Josef Newgarden is comfortable driving fast on four wheels in his Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) Indy car, but on a recent visit to Milwaukee he had a change of pace and cruised the downtown streets with the Milwaukee Police Department’s bicycle patrol.
Newgarden and SFHR return to Milwaukee this weekend for the Milwaukee IndyFest at the historic Milwaukee Mile, and Newgarden may have a few new fans in the stands who dress in blue and wear badges at their day jobs.
“Riding with the Milwaukee police’s bicycle unit was really fun,” Newgarden said. “They showed us all around their downtown areas and it was really cool to see what they do on a daily basis.”
The No. 67 SFHR/Dallara/Honda/Firestone car even sports the traditional police colors of blue, black and white. During his time with the bicycle unit, Newgarden found that he could get used to patrolling the streets.
“I think Ryan Hunter-Reay (fellow IZOD IndyCar Series driver), who also rode with the unit in Milwaukee, would agree that I have some good police officer skills,” he said. “If I wasn’t a race car driver it would definitely be something to think about.”
SFHR and Newgarden head to the Milwaukee Mile coming off of a 13th place finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Newgarden climbed 12 spots during the race after starting last.
The team tested at the Milwaukee Mile on May 29. The short, flat oval is a unique challenge for Newgarden.
“Milwaukee is a very difficult track physically because you’re constantly turning at a very short radius,” Newgarden said. “There’s a lot of load put on the driver because of how much downforce we run. There’s also no banking at Milwaukee so setting up the car will be difficult to master because it’s unlike any other oval we go to.”
The No. 67 car will serve a 10-spot starting grid penalty at the Milwaukee IndyFest race for an unapproved engine change at Texas Motor Speedway.
The 225-lap Milwaukee IndyFest race will air live Saturday, June 17, at 1 p.m. ET on ABC. It can also be heard on the IMS Radio Network (check local listing) and XM94/Sirius 121.