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Josef Newgarden Takes Home $1 Million At Road America

Josef Newgarden’s Team Penske pit crew got him out ahead of Alexander Rossi, which proved to be the race-winning move at Road America. (Photo: Maddie Skidan | The Podium Finish)

In “Penske Perfect” style, Josef Newgarden nailed two restarts in the last eight laps, holding off Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi to win the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

This is Newgarden’s 23rd career NTT IndyCar Series victory and took home $1 million for winning the PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge by becoming the first driver this season to win at an oval (Texas), street course (Long Beach) and road course (Road America).

“You’ve got to be on your toes at all times,” Newgarden said.

“You can go in with a plan, but you probably have to change your plan 90 percent of the time once the race starts to unfold. To be able to hit all these disciplines with this team, for me it’s the best series in the world.”

The money will be split between Newgarden, Team Penske and two charities of Newgarden’s choice.

“To finally get it done and most importantly to give that money to charity, half of that money is going to charity with SeriousFun Network and Wags and Walks Nashville,” Newgarden said.

“I hope they’re happy about it. That’s a lot of money coming their way.”

Alexander Rossi has to be wondering if the result of the Sonsio Grand Prix would’ve been different if Josef Newgarden didn’t beat him out of the pits. (Photo: Mike Moore | The Podium Finish)

At the beginning of the first round of green flag pit stops, Rossi was leading at the time and Newgarden followed him into the pits. Team Penske performed a pit stop that was fast enough to put Newgarden’s No. 2 Chevrolet ahead of Rossi’s No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda.

For the remainder of the day, Newgarden was untouchable. Rossi didn’t have the pace to match Team Penske upfront and fell back to third when Ericsson moved up to second-place in the last handful of laps.

“I tried to be really aggressive on that last restart, and it cost us,” Rossi said. “But we were trying to win the race. But ultimately a good day. Josef certainly had a little better base than us, and it took us until the last stint to dial in the balance of the car.

“We were coming back on him pretty quickly. I don’t think we could have beat him, but all in all, it was a good day.”

In the second caution within the final 10 laps, Helio Castroneves spun and stalled as the field started racing again. Newgarden got an excellent restart over Rossi but had to do it all over again with three laps to go.

With only eight laps remaining, it seemed like Newgarden was going to cruise until the checkered flag. But the caution flag flew when Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward lost power going through the Kink and came to a stop.

Will Power left Road America upset with Devlin DeFrancesco after the rookie ruined his day. (Photo: Maddie Skidan | The Podium Finish)

On Lap 8, Andretti Autosport rookie Devlin DeFrancesco tried to make a move on the inside of Will Power in Turn 5 and totally wiped out the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet. Power’s front wing suffered heavy damage and pitted for a brand new one to keep fighting in Elkhart Lake. This was the third caution in the first 10 laps.

Race control gave DeFrancesco a stop-and-go penalty for avoidable contact with Power. However, the drama didn’t end there. On the cool-down lap after the race, Power bumped into the side of DeFrancesco’s car to show his displeasure.

Following Jimmie Johnson’s spin on the opening lap, Chip Ganassi Racing’s early race troubles continued when Marcus Ericsson made contact with teammate Alex Palou while fighting for a spot inside the top-five.

The No. 10 Honda ended up retiring from the race and Palou wasn’t happy at all with his teammate for the contact that caused him to finish last in 27th-place.

“I just think he was trying to win the race on the third lap, and the car broke and that’s it, game over,” said Palou.

“I was surprised that my teammate hit me, not that the car broke. It’s a single-seater, right? So if you have a hard hit it just breaks. We can play this game as well so we’ll see.”

Marcus Ericsson keeps showing everyone that he’s a legitimate championship contender by taking home a strong second-place finish in Wisconsin. (Photo: Maddie Skidan | The Podium Finish)

Ericsson was sorry for the contact but he stood by the move he made on Palou.

“You never want to have contact with a teammate,” Ericsson said.

“From my point of view, the door was open, and I was already side-by-side. If you see a gap, you go for it. It’s important at the beginning of the race to get track position. It was a really good race, and we had a really strong weekend. Super happy with P2.”

Ericsson leaves Road America as the new championship leader by 27 points over Power, who finished in 19th-place after early contact derailed his day.

After five consecutive weekends (including the Indianapolis 500 qualifying weekend) of IndyCar action, the entire paddock gets a well-deserved break until the next round at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday, July 3 (12 p.m. ET on NBC).

Sonsio Grand Prix Top-10 Results: Newgarden, Ericsson, Rossi, Grosjean, Herta, Rosenqvist, McLaughlin, Rahal, Dixon, Lundgaard.

Indy Lights Road America Recap

Christian Rasmussen took his first Indy Lights win on the fast and daring 4.048-mile road course in Elkhart Lake. (Photo: Logan Skidan | The Podium Finish)

In a 20-lap race that was delayed, Andretti Autosport driver Christian Rasmussen held off teammate Sting Ray Robb to score his first career Indy Lights win at Road America.

During a restart on Lap 11, Rasmussen made a bold move to get around Robb heading down into Turn 1 which ended up being the winning move of the race.

“It feels amazing,” Rasmussen said.

“I think Detroit was the worst weekend of my life, so to bounce back with a win like this is definitely an amazing way to show everyone that we’re here and we’re able to compete for wins.”

While Rasmussen enjoyed his first trip to the winner’s circle in Indy Lights competition, a major incident on Lap 9 caught everyone’s attention that may overshadow his special day in Elkhart Lake.

Christian Bogle went for a wild ride at Road America, after hitting a curb that launched his Indy Lights car into the air. (Photo: Logan Skidan | The Podium Finish)

Going downhill into Turn 5, Christian Bogle’s No. 7 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry caught air running on a curb, lifted and the front end of the car went airborne into the catch fence.

Luckily, Bogle was able to walk away unscathed.

The Indy Lights race at Road America started before the Sonsio Grand Prix, but due to repairs to the damaged catch fence, the race finish was delayed until the conclusion of the IndyCar race.

Christian Bogle went flying into the catch fence in a frightening crash on Sunday at Road America. (Photo: Logan Skidan | The Podium Finish)

Indy Lights Road America Top-10 Results: Rasmussen, Robb, McElrea, Lundqvist, Abel, Brabham, Roe, Frost, Simpson, Francis Jr.

Kobe Lambeth is a 2021 graduate of UNC Charlotte, who earned his undergraduate degree in Communication Studies (mass media concentration), with a double minor in Journalism and American Studies. In February 2007, he initially developed a strong passion for motorsports. His childhood dream is to work in the motorsports industry for a long time. In June 2017, his journey began as a freelance journalist and social media specialist for RockinghamNow, covering high school sports and leading a Twitter project. He was a part of expanded coverage of high school football within his local community. Through the use of Twitter, his team had a goal of significantly increasing the number of followers on multiple accounts. At The Podium Finish, he intends to provide professional motorsports coverage, focusing on series such as the NASCAR Cup Series, NTT IndyCar Series and more. He's also a Multimedia Producer at GRID Network.

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