The world of Josef Newgarden was suddenly turned upside down during the off-season.
His car owner at CFH Racing, Wink Hartman, sold his stake in the team last month when the decline of oil inhibited his ability to participate in the Verizon IndyCar Series. This left the team solely in the hands of Ed Carpenter and the organization has been rechristened Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2016 season.
With that said, Newgarden has been retained and he remains confident that he can contend for wins and the championship this season.
“There’s definitely been a difference in the team this year, but I think I’m probably more relaxed this year than any season before for one reason or the other,” Newgarden said. “I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s because we had a couple of wins last year and it’s amazing what that does to you to relax you and bring you into a better place mentally.
“So for me, I feel comfortable.”
Carpenter will continue to pilot the No. 20 on ovals this season, but without funding, his team will only focus on Newgarden on road and street courses. While that could be viewed as a detriment for Newgarden, he believes they have a good enough notebook to continue improving.
“I know the guys have been working hard on making this a two car, full-time effort, but I’m not too worried about running one and a half cars either,” Newgarden said. “I like having a strong teammate. Last year, Luca Filippi was a fantastic teammate, really great to work with, always providing something to learn and build upon and I think it was a source of strength.
“But I think going forward, I’m not concerned either way it swings.”
Despite all the changes for Newgarden, an otherwise stable off-season gives him confidence that the team will remain a threat to win from week-to-week.
“We always go through a big process in the off-season of how are we going to improve everything,” Newgarden said. “That starts with what I’m doing in the car, what the engineers are doing and how we’re interpreting the data.
“We’re looking and everything we can do to develop the car, and I think each of those processes have been refined and made better with the same core group. I think that’s been the big difference for us is having the same core group of people to work with (and that’s) made it easier to make gains.
“For us, we try to refine that process. We work a lot with simulation and the engineers and I think that’s what’s going to make the difference for us going into this season.”
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