Newgarden Claims Second IndyCar Series Title

Josef Newgarden jumps into the arms of his crew after winning the NTT IndyCar Series championship. (IndyCar Photo)
Josef Newgarden jumps into the arms of his crew after winning the NTT IndyCar Series championship. (IndyCar Photo)

Even the vanquished Rossi, who finished third in the championship, believed Newgarden was the deserving champion.

“I think that’s very kind of him to say,” Newgarden said of Rossi. “I think we were all very deserving. I think Alex has had a tremendous year. He’s certainly a tremendous competitor, very talented, very skilled at what he does, and he has a great organization behind him, too.

“You’ve got to respect the competition, and I think we’ve had incredible competition between him and Simon and Scott and Will. Those five guys have really been the core people I think at the top of this championship, and I think they were all deserving in a lot of ways to win the championship.

“I think we’ve had the most consistent year. I think I really do believe we’ve put together the best championship run, and I’m glad that found its way to sealing the championship.

“In a lot of ways, under the traditional points system, this would have been kind of a done deal. But it becomes a lot more exciting, and it obviously mixes things up with double points. That’s where the wild card kind of comes in.

“But the only thing I would say is I have a tremendous amount of respect for Rossi and his skill and his organization and what they’ve done. They’re fine competitors. They’re very difficult to beat every week, and that’s what you want.

“Hats off to them for running just as strong of a season I would say.”

After the race, Team Penske IndyCar manager Kyle Moyer said Newgarden’s latest series championship makes him a “two-time champion and the only one on our team that has not won the Indianapolis 500.”

At Team Penske, it’s never enough.

“It means I’m still a loser on the team,” Newgarden said. “Well, there’s one thing that Roger likes a lot, and that’s Indy 500s, and I know that. I’ve known that since the beginning of my career, and I’ve been working on it. It’s just one of those races you never know if it’s going to turn your way or not. There’s guys that go their whole career and they never win the Indy 500, and then there’s guys that win it four times.

“I hope we’re in the second camp there, but you just never know. You can give your best there and you hope lady luck shines on you one day around that place, and I hope it does for us in the future, but I’m certainly going to be happy about what we put together over the last three years.

“Just being a part of this organization, it’s been a dream ride so far.”