Josef Newgarden has established himself as one of the true stars of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES as he has produced 15 victories and a pair of series championships since he joined Team Penske in 2017. Newgarden captured the series title in his first year with the team and he earned his second championship just two years later in 2019. Last season, the popular American racer nearly secured his third title with Team Penske as he posted wins in three of the final six races in 2020 before falling just shy of another title bid to finish as series runner up.
Overcoming a delayed start to the 2020 season and a condensed schedule as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Newgarden and the Hitachi team worked hard behind-the-scenes and virtually to replace the time lost on track. Their efforts proved fruitful as Newgarden tied for the series with four wins, including the second race of doubleheader weekends at both at Iowa Speedway, the opening race of the Harvest GP weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and a dramatic victory in the season finale on the Streets of St. Petersburg that brought the team within just a few points of earning back-to-back championships.
In addition to the four wins, Newgarden recorded six podium finishes and won three poles in 2020. Throughout his nine-year NTT INDYCAR SERIES career, the native of Hendersonville, Tenn., has produced 18 victories, 35 podium finishes and 11 poles. Newgarden will look to add to those totals and fight for a third series title in 2021 racing the No. 2 Hitachi/XPEL/Dent Wizard/Snap-on Dallara/Chevrolet.
Newgarden's success in 2020 followed what may have been the best season of his career. In 2019, he posted four wins including the season opener at St. Petersburg, the first race of the Detroit doubleheader weekend and oval victories at Texas and Iowa. With seven podium finishes and two poles Newgarden paved a path to his second series championship as he earned Team Penske's 16th INDYCAR crown.
Early in the 2018 season, it appeared that Newgarden might be on the road to titles in his first two seasons with Team Penske after he earned wins at two of the first four races - at Phoenix and Barber Motorsports Park. Following a tough stretch in the middle of the season, Newgarden returned to Victory Lane at Road America in July. He closed the year with eight consecutive top-10 finishes and wound up fifth in the championship standings to complete a strong sophomore season with Team Penske.
After joining Team Penske in October 2016, it didn't take long for Newgarden to make his mark in the record books of the winningest team in the history of North American open-wheel racing. Newgarden got off to a quick start to the 2017 INDYCAR SERIES season with a victory at Barber Motorsports Park in just his third start for Team Penske. He drove the No. 2 Chevrolet to Victory Lane three more times - at Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Gateway - over the course of the season to lead all series drivers with four wins. He posted 10 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes while leading at least one lap in a series-best 12 races on his way to winning his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship and Team Penske's 15th title in open-wheel racing.
By claiming the INDYCAR championship in his first season with Team Penske, Newgarden joined some elite company. Rick Mears, Al Unser Sr., Al Unser Jr., and Gil de Ferran are the only other drivers to accomplish that feat in the team's storied history. Winning the title at 26, Newgarden also became the youngest series champion since Scott Dixon won it at 23 in 2003, and he was the first American-born driver to claim the crown since Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2012.
Newgarden began his racing career when he was 13 years-old at New Castle (Ind.) Motorsports Park where he won numerous karting titles between 2006-2008. After racing in Europe for a few years, he returned to the United States in 2011 and captured the Indy Lights championship for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, as he posted five wins and 10 podium finishes in 14 starts. The performance earned Newgarden an opportunity at Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing for the 2012 INDYCAR SERIES season.
After scoring his first two career INDYCAR SERIES wins in 2015, Newgarden produced one of the most dominating victories in series history while driving for Ed Carpenter Racing during the 2016 season. He led a series-record 282 of 300 laps after starting second on his way to victory at Iowa. Adding to the impressive performance was the fact that the race came just four weeks after Newgarden suffered a fractured clavicle and right hand in a dramatic accident at Texas Motor Speedway. Overall in 2016, Newgarden recorded six top-five and 11 top-10 results as he finished fourth in the championship standings, just behind the three Team Penske drivers that would become his teammates later that year - Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Helio Castroneves.
As he begins his 10th season in the series in 2021, Newgarden hopes to guide the No. 2 Hitachi team to another NTT INDYCAR SERIES title and his first Indianapolis 500 victory.
A former high school baseball player who loves to play ping pong when he's away from the track, Newgarden and his wife Ashley reside in Nashville, Tenn.
Newgarden Key Accomplishments