Josef Newgarden finished 17th when the checkered flag flew in the first Verizon IndyCar Series road race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
All 82 laps of the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis seemed to have a storyline, including an aborted standing start, crashes and crucial fuel-saving strategy.
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) driver Josef Newgarden persevered through those subplots and misfortune to finish 17th when the checkered flag flew in the first Verizon IndyCar Series road race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
After a crash on the front straight during the standing start of the race, Newgarden made contact on the first restart on Lap 8.
"The first restart of the race was unbelievable," Newgarden said. "Everyone stopped and then went again, stopped and then went again. I got caught out by the accordion effect and ended up damaging the right side of the front wing, which was a shame."
Newgarden, who started the race 15th, fell back to 21st after the pit crew worked to make a fast front wing change on the No. 67 Klipsch Dallara/Honda/Firestone car.
"We finally got everything going again, and then it just seemed like it was one thing after another to hit us after that," Newgarden said. "We didn't have any radio communication, so it was difficult to try and talk to the team. It was very intermittent what we could hear between each other, so we were trying to guess everything that we were doing today."
Newgarden was instructed to save fuel toward the end of the race, which featured a variety of different fuel strategies from teams on the 14-turn, 2.349-mile road course. He ended up two laps down to winner Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports.
"It was a tough day for everyone," Newgarden said. "It seemed like anything that could go wrong went wrong for us, but we will try and live to fight another day, that's what you have to do in racing sometimes. It was great having Klipsch with us this weekend. They've been an awesome activation for our sport, and I feel bad we couldn't give them a better show."
Newgarden and Indianapolis 500 teammate Alex Tagliani will turn to the historic, 2.5-mile oval Sunday at IMS to take their first laps in preparation for the 98th Indianapolis 500, scheduled for Sunday, May 25. Practice will be open from noon-6 p.m. (ET).
"It's great to have another track day right after a tough day like this," Newgarden said. "The best thing is to get back on track, and hopefully we can start fresh tomorrow."
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing