Newgarden: Palou is “most complete” of IndyCar’s new stars

Two-time IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden believes Alex Palou is currently the best of the rising stars in the series.

Newgarden: Palou is “most complete” of IndyCar’s new stars

While there has been much talk of a youth movement within IndyCar in 2021, as Patricio O’Ward and Rinus VeeKay have become winners in their second full-time seasons in the series, and Colton Herta is again prevailing within the Andretti Autosport team, Newgarden believes it is Palou who is currently the “most complete” of them all.

Palou, in his second IndyCar season and his first at Chip Ganassi Racing, currently leads the championship by a healthy 39 points with six rounds to go, having chalked up two wins and four other top-three finishes.

Newgarden, who scored Team Penske’s first win of the season at Mid-Ohio yesterday said of Palou: “I would give him the highest marks of all the young guys. I think he's the most complete if you look at it today.

“You look at the young crop. There's some serious talent in this series from top to bottom, whether it's young or the middle guys or old guys. Amongst the newcomers and the young generation, he looks to be the full package of everybody.

“I don't think it's a surprise to look at what he's doing. He's become a good competitor, definitely someone you're going to have to fight like every other. You have to be better than him and be consistent. I think he gets that.”

Newgarden, who currently lies fourth in the championship, 69 behind off Palou, was asked if to win a third title he needs to focus on beating Alex in all six of the remaining races.

“We’ve just got to be the best version of ourselves every weekend,” said the Hendersonville, TN native. “It sounds cheesy, but it's the truth. It's pretty simple. That's our approach.

“Every weekend is individualized. They all count. Ultimately these next six races are all going to add up to something.

“We don't have the luxury of room for error. It's always nice when you do but we don't. But I don't think that changes our approach. We're out there to maximize whatever our potential is every weekend.

“I don't think we're just looking at Alex. I think we're focused on ourselves and what we can do. We need to be strong, but I feel like we need to be strong at all points in any championship.”

Newgarden has led 172 of the last 205 racing laps, but lost the previous two races in the final stages due to strategy (Detroit) and a mechanical gremlin (Road America). On the question of whether he was confident the bad luck would end eventually, he said: “You can't predict what the racing gods are going to do… It's like the light is not shining on you correctly for the day. Sometimes it's a little dark, it doesn't like you…

“I think the performance has been there. I can't predict what's going to happen every weekend, if something is going to go right or wrong. If I look at just the facts of what we're doing, what's in our control as an organization, what people are doing around us, everyone's doing their job.

“We've been in the fight literally every weekend. Obviously we had a little bit of a backstepping at Indianapolis. Other than that we've been fighting for wins every single weekend.

“It wasn't bothering me. I knew it wasn't working out. Of course at some point you keep doing this, of course it's going to turn around, things are going to shine on us differently.

“Like I said, we've been in the fight pretty much every weekend… We need to keep that up. Performance loss is pretty easy to have in this series from one week to another. We have to make sure we're consistent.”

shares
comments

Related video

Andretti team sucker-punched by misfortune at Mid-Ohio

Previous article

Andretti team sucker-punched by misfortune at Mid-Ohio

Next article

Ericsson: “Confidence is a beautiful thing when you have it”

Ericsson: “Confidence is a beautiful thing when you have it”
Load comments
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021