BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Sunday, April 23, 2017) – Josef Newgarden added to the growing bank of fond memories he is accumulating at Barber Motorsports Park, driving to victory today in the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.
Newgarden’s win by 1.0495 seconds over Scott Dixon is his second on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn permanent road course and comes two years after he secured his first career Verizon IndyCar Series victory at the same track. It also is the 26-year-old American’s first win since joining Team Penske, which took three of the top four finishing positions in the 90-lap race.
Newgarden took the lead for the first and only time on Lap 77 when teammate Will Power was forced to pit with a punctured left rear tire.
“This is a good one to have, I think we earned it,” said Newgarden, who started the race seventh. “This was a great car this weekend. We were on it.
“I think it was shaping up to be a really great battle for me, Dixon and Will, and it ended just being between Dixon and me. I feel bad for Will. I wish he could have been in that with us, but sometimes that’s the way it rolls.”
Dixon finished second for the fifth time at Barber and for the 34th time in his Indy car career, tying Michael Andretti for fourth all time. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has reached the podium seven times in the eight races on the Alabama track but never won.
Dixon jumped two spots in the season standings to second place and is within six points of the championship lead after the third of 17 races this season. But he lamented the pass Newgarden made on him for second place on a Lap 69 restart.
“I saw him late coming into (Turn) 15 or 16 on the last restart and I tried to turn down, but the car was just so neutral I just didn’t have the rear grip to pull it off,” Dixon said. “Kudos to Josef; he drove a hell of a race and the win was well deserved. The NTT Data car was strong in the race. I think we actually had the speed. I think if we would have had clean air in that race, we would have checked out.”
Simon Pagenaud, last year’s Barber race winner and Verizon IndyCar Series champion, placed third in the No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, just ahead of teammate Helio Castroneves in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet. Alexander Rossi, the winner of last year’s historic 100th Indianapolis 500, gained the most positions from start to finish of any driver, going from 18th on the grid to wind up fifth in the No. 98 Andretti Autosport/Curb Honda.
SOURCE: INDYCAR ♦ PHOTO: Brian Groce
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