Josef Newgarden was left to rue a mistake whilst exiting the pits at Watkins Glen International that saw his championship advantage slashed to just three points on Sunday, with the Team Penske driver ultimately finishing down in twenty-first position.
Newgarden was following team-mate Will Power out of the pits after his final planned stop but locked up his wheels and hit the outside barrier, before being hit from behind by Sebastien Bourdais, who was unable to do anything to avoid him.
The American admitted it was purely his mistake, and subsequent visits to the pits for running repairs left him two laps adrift of the field, with the result meaning that six other drivers remain in contention for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship with just the double-points race at Sonoma Raceway to come later this month.
“It was kind of an eventful day for the DeVilbiss Chevrolet team,” said Newgarden. “I felt like we were in a good position until that final pit stop.
“[There was] no excuse for it. It was my fault. I saw Will (Power) leave right in front of us and I just locked it up and slid over into the wall. Then Sebastien (Bourdais) got into the back of me.
“It’s unfortunate, but there’s nothing I can do about it. We’ll go to Sonoma in a couple of weeks and race for it.”