For IZOD IndyCar Series rookie Josef Newgarden, 2012 has been full of opportunities not usually experienced by someone his age. He has started on the front row of the Long Beach Grand Prix, has qualified seventh for the Indianapolis 500 and has raced wheel to wheel with IndyCar’s living legends.
But last weekend he did what every other 21-year-old male living in the U.S. did—he went to the movie theater and saw “Ted” with his friends.
At its most recent stop at Iowa Speedway, the IZOD IndyCar Series wrapped up five consecutive weekends of racing that was also sprinkled with tests at various tracks. After an action packed month of May in Indianapolis followed by four race weekends, Newgarden was ready to take a deep breath.
“I just went home and spent time with family and friends after Iowa,” Newgarden said. “There was a lot to get through in this last month for everyone in the sport, so we were all looking forward to a break. It was nice to have time off to reflect and think about everything that’s happened so quickly.”
Spending time with friends his age who don’t compete at the highest level of open-wheel racing in North America is grounding for Newgarden.
“My friends are up to a lot of different things,” he said. “One is a business marketing major with potential to do big things in the future. Another is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met who should probably be on TV. It’s nice to balance out my daily life with what they do in school.”
While Newgarden’s job driving the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone car comes with as much risk for pressure as it does reward, Newgarden maintains that he wouldn’t swap positions with any of his friends.
“All 21-year-olds are different from each other in what they do and what experiences they seek out. I don’t mind missing out on some things because most people don’t get to do what I do in this car,” Newgarden said. “My path may be different than other people’s, but racing is just what I like to do.”
Newgarden will take to the Streets of Toronto for IZOD IndyCar Series practice on Friday, July 6. The Honda Indy Toronto will be broadcast on ABC Sunday, July 8 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
“SARAH FISHER (SFHR Team Co-Owner- Commercial Point, Ohio)
This is your team’s first time running in Toronto and the team has had its best finishes of the year on road/street courses. Did you expect the team to evolve so quickly from oval specialists to serious competitors on road and street courses?
“As a team, we have been able to expand our ability to simultaneously focus on all three different circuits through increased engineering, development projects and driver selection, as we approached this season. We knew we would have to put forth the effort from all fronts to give us the best possible preparation even at the late stage that we were able to commit to the season long effort. It’s ongoing, the dedication and effort put forth from everyone at SFHR, which is directly the reason we have been so competitive on a consistent basis. I am so proud of all the individuals here, who as a team are truly persevering towards that great finish we know is coming soon, and hopefully at Toronto!”
You were very young for your rookie season in IndyCar similar to your team’s driver Josef Newgarden. What did you do to stay grounded when you were moving up to the highest level of open-wheel racing?
“There is a lot of pressure on your shoulders to perform as a rookie, from every angle. The intensity of our sport and the endurance in the environment is a challenge that you can only experience from being a part of it. As a rookie I was 19, and my first year was a roller coaster ride. Just the idea of doing what I loved, racing at the top of open wheel, was a fantastic reward.”