Newgarden roars to second IndyCar win of the season
Los Angeles (AFP) –
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Josef Newgarden breathed new life into his IndyCar championship points bid on Saturday night, winning the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 for his first victory on an oval race track this season.
The 30-year-old American edged runner up Pato O'Ward by 0.539 of a second, winning a battle of attrition as nine drivers failed to finish the race at the Gateway oval in Madison, Illinois.
He also moved into third place in the season points race and is 22 points back of leader O'Ward. Mexico's O'Ward leapfrogged into a 10 point lead over second-place Alex Palou, who failed to reach the podium Saturday, finishing 20th. There are three races left in the season.
Newgarden, of Team Penske Chevrolet, also claimed his third career win at the track just outside of St. Louis, winning race two of a double header last year and recording another win on the track in 2017.
"We wanted to get back into this fight," Newgarden said of the points race. "I couldn't ask for much more. I am thrilled. We got to keep going."
Newgarden had hoped to start Saturday's race in pole position but ended up third in qualifying.
"I wanted to put it on the pole but I messed it up a little so a bit of redemption here," said Newgarden. "We always got to fight with what we got. I just always have faith we can win a race."
Newgarden earned his second victory of the season after also winning the Honda Indy 200 in July.
Australia's Will Power finished third and Scott McLaughlin placed fourth. Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais finished fifth, tying a season best.
Another Frenchman Romain Grosjean finished 14th in his oval-racing debut. Grosjean spent nine seasons in Formula One before making the switch to IndyCar in 2021.
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