MONTEREY, CA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden won his second NTT IndyCar Series title in three years by finishing eighth in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“I was just happy we were able to get through today,” said Newgarden, a Franklin Tennessee native. “It was kind of a chaotic event. There were times I didn’t think it was going to go our way. The most important thing was for a Team Penske car to win the Championship, and that’s the was we devised our strategy, and you hope it works out in your favor.”
The Championship was team owner Roger Penske’s 16th title and fourth in the last six years.
“Josef’s a great Champion,” said Penske. “You can see it in his eyes. You could see it the first time he won with us and with Will (Power) and Simon (Pagenaud), who just had an outstanding season, when you think about three wins and certainly the Indy 500 is the crown jewel that all of us want to have every year.”
Pagenaud finished fourth in the race and second in the Championship.
“I won Indianapolis this year,” said Pagenaud. “There’s nothing to be disappointed about. We finished second. That’s the second time we’ve finished second in the Championship. We won the Championship in ’16. But I’m just equally happy for Josef and the whole team, to wrap up the Indy 500 and the Championship in one year is just absolutely incredible.”
Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi finished sixth in the race and ultimately finished third in the Championship.
“It is the way it goes,” said Rossi. “It is the way the chips fell. Nonetheless, I think the No. 27 NAPA Andretti Honda has some highlights this year. Ultimately, we just weren’t good enough. We need to regroup and work hard this offseason.”
PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon finished third in the race and ended up fourth in the Championship.
“The car was by far better on the red Firestone (Alternate) tires than the black primaries,” said Dixon. “There was a ton of tire degradation and it kind of threw us for a loop. Great result for PNC Bank, great for Honda winning the manufacturer title.”
Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta won the race in dominant fashion, leading 83 of the 90-laps to pick up his second victory of the season.
“It was a perfect race,” said Herta. “Whenever you win an IndyCar race, it has to be a perfect race. You can’t really make mistakes and get away with it, just because there’s always two or three other guys on that day that can win. We had the pay on them and we were definitely the best today, so we deserved to win.”
The win for Honda was its eighth of the year while clinching its second consecutive Engine Manufacturer’s Championship.