Benched: IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden shows off his i-racing setup at home and how he’s staying in touch with teammates
DETROIT – These days, we’re all getting our IndyCar fix virtually. Saturday, Simon Pagenaud won the Virtual Chevy 275 at Michigan International Speedway. His Team Penske teammate, Josef Newgarden, hasn’t won yet, but he’s new to this.
“It’s not been terrible, two top ten finishes,” Newgarden said. “I’m getting better. I just have to check my ego at the door.”
Newgarden said never thought he’d be racing on national TV from his house in Nashville. He showed us his setup.
“See, it’s pretty nice, I have the wheel and pedal system and a pretty impressive screen, 49 inches,” Newgarden said. “I have these cameras there so people can see. People have loved it. People have never been able to see us during a race, all the good and all the bad, you’re getting that now in real life. It’s unique perspective.”
Even with i-racing taking up most of his time, the 2017 and 2019 IndyCar Series Champion said he’s itching to get back to the real thing. Newgarden said it’s a shame the Detroit Grand Prix is canceled this year.
“To see the city of Detroit in 2012 to where it is now, it’s amazing,” he said. “Detroit is probably one of the most supportive places I’ve been.”
The IndyCar Series is supposed to get back to racing in June. Until then, Newgarden and his wife, Ashley, are laying low at home. He told me he talks to his teammates daily.
“We’re all growing mustaches,” Newgarden said. “I can’t really grow a beard, I tried and shaved it off. So this is my attempt at a mustache. Three weeks, this is all I can muster. It’s not as good as my teammates.”
So who’s the best? “Without a doubt Will Power,” Newgarden said.
You may not want Newgarden’s mustache advice, but you may want his TV suggestions while we all stay home and stay safe.
“I blew through Tiger King in one day,” he said of the Netflix documentary. “I think Ozark is a good one, or you could always binge the office.”
As far as the Detroit Grand Prix, Chairman Bud Denker said they tried to reschedule the races for October, but Belle Isle had so many weddings and events already scheduled and they didn’t want to disrupt it all. They will be back in 2021.
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