Josef Newgarden secured a third victory of the season – the first driver to win more than twice – as he dominated at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last weekend.
The Team Penske driver led 73 of the 90 laps, even surviving a late caution period, leading home team-mate Will Power by more than five seconds, bringing the PPG-sponsored car to victory lane for a second consecutive season in Mid-Ohio, with Simon Pagenaud having won their in 2016 on route to the championship.
Newgarden has come close to winning at Mid-Ohio before but circumstances did not fall his way previously, so it was good to come back in 2017 to win so convincingly, with the American giving high praise to his engineering crew for giving him a great car throughout.
“I’ve got an amazing crew,” said Newgarden. “When they give me a car like this, I don’t want to say it’s easy, but it’s easier at least. I think we’ve been hitting on all cylinders, no pun intended.
“But these guys were awesome this weekend, had good stops. It was a really fast car. Reds, blacks, it didn’t matter, the car was fast, so just tried to do my job.
“I think everyone’s going to want to drive this PPG car. I’m pretty sure it was lucky for (Simon) Pagenaud last year, think it’s lucky for us, so we’re probably going to be fighting over this car paint.”
Newgarden’s second consecutive win moves him to the top of the championship standings for the first time in his career, and the twenty-six-year-old feels he has what it takes to take the title, with just four races of the season remaining.
“That’s great. We’ve just got to keep it up,” said Newgarden. “No mistakes. If we don’t have any mistakes, we’ve got plenty enough to win this championship, so we’re going to keep giving what we got for the last four races.”