IndyCar Star Newgarden Pays Visit To Watkins Glen

By Joe Jennings

IndyCar star Josef Newgarden meets with media at Watkins Glen International.  [Joe Jennings Photo]

IndyCar star Josef Newgarden meets with media at Watkins Glen International. [Joe Jennings Photo]

WATKINS GLEN – Having never seen Watkins Glen International, Verizon IndyCar star Josef Newgarden dropped in Sunday morning to gain familiarity with the popular facility in anticipation of the IndyCar race that takes place here in the Labor Day weekend.

While Newgarden says he’s not a fan of race simulators, he’s flying to Charlotte tomorrow to participate in a simulator exercise focusing on the Glen’s long course. After completing the simulation, the popular driver will return here Thursday for a full-day of IndyCar testing.

“I’ve talked to the IndyCar drivers that tested here a while ago, and they said the repaving produced a heavy amount of grip, reminding them of a video game,” he commented. “It didn’t seem real to them, so I think you will see our track speeds being very impressive.”

Injured in a grinding crash at the Texas Motor Speedway in early June, Newgarden says he’s fully recovered and has no lingering effects other than a tender right arm. To make sure he doesn’t further agitate the appendage, he uses his left hand when greeting others, explaining to them why he’s doing so.

Regarding his future driving aspirations for 2017 and beyond, he says he would like to stay with Ed Carpenter Racing but doesn’t want to address his options until the season is over.

Without naming any drivers, Newgarden expects to see more NASCAR drivers doing the double – the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 – in the near future basing their decisions on the success of Kurt Busch two years ago. “I know there’re five or six drivers that would like to do it, and there are two or three that can pull it off, being in a cool position to do it,” he said. “And I think you will see two of them do it next year; nothing matters other than winning, so they have to have assurance it can be done. Kurt (Busch) proved it can be done.”

Newgarden has never driven a stock car but he says he’s up for the challenge “as I am a big motorsports enthusiast.”

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