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NASCAR Cup Nashville

Indy 500 champ Josef Newgarden would "love to drive a NASCAR Cup car"

Josef Newgarden hopes his growing resume of racing accomplishments may give him some bargaining power when it comes to venturing into different forms of motorsport outside of the IndyCar Series.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Newgarden, a native of Hendersonville, Tenn., was a guest at Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Nashville Superspeedway and the back-to-back Indianapolis 500 champion reiterated his desire to one day drive in NASCAR.

“I’m a Nashville guy. I was born and raised here. I used to come to events out here as a kid,” the two-time IndyCar series champion said. “So yeah, I’m excited that we’re going to run our season finale here in IndyCar in a couple of months’ time in September.

“So, I’m doing a little bit of studying today. I’ve been trying to get out here to watch this race for the last couple of years so finally got here.”

Hopes to a drive NASCAR Cup car "at some point"

Asked if he still hoped to compete in a NASCAR race one day himself, Newgarden was adamant.

“Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I’d love to drive a Cup car at some point. You know, I used to go to Bristol races as well when I was a kid. Bristol’s always been, like, very high on my list,” he said. “This track and Bristol were probably the two that I went to the most to see Cup races.

“To do the ‘Double’ (Coke 600 and Indy 500 on same day) would be a great opportunity. I don’t know if that will ever take shape. It’s really tough nowadays to get that all lined up.

“There’s a lot of people that have to get involved and come together on that. We’d love to see more people do it.”

Newgarden, 33, maintained his focus remains on his Team Penske IndyCar ride and that it is “very difficult to get a ‘yes’ on extracurricular activities.”

“I’ve been able to branch out a little bit this year running the Daytona 24 which was a really big treat for me,” he said. “I’m just slowly trying to introduce the opportunities to do other stuff, but it’s tough.

“I mean it’s a real battle. You know, I have a job on the IndyCar side I’ve got to make sure we’re continuing to do for our partners for our team. That’s number one for me, but if we can keep delivering results, then we can add a couple more things which would be great.”

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, Borg-Warner Trophy

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, Borg-Warner Trophy

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Unlike many in open-wheel racing, Newgarden has some stock car and oval track experience.

He twice competed in the now-defunct Superstar Racing Experience in recent years. The series featured drivers from various racing disciplines competing on short asphalt and dirt ovals in a six-race format.

He is also a very accomplished oval track racer in IndyCar, a series dominated by road and street courses.

Newgarden suggested winning more Indy 500s might get him the chance to try the ‘Double,” like NASCAR star Kyle Larson attempted this season.

“I’m kind of like strategizing that if we win enough Indy 500s, then maybe they’ll just have to say ‘yes.’ Like I think that’s the strategy,” Newgarden said. “We got two now, like how many do you need for an automatic ‘yes’ on that?

“Two more? I don’t know what the number is, but we’ll keep going.”

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