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Newgarden “missing” Cindric at Indy, Porsche sportscar boss replaces him

Porsche Penske Motorsport’s managing director Jonathan Diuguid will call the strategy for Josef Newgarden’s bid to retain his Indianapolis 500 crown this month.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

Photo by: Penske Entertainment

Newgarden’s regular strategist Tim Cindric and race engineer Luke Mason were both suspended by legendary team owner Roger Penske from IndyCar duties following the illegality scandal that has marred the start of the season.

Newgarden was disqualified from his season-opening St. Petersburg victory due to illegal use of push-to-pass during restarts, after all three of Penske’s entries mistakenly ran with software that allowed him to do so.

Diuguid has vast IndyCar experience, engineering Helio Castroneves across four seasons and then returning after a stint with Penske’s Acura sportscar program to run Scott McLaughlin in 2021.

Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet, race engineer Jonathan Diuguid

Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet, race engineer Jonathan Diuguid

Photo by: Scott R LePage / Motorsport Images

“I think a lot of it will be the same,” Newgarden told NBC Peacock of the impact of the changes. “It's definitely different for me having a unique voice, certainly missing Tim, you know, I like having him in my ear, but we’ve got a great team here with the two car.

“A lot of it's holistically the same, we're gonna be going through the same process that we always do and it's great to be back here. I'm glad we had that test last month that always helps things and feeling excited to be here because it's difficult to not get excited about this place when you roll in the front gates and it's a beautiful track.

“I think we're gonna have some fast cars at Team Penske this this month. And we're really very, very focused on trying to get through qualifying and then having a good race.

“I just don't think you can beat the history and, when you win the race, it just completely changes your perspective. So, it's been very cool to win it and to be here with this group trying to defend our title.”

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet Warner

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet Warner

Photo by: Brett Farmer / Motorsport Images

Newgarden’s day started badly, with a technical issue being discovered on his installation lap, which left him stranded in the pits as cars got just over 20 minutes of running before rain arrived.

“We got an issue, we're diagnosing,” he added. “We just got a sensor that's off right now.

“We're just trying to take our time and we don't want to run the car without everything fully going, and just wanna be safe.”

While Team Penske’s president Cindric was suspended from the Indy Grand Prix, he was on site at Laguna Seca to oversee victory for Mathieu Jaminet and Nick Tandy in their Porsche 963.

Porsche Penske's Daytona 24 Hours winning engineer Raul Prados will take up that role on Newgarden’s No. 2 entry, having joined the team in place of Mason at the Indy GP.

Elsewhere, Jon Bouslog switches from strategizing for Newgarden last weekend to Will Power’s car, as his regular strategist Ron Ruzewski is suspended.

Power also has Paulo Trentini in as data engineer for the debarred Robbie Atkinson.

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