In photos: Newgarden's path to the title
19 September 2017 – IndyCar has a new champion in the form of Josef Newgarden after the American assimilated to Penske with ease, capturing four wins en route to the 2017 title. GPUpdate.net reflects on his path to the crown.
St. Petersburg (8th)
The field was splintered by a caution phase and Sébastien Bourdais went last-to-first, while on his Penske debut Newgarden came home a quiet, but respectable, eighth.
Long Beach (3rd)
During a tense affair at the iconic street circuit, James Hinchcliffe prevailed, fending off Bourdais, while Newgarden was in the thick of the action to log a podium finish.
Penske team-mate Will Power controlled proceedings but a loss of tyre pressure during the closing stages forced the No. 12 into the pits, handing the lead to Newgarden. Newgarden, in turn, came out on top in a testy scrap with Scott Dixon, fending off the Ganassi driver for his first win with Penske.
Phoenix Raceway (9th)
Newgarden ran strongly but made contact with Andretti rival Ryan Hunter-Reay, necessitating an additional pit-stop for repairs, and demoting him to ninth, as defending champion Simon Pagenaud triumphed.
Indianapolis (road) (11th)
Newgarden once more fought at the sharp end of the pack but a pit lane speed violation earned the No. 2 a penalty and he had to take a drive-through, relegating him to 11th position.
Indianapolis 500 (19th)
Penske was off the pace throughout the Month of May, and Newgarden found himself caught up in a crash during the closing stages. He continued, but finished 14 laps down in a lowly 19th spot.
Detroit (4th, 2nd)
In the 'Dual in Detroit', Newgarden emerged with a healthy haul of points, behind the dominant Graham Rahal. Newgarden followed up fourth in Race 1 with a sublime drive to second in Race 2, as he put in blistering pace to surge forward from 13th, having adopted a three-stop strategy.
Newgarden started from towards the rear but carved his way into contention during a wild race at the high-speed oval, repeatedly emerging among the front group. However, while contesting second, Newgarden adopted the outside line but his car twitched right and he creamed into the wall.
Road America (2nd)
In a strategic encounter at the esteemed venue, Newgarden battled for victory with Dixon and Hélio Castroneves, as tyre compounds and fuel loads swung the pendulum between each of the trio at various stages. It was ultimately Dixon who claimed victory, with runner-up Newgarden just half a second back.
Newgarden came home sixth as team-mate Castroneves ended a three-year win drought; the result left Penske's newcomer only fifth in the standings, but still confident of his title prospects.
In a typically unpredictable street race, Newgarden displayed pace and was the beneficiary of some ideal caution timings as he moved into the lead, capturing his second win of the season in the process.
Off the back of victory in Toronto, Newgarden moved into the points lead with an emphatic win at Mid-Ohio, underlining his title credentials. Newgarden hounded team-mate Power and put in a decisive pass, after which he preserved his advantage, mastering a late caution phase in the process.
In a thrilling encounter at the tri-oval, Power went off-sequence to emerge in the lead, and was gradually reeled in by Newgarden. The No. 2 repeatedly tried to find a way through but Power resiliently defended, often running low, denying Newgarden a way through.
IndyCar returned to Gateway and Newgarden emphasised his no-nonsense racecraft with a season-defining pass on Pagenaud into Turn 1, the Penskes making minor contact as Newgarden moved ahead. Pagenaud was unamused, but Newgarden cared little as he celebrated victory, extending his points advantage to 33.
Watkins Glen (18th)
Newgarden challenged Alexander Rossi at the start and remained in contention throughout, but an error at pit exit proved critical. Newgarden slid wide and clouted the barriers, before being hit by the pursuing Bourdais. Newgarden sustained damage and came only 18th, his title lead slashed to three points.
Newgarden captured his first pole of the year and maintained his position, though came under threat from Pagenaud, who went off strategy and stopped four times. Pagenaud emerged from his final service narrowly in front, and Newgarden sagely settled for second, wrapping up the title with a 13-point gap over the man he deposed as champion.