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IndyCar Driver Review: Josef Newgarden

Nov 27, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT

Josef Newgarden gestures in the pit lane during practice for the Indianapolis 500 in Indianapolis Reuters

With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

P14 and one of the most improved drivers of 2013, is Josef Newgarden…

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Josef Newgarden

  • Team: Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
  • 2012: 23rd Place, Best Finish 11th, Best Start 2nd
  • 2013: 14th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 5th, 1 Podium, 4 Top-5, 7 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 17.5 Avg. Start, 13.7 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: I’m a massive believer in Josef Newgarden and his potential, and it was realized in part during an improved sophomore season. The results came – four top-fives including a runner-up in Baltimore – and so too did a nine-spot jump in the standings from 23rd in 2012 to 14th this year. Still, I know how hungry this kid is because even with his improvements, he wants more out of himself and to give Sarah Fisher her second win as a team owner. And the one thing that needs to improve is qualifying. Newgarden’s starting position average (17.5) beat only three other full-time drivers, Ed Carpenter, Graham Rahal and Sebastian Saavedra. If he makes a similar performance jump Charlie Kimball did from his second to third year, I’ll say it now, look out. He’ll be a free agent at the end of 2014 and next year is his shot to move up the grid.

Estrada says: Another driver that made a good leap in performance this year was Newgarden, who’s continuing to look more and more like a future star. His inaugural podium finish at Baltimore was the biggest highlight from his 2013 season, but we can’t leave out his stellar run at Sao Paulo, where he overcame an engine change penalty that put him 25th on the starting grid and managed to fight for the win before his tires finally had enough and he subsequently settled for fifth. Qualifying was a problem but if he can figure that out, then he just might deliver an upset win for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing at some point in 2014.

Video from NASCAR America

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