MONTERERY, CA – Joseph Newgarden entered the media center for the final interview of the 2022 IndyCar season as if he was in a trance.
To make matters worse, he arrived early, while rival team owner Bobby Rahal and driver Christian Lundgaard were wrapping up a press conference about the 2022 IndyCar Rock title in Lundgaard.
Newgarden looked worn out. he is He gave everything he had behind the wheel From Team Penske’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet in a bid to win Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix in Monterrey and, potentially, the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series.
A foul and a turn of the key during Saturday’s qualifying put him in a deep hole. started 25The tenth But soon they passed the cars as if they were sitting.
“I was just old school,” Newgarden said. “I used to go back to my younger days. What happens happens. I just do my best.”
On lap 46, he passed teammate and championship captain Will Power for second. If Newgarden can win the race, and Power finishes off the podium, Newgarden could be a shot at the championship.
But race winner Alex Ballou was untouchable, opening an insurmountable gap to second place Newgarden.
Honda No. 10 in Palo crossed the finish line 30.382 seconds ahead of Chevy Newgarden. Power finished third and took his second NTT IndyCar Series championship by 16 points.
Newgarden considers himself a perfectionist. He drove a near-perfect race, but in his mind, he shouldn’t have made a mistake with the qualifications that forced him to start 25The tenth In the field of 26 cars at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
We did everything we could on Sunday, and ride with me in every overtake @YouTube! The link is below. The video drops at 6PM ET!https://t.co/XSQqo5WxE4Tweet embed // Tweet embed // Tweet embed // Tweet embed // #INDYCAR pic.twitter.com/VkllaVRRRW
– Joseph Newgarden (@josefnewgarden) September 13, 2022
When Newgarden took his seat alongside Palou at the postrace interview, his eyes looked forward as if he was a million miles away as Palou discussed his only win of the 2022 season.
One can only guess what Newgarden was thinking. Once, he lowered his head and rubbed his eyes.
That’s the pain that comes with being second in the IndyCar Series Championship for the third year in a row. It’s also the pain that comes with winning four more races than the Series Champion in 2022 – five wins for one Power.
But Bauer had nine podiums, and Newgarden had six.
“We just needed a more consistent season,” Newgarden lamented. “There’s no doubt. I think the peak performance was there all year. We just didn’t have consistency. That in the end is what put us at a disadvantage when we came here.”
“If we can clean that up, I have no doubt we can challenge for the championship again next year.”
Newgarden joined Team Penske in 2017 and was an instant success winning the championship in his first year with the team. Two years later, Newgarden secured another championship in 2019.
Since that championship, Newgarden has been the strongest in IndyCar, but he can snatch the championship away from the leader. In 2020, Scott Dixon made big headway early in a pandemic-affected season as the schedule included two sees in most places and three races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track in order to get a full season.
Newgarden ran strong at the end of that year and won the season finale in St. Petersburg, Florida, but Dixon won the championship by 16 points.
Entering the 2021 season finale in Long Beach, Newgarden was third in points behind Palo and Pato Award. After openly questioning why he was participating in a media event for a championship contender, Newgarden raced to second as O’Ward crashed on lap 43. Palou finished fourth and won the championship by 38 points over Newgarden.
On Sunday at Laguna Seca, he finished 16 points behind Power on another solid closing performance.
Well, we definitely tried today,” Newgarden said. “We did our best, as we always do. Alex was hard to catch today. I think he’s been amazing, especially the last two laps. He’s done a really great job. It was tough to get through.
“We got to second place, we just need another place, but Alex seemed a bit out of reach today. Very massive work by them.
“I’m glad we were able to get back to where we did. It was a tough day, and we knew we had to fight. In the end, we made it through this tournament. We have to be in a different position next year and fight even harder so we hope to be in a much better position in the next year.” This weekend, I think we can do that.
“It’s been a really tough year. It’s been good in a lot of ways, but it’s also been really negative in a lot of other ways. I’m excited about the reset, excited to be back next year, and I know we have the team to do the job.”
With pain comes pride. There was no reason Newgarden couldn’t help but be proud of his efforts, but being eighth in Portland on September 4th followed by a spin and failing to advance from the first round of qualifying at Laguna Seca was very costly in his quest for a championship.
“I think it’s a different day if you start first for sure,” Newgarden said. “It gives us a very different picture. We are going to run a different race and we will run it without a deficit. We started this race last, so we started with a big deficit.
“It’s hard to guess. If we didn’t have the impotence, I don’t know if we had enough to beat this guy (Baloo) today. He was excellent, no doubt about it, so I don’t want to sideline what he did.”
“But it’s a different day when you first start. We didn’t have that deficit to make up for it.
“I don’t know how that would have happened. I don’t know if it would make some kind of change to (Power’s) programme. Really, we won the title, we won the day, all I need is for Power to finish fourth, and it looks possible.”
“At the end of the day, spin was a nail in the coffin this weekend. It was like that. We didn’t need it to happen. It was silly for it to happen either. It wasn’t a big deal. There’s one barrier you don’t want to touch, and I touched it about By mistake, creating a big problem.
“Yeah, it’s hard to say how it would have happened if we put the thing up front, but I would have preferred to do it and see what happened rather than come back from behind today.”
Newgarden was proud of his team’s efforts. Congratulations to the Power Championship crew, because as they say on Team Penske, “A win for one car is a win for all of us.”
“Obviously we are all competitive, and we want to be the winners personally, but when we win as a team it’s a big deal for everyone,” Newgarden said. “I am filled with a lot of pride.
“But I’m also full of a little bit of relief. I’m glad to come into this season to reset, recharge, and then figure out a way to hit everyone more hard next year, and I know we can do that.”
“The other overwhelming positive thing on my mind is that I know we can do better this year. I just know we can. When we put it together, I’m just telling you, just watch out, because when we put it together, it’s going to be big.”
In a sense, Newgarden should feel proud of his efforts. He put in everything he had, squeezed every ounce of effort he could behind the wheel and pushed the race car as hard as he could, only to see the winning driver disappear from afar and his championship hope vanished.
“That was all I had today,” Newgarden said. “We were short at the end against Alex. We’ll have to reassess and see how to make ourselves a little better in the face of the deficit that Alex has had in the last two laps. I have some ideas already, and I think if we’re going to run that race again, I already know what we’re going to try.” And if we start further, that changes the game too. I’m hopeful for another shot.
“As much as we put it together today, that was all we had.”
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