After running towards the front of the field all afternoon long at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, including leading fourteen laps, Josef Newgarden admitted it was difficult not to be in a position to challenge for the victory over the closing laps, as the way the fuel strategy played out denied him that opportunity.
The Ed Carpenter Racing driver was forced to settle for third, battling hard with runner-up Carlos Munoz in the final handful of laps, but both drivers were forced to settle for the lower spots on the podium as Alexander Rossi stretched his fuel to the maximum to claim overall honours.
Newgarden felt he had the car to challenge for the win had things gone his way at the end, and admitted his pride of what his team had achieved over the Month of May, even if the result was not as he would have liked it to have been.
“It’s really heartbreaking, to be honest,” revealed Newgarden. “The reason is, to be honest, because we had a car to win. I’m not saying we should have won the race, I think we had a car that could have won.
“What I wanted was an opportunity to race those guys at the end. We didn’t get that, it’s no fault of my guys, that’s just how the race fell. Sometimes it doesn’t fall your way, today was a day that didn’t go our way. The cards didn’t fall the way we needed them to.
“Congratulations to (Alexander) Rossi, it’s a huge achievement to win around here. I just wish we had the opportunity to race those guys straight up at the end. I really think we could have had something for them. I’m proud to be here. Having the opportunity to be here with as good of a car as I did, not many people have experienced that.
“Thank you to my team, Ed Carpenter Racing, all our partners, Preferred Freezer Services, Direct Supply, Fuzzy’s Vodka. We’ve just have amazing support and partners within our team. There’s really the people that enable us to do this and build as fast of racecars as we did.
“I think JR [Hildebrand] had just as good of a car as we did and Ed [Carpenter] would have to if he didn’t have his electrical issue. Tough day. Man, I was really feeling it at the end! I was like ‘If we get a race going, we’re going to be really good and we’re going to beat these guys.’ The way the fuel played out, we just didn’t have an opportunity to get to do that.”