time," said Newgarden who won the race last year after a late-race duel with Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi.

"It's a daunting track to get right.

"Typically we have five races or so to sort out our stuff, kind of get ourselves in the right frame of mind, have a general base before we go to a track like that.

"I think for the veterans it will be a tough race to get thrust into.

"From the rookie side, it's going to be extremely difficult. This whole year is going to be tough on rookies with limited track time.

"I think Texas will be one of the toughest places to go to right out of the gates, face a big challenge. It will be tough on everybody.

"We probably have to change our mental process a little bit for how we race people.

"I think rookies might have to have some extra care or some extra thought coming up on somebody or racing wheel-to-wheel with one of those guys.

"I hope everyone tries to get back into a rhythm to start this season.

"It's going to be very, very important, especially at a place like Texas, that everyone try to settle in for this first race out.

"I think we need to do that for ourselves individually, but I think collectively as a group coming off the simulator racing we've been doing, trying to get back into a rhythm is going to be important for us."

Newgarden added that he was interested to see how he and his rivals adapt to the rushed nature of a one-day IndyCar event. The regular participants will receive 80 minutes of practice with 15 minutes of pitstop practice.

Qualifying begins under two hours later and, two hours after it ends, the field will take the green flag for the 200-lap race.

"I think in some ways it's very exciting because we've never had opportunities to see who could shine under situations where there's not a lot of testing," said Newgarden who is entering his ninth IndyCar season.

"Kind of have to make quick decisions, hopefully make them better than people around you. From that standpoint, I'm really excited.

"I think it's going to put a lot of pressure to get it right early within a race weekend, within a race situation.

"I think some people will really shine under those conditions, more so than others."

shares
comments
IndyCar News: Series to reveal latest hybrid engine plans in next 30 days

Previous article

IndyCar News: Series to reveal latest hybrid engine plans in next 30 days

Next article

IndyCar’s forgotten Brits: Martin Plowman

IndyCar’s forgotten Brits: Martin Plowman
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Josef Newgarden
Author David Malsher
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021
Why American racing's top dog is without equal Plus

Why American racing's top dog is without equal

A byword for success in business and in motorsport for over 50 years, Roger Penske's importance to the US scene cannot be understated. In an exclusive interview, the custodian of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reflects on his journey

IndyCar
Jan 11, 2021
The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete Plus

The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indycar game-changer that won its third Indianapolis 500 five years after its debut

IndyCar
Dec 22, 2020
Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough Plus

Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough

Josef Newgarden feels he didn't put a foot wrong in 2020, yet his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield a third series championship. But in a warning shot to Scott Dixon, Team Penske's team leader has vowed to redouble his efforts in 2021

IndyCar
Dec 21, 2020
How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season Plus

How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season

Three wins on the trot gave the Chip Ganassi Racing superstar the cushion he needed to hang on for a sixth title in the face of Josef Newgarden's late challenge. Here's the rundown of a typically frantic IndyCar campaign in an extraordinary year

IndyCar
Nov 28, 2020
The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy Plus

The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy

Calls for an improvement in the racing spectacle at the Indianapolis 500 have been met with small aerodynamic tweaks from IndyCar on superspeedways. But where such high speeds are involved, even minor adjustments require significant planning

IndyCar
Oct 31, 2020
The departing IndyCar hero who can't let go Plus

The departing IndyCar hero who can't let go

He's an IndyCar champion and an Indianapolis 500 winner, but there's more to Tony Kanaan's legacy than sheer numbers according some key rivals, team-mates and friends from his 20-year top-flight US open-wheel career

IndyCar
Oct 4, 2020