Allan Brewer, IndyCar Correspondent
Josef Newgarden, 2011 Indy Lights champion, has joined Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing for the 2012 IndyCar Series campaign.
“IndyCar has always been a dream of mine, and the Indy 500 is something that is so captivating for people,” Newgarden said. “I’m just very excited about what we’re going to be able to do together, and with a group like Sarah's I’m even more excited.”
I’ve always wanted to race against the best drivers in the world.
“It’s a pretty surreal experience right now just thinking about who we’re going to be challenging next year and who our competition is going to be,” Newgarden said. “I’ve always wanted to race against the best drivers in the world, and certainly (Will) Power, and (Scott) Dixon and (Dario) Franchitti and all the great names in the series will be a great challenge to try to beat and race against. But, it’s what I’ve been working for all my life, and I’m excited for the new challenge."
“Josef is the next generation of our (IndyCar) drivers,” said Sarah Fisher. “With Josef there’s going to be some rookie phases, and there’s going to be some rookie learning curves; but I think he’s got the best attitude possible, and I think we’ve got the best people to teach him.”
Newgarden, 20, hails from Nashville, Tennessee and made his mark in the Indy Lights series with perennial powerhouse team Sam Schmidt Motorsports. He earned in just his first year with the team five victories, 10 top-five finishes, three poles and led 395 of the 831 laps he completed in 14 races, including victories at St. Petersburg, Indianapolis, Iowa, Edmonton and New Hampshire.
Newgarden began his racing career at 13 years of age, driving karts at New Castle Motorsports Park. He won junior international karting titles in 2005 and 2006, and the American title in 2007. After two years in formula racing across the European continent Newgarden raced GP3 in 2010, and finished his season with five top-10 placements.
Fisher’s team earned its first IndyCar Series victory at Kentucky in the season past with popular veteran driver Ed Carpenter at the wheel.