If you were putting all of your eggs in one basket to win the IndyCar Championship this year, that basket would be owned by Josef Newgarden.
Newgarden has started the season on a hot streak. He is the number one contender for a championship to state the obvious. Winning at Texas off the final turn with a pass of teammate Scott McLaughlin combined with holding off Alex Palou and Romain Grosjean to win at Long Beach on Sunday has the two time IndyCar champion in great position to win a third title. With plenty of races to go, Newgarden has now won on every track on the schedule except for Nashville, Laguna Seca and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s almost hard to believe that Newgarden is competing in his 11th season in IndyCar and is set to make his 11th Indy 500 start next month. In 10 seasons and three races in 2022, he’s racked up 22 wins, 43 podiums and 15 poles. Sunday marked the 31 year olds 167th race in IndyCar.
When we think about drivers that have dominated consistently in IndyCar in the last two years, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish Jr. and Will Power come to mind as drivers that have won championships. All of these names raced for either Team Penske or Chip Ganassi Racing at some point during that time line. Newgarden is on the verge of cementing his name among the elite drivers over the last 25 or more years, if he hasn’t already.
Through 167 races of Scott Dixons IndyCar career (not including Champ Car), Dixon had 27 wins and two championships under his belt, clinching his third career championship later on in that 2013 season. 68 podium finishes for Dixon surpassed Newgardens total through 167 races, however Newgarden didn’t start his career on a top tier team like Dixon did and has continued throughout his career.
Newgarden turned 31 at the end of 2021. With the big names in racing proving you can still win well into your 40s, Newgarden is on track to be an all time great. With seemingly 15 more years at Team Penske, Newgarden has the talent, time and drive to win consistently for the next decade plus, a run we have only seen out of Scott Dixon. As long as he doesn’t get the itch to go run NASCAR with Team Penske, I expect Newgarden to have 15 more seasons and 15 more attempts to win his first and maybe multiple Indy 500s. No other driver in the series has the track record as Newgarden at his age. He is a threat at any track and on the verge of winning a $1,000,000 bonus with a win on a road course. Barber, Indianapolis, Road America, Mid-Ohio, Portland and Laguna Seca are the remaining road courses on the schedule. Expect Newgarden to lock up the $500,000 for his crew and $500,000 for a charity of his choice this season.
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