Penske Racing

Team Penske 2023 INDYCAR Season Review - Josef Newgarden

December 6, 2023

Team Penske continues to look back at the exciting 2023 season with an overview of each team's performance and highlights. In this week's spotlight, we focus on Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 Hitachi/PPG/Shell/Snap-on Chevrolet team and their memorable 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

For Josef Newgarden and Team Penske’s No. 2 Hitachi/PPG/Shell/Snap-on Chevrolet team, the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES (NICS) season brought the highest of highs and a few challenges as well. While Newgarden and the team saw their four-year streak of top-two finishes in the NICS championship standings – including the 2019 title – come to an end, the No. 2 Chevy squad produced the biggest victory of Newgarden’s career by winning the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.

With three additional wins on the year, Newgarden nearly matched his career-high of five victories that he established in 2022 before late-season issues resulted in the team finishing fifth in the championship standings at year’s end.

If there was any doubt that Newgarden was the best oval racer of his generation in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, those were put to rest by his continued dominance in 2023. In the second race of the year at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS), Newgarden quickly drove to the lead after starting from the fourth position to lead 123 laps on the way to his second consecutive TMS win and his third overall at the track.

It was the month of May where the two-time NICS Champion checked the biggest box on his career bucket list. In his 12th start in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” Newgarden methodically worked his way to the front of the 33-car field to take the lead at just the right time, holding off 2022 Indy 500 Champion Marcus Ericsson, in a dramatic run to the checkered flag that produced Team Penske's 19th Indy 500 victory. In becoming the first Tennessean to win the Indy 500, Newgarden was honored on July 31 with a day of recognition by the Tennessee state legislature, and was hosted by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, at the Tennessee Residence on August 7.

The 7/8-mile Iowa Speedway bullring, however, is where Newgarden’s circle track prowess shines through more than any other venue. Prior to this year’s July doubleheader weekend at Iowa, Newgarden had visited Victory Lane there on four occasions. A mechanical issue in the second race of the 2022 doubleheader kept him from possibly making it five victories – and three in-a-row – heading into 2023. During this season’s Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend, Newgarden’s Iowa domination emerged one of the most impressive feats of the year. When the dust settled, Newgarden had two more Iowa trophies to take home after leading 341 of a possible 500 laps. To put into perspective how natural he feels on the Iowa asphalt, over the last 10 NICS races at the “Fastest Short Track on the Planet,” Newgarden has recorded six wins and a total of 1,736 laps led.

Following a fourth-place finish on the streets of his hometown race in Nashville, Newgarden and the No. 2 Chevy team hit an unexpected rough patch to finish the season. Three finishes of 21st or worse over the last four races – including a chance to become the first driver to sweep all of the oval races in a single INDYCAR season – dropped Newgarden from third to fifth in the championship standings after the final race of the year at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

While it wasn’t the finish to the year that Newgarden and the team were hoping for, they still put together a solid season by any measure. Four wins, a victory in the Indianapolis 500 and the eighth consecutive top-five finish in the standings reinforced the fact that the No. 2 Chevy crew continues to be one of the premier teams in the series.

“It was a tough end to the year, but I’m really proud of this No. 2 team and the job they did this season,” said Newgarden. “As far as race car preparation and execution I felt it was a strong year. It just wasn’t our year for the championship. Still, to win four races, including the Indianapolis 500, is a great season. We’ll build on that over the offseason and be ready for 2024.”

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