Josef Newgarden and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) are ready for redemption in Sunday’s IZOD IndyCar Series race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Newgarden will start the race in the 16th position after turning a lap of 1 minute, 8.2579 seconds at 103.795 mph during qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
The sophomore driver is extra hungry for success on the Streets of Long Beach after starting second in 2012 and getting knocked out of competition on the first lap after contact with veteran driver Dario Franchitti.
“What happened last year was horrible for us,” Newgarden said. “I think everyone on the team wants to have a good result tomorrow and that’s what we are all very focused on.”
The No. 67 SFHR Dallara/Honda/Firestone car ran as high as first during the first round of qualifying before slowly slipping into eighth near the end of the 20-minute session.
“Our strategy was to get out early and run two sets [of red tires],” he said. “I think we were a little behind with pace and the red flag kind of slowed us down. We definitely didn’t maximize our strategy, so I think we have to find some pace in the car tomorrow.”
The SFHR team is prepared to climb through the 80-lap race along North America’s longest running street circuit.
“It’s incredibly important to finish races and pacing yourself does that,” Newgarden said. “It’s not easy to do. This is a two-stop race so we have to stay out of trouble at the start and then we have to keep a clean nose from all the guys around us.”
The 39th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, April 21, at 4 p.m. ET. To catch live action from the No. 67 car along the 1.968-mile street circuit, follow @SFHRindy on Twitter.