Fifth Gear: Sonsio GP at Road America presented by AMR – INDYCAR

June 13, 2022 by No Comments

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES had a million-dollar weekend at Road America, on the track and in victory lane.

The number of interesting aspects to the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR were almost too numerous to count and are the foundation of today’s Fifth Gear.

The spotlight featured Josef Newgarden earning a $1 million prize from the PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge for being the first series driver to win on all three different types of circuits this season – oval tracks, street circuits and a permanent road course – but there was a seismic shift in the point standings, team battles throughout and another strong performance from the winner of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

Add it up: It made for great viewing and something for fans to chew on as they await the next race, The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the All-New 2023 Civic Type R on Sunday, July 3 (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network).

Let’s get right to it.

Newgarden Again Dominates Road America

Newgarden, the driver of the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, deserves to have four career NTT INDYCAR SERIES wins in the past seven races at this picturesque 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course in Wisconsin, but he has only two as victories in 2017 and 2021 slipped out of his grasp. Last year’s loss was particularly painful when a mechanical failure with two laps to go saw the field motor past him after he led 73 of the first 78 laps.

Two-time series champion Newgarden won this race by 3.37 seconds over Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) as Ericsson passed Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda) on the final restart. Rossi was bidding for his first race win since 2019, coincidentally at Road America.

Newgarden pushed his season win total to three races and is third in the standings, only 32 points out of the lead as the season approaches its official midpoint. Newgarden won for the 23rd time in his NTT INDYCAR SERIES career, tying him with Tommy Milton for 19th place on the sport’s all-time list. The next win pulls him alongside Ralph DePalma and Bobby Rahal. Two more ties him with Gordon Johncock.

“It’s been a little bit too up and down for us (this season) – kind of feast or famine,” Newgarden said. “I think we genuinely had the potential for four or five wins up to this point.

“We’ve got to up our consistency. It’s a little abnormal for us … (but) I’m not going to lose sleep on why that was happening. Sometimes you get in these little micro trends where we don’t have the consistency we need.”

Standings Shakeup at the Top

With series leader Will Power having two moments of trouble and finishing 19th, Ericsson regained the points lead for the second time this season. The Swede’s margin over Power is 27 points.

Eight of the top 10 positions in the standings changed hands this weekend, but what should concern the title hopefuls is Newgarden moved up two positions. He stands to gain more in the weeks ahead.

Newgarden is the defending champion of the race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he has won twice overall. He also has two career wins at Toronto’s Exhibition Place – site of the Honda Indy Toronto on July 17 – and could be in …….

Source: https://www.indycar.com/news/2022/06/06-13-fifthgear-ra

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