Newgarden hopes to sidestep first-year problems at Penske

Team Penske’s newest driver recruit Josef Newgarden says that he is expecting less of a transition phase than that endured by Simon Pagenaud, as he joins Team Penske from Ed Carpenter Racing.

Newgarden hopes to sidestep first-year problems at Penske
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Bodywork for Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Second place Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Newgarden spent his first three IndyCar seasons with Sarah Fisher Hartmann Racing, which then merged with Ed Carpenter’s squad in 2015 before Carpenter took sole charge last year. However, as he joins the most iconic team in IndyCar, Newgarden says there should be no direct comparison between his first year there and that of Simon Pagenaud who went winless in 2015 but became Verizon IndyCar Series champion last year.

“Simon is an interesting case because if you look back at it, he didn't have that terrible of a [first] year in a lot of respects,” he said. “The results weren't what they wanted. They finished outside the top 10 in the championship. But from a speed standpoint, Simon didn't struggle the first year. That wasn't the missing ingredient.

“So I’m hoping that's not a problem in the transition. I don't foresee it being a problem. Everyone has a different case, so in Simon's, for instance, they had to build a new team. He's talked about the difficulty of them having to add a team, different people. Sure, he brought over [race engineer Ben] Bretzman so that was his continuity for him, but there were some other elements that weren't continuity.

“With me, it's going to be a different ball of wax. I've got an existing team on the #2 car program. They've been in place for a while, so that shouldn't be as big of a shuffle from the team side.

“It's going to be more me learning how the team operates, gelling with my engineer [Brian Campe] very quickly. That's going to be the biggest difference for me.
It’s hard to predict how it's going to go. I think all signs point that we could have a very good start to the season.”

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