Throughout this week, the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers had stayed out of trouble as they laid down laps ahead of next weekend’s Indianapolis 500 – till Thursday.
After getting loose, Josef Newgarden went around and made significant contact with the outside wall. Newgarden emerged from the car okay, cleared to return to competition.
“I’m fine,” he said. “Tough break for us in the (No.) 2 car with Team Penske. It’s obviously not something you want to do, especially on a day like today – a pretty nice day out, no big issues. I’m disappointed that we ran into a problem. I just got called into the pits, so I was coming in, and I didn’t want to check up too much for the guys behind me and cause a problem. It just seemed to get away from me. Until I get to look at everything, I’m not 100 percent sure what caused it.”
Before hitting the wall, he had posted the fifth quickest lap of the day.
“We were having a really good day,” he added. “We had a good run up until that, so again I’m not sure what went on. It was probably my mistake, but until I get to look at everything, it’s hard to tell. I feel bad for our guys that we’ve got extra work.”
In his sixth season of series competition, he joined Team Penske this year, posting a top-11 in each of the five races, including a pair of podiums with a victory at Barber Motorsports Park.
Other than Newgarden, the week has been clean, except for Jack Harvey making slight contact with the wall on Monday in his entry for Andretti Autosport-Michael Shank Racing. He currently sits 31st on the combined speed chart following day four.
“I think we’ve got some work done on our race car,” he said. “It’s new to me and to the team. We just have a few things to work through, but I think we made some progress and hopefully, we can just keep making progress all month, and honestly just be ready by the time the race comes. Running with the pack went really well, and it was better than the first pack that we ran with. Right now, we are making some progress, and we will take that and keep chipping away.”
With four days in the books, Jay Howard tops the chart with a lap of 39.6924 seconds in a one-off effort for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Andretti Autosport takes up the next three spots with Marco Andretti leading Ryan Hunter-Reay and Fernando Alonso, with Newgarden fifth. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon is sixth, followed by Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball, Ed Carpenter and Oriol Servia.
Whether the chart will reflect how the field is set this coming weekend is unclear as it may follow the same order, or vary in a big way due to some of the laps being single-car runs and others while in toe behind someone else.
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