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Newgarden wins at Road America, claims $1 million bonus

Newgarden wins at Road America, claims $1 million bonus

It’s safe to say Josef Newgarden is feeling a million bucks after winning the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR on Sunday.

Newgarden drove to his third win of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet and earned the $1 million PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge bonus. The Challenge will reward the first driver to win in 2022 on all three track types – road course, street course and oval track.

The $1 million will be shared, of which $500,000 will go to Team Penske and Nashville-born Newgarden and $500,000 to Newgarden’s chosen charities. Newgarden, who won the Texas Motor Speedway oval and Long Beach street circuit earlier this season, selected two charities to split the $500,000 share: SeriousFun Children’s Network and Wags and Walks Nashville.

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“To finally get it done and most importantly to give that money to charity, half of that money will go to the SeriousFun Network and Wags and Walks Nashville charity,” Newgarden said. “I hope they are happy with it. That’s a lot of money coming their way.

“You have to be on your guard at all times (in this series). You can go in with a plan, but you’ll 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 is the best series in the world for me.”

2022 Indianapolis 500, presented by Gainbridge winner Marcus Ericsson, finished second in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, 3.3710 seconds behind Newgarden. It was Ericsson’s fourth consecutive top-seven finish, and he regained the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship leader by 27 points over previous leader Will Power, who finished 19th in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

NTT P1 Award winner Alexander Rossi finished third in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda. A second consecutive podium finish this month continued a strong rise for Rossi, who has three consecutive top-five finishes this season.

Romain Grosjean finished fourth in the No. 28 DHL Honda, with teammate Colton Herta completing the top five in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda after starting 11th. Andretti Autosport placed three cars in the top five: Rossi, Grosjean and Herta.

Newgarden, who started second, was victorious despite two warnings in the final 10 laps of the race, evaporating his 2.8-second lead over Rossi.

The first restart, on lap 50, took less than half a lap as four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves spun in his No. 06 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda and left the last corner on the uphill climb to the green flag. That brought the field together again on the 14-turn, 4.048-mile road track for a restart on lap 52, with Newgarden ahead of Rossi, Ericsson, Herta and Grosjean.

Two-time series champion Newgarden shot away from the field on the second restart, just as he did on the first. Those quick restarts left too big a gap for any challenge, allowing Newgarden to avoid a repeat of his grief from last year’s race at Road America when he lost the lead to Alex Palou due to a mechanical problem on a restart with two more. to go round.

Newgarden led a race-high 26 out of 55 laps, taking first place for good at rivals’ pit stops on lap 43.

“I was just trying to stay focused on what I had to do,” Newgarden said. “Just an incredible job from everyone at Team Penske.”

As Newgarden sat in a winning groove for the last three laps, a frenzied battle unfolded behind him for the next four positions.

Ericsson ducked under Rossi at Turn 1 on lap 53 after the restart to take second. Then Grosjean passed Herta for fourth as he continued under the flag standard with the white flag unfolded to signify the final lap.

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

“We got back to him pretty quickly. I don’t think we could have beaten him, but all in all it was a good day.”

Second for Ericsson came despite contact with teammate and reigning series champion Palou while racing for third at Turn 5 on lap 4. Palou finished 27th in the #10 The American Legion Honda.

“First of all, I’m really sorry,” Ericsson said. “You never want contact with a teammate. From my vantage point, the door was open, and I was already side by side. If you see a hole, go for it. It is important to get a track position at the start of the race.

“It was a really good race and we had a really strong weekend. Super happy with P2.”

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the Honda Indy 200 in Mid-Ohio, presented by the all-new 2023 Civic Type R on Sunday, July 3 (Noon ET, NBC, Peacock Premium, INDYCAR Radio Network).

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