Newgarden Wins Skip Barber National Finale. Finishes Second Overall
DANVILLE, Va; 5 October -- Coming into the final weekend with two races of the docket of the BF Goodrich/Skip Barber National Championship Series, Josef Newgarden knew he would have to dominate the weekend in order to wrestle the title away from off-track friend and on-track adversary Conor Daly. However, the pair split the wins, with Daly atop the podium on Saturday and Newgarden taking Sunday's honors, the title tilted in Daly's favor, with Newgarden the runner-up.
"I'm very satisfied with the my performance over the season. Some things didn't go our way, many of them things that were out of our control, but that's the way it goes in racing. I'm not taking anything away from Conor. He did his job, just as I did mine. Sometimes though, the breaks don't go your way," said Newgarden who held his head high and with a smile despite feeling the sting of the outcome.
"I've learned a lot this year, and I feel that my racecraft has improved and I've really learned about the highs and lows of motorsport. It's been a great experience that will carry me into the future and I'm confident that I've come out stronger and the better for it," he added.
The 3.27-mile, 17-turn VIR road course provided loads of opportunity for the Skip Barber National drivers to thrust and parry. Lap charts don't do justice to the on-track battles as the lead among the Top-5 drivers often changed several times per lap. Newgarden, leading much of the first race, had his title hopes dashed when entering turn 1 four-wide, he was struck from behind when another of the title contenders locked wheels out-braking himself. The collision with Newgarden sent both cars off track. Despite his best efforts to catch the leading group, the laps wound down too quickly, forcing Newgarden to settle for fifth place.
Sunday's race saw more disciplined driving throughout the field and while Newgarden duly took the victory, he needed his rivals to fall by the wayside. Alas, they did not, and Newgarden was left to rue another incident not of his own making, one of several from throughout the year that quenched his title hopes.
Next, Newgarden looks forward to fulfilling his promise as a member along with Conor Daly of the Team USA Scholarship with two weekend of racing in England in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch on October 18-19 and the Walter Hayes Trophy at the Silverstone Circuit on November 1-2.