NEWGARDEN'S SEASON ENDS -- 2nd IN 2009 BRITISH FORMULA FORD SERIES American rookie signals thumbs up to winner of the highly-competitive series WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND (October 6, 2009) -- Josef Newgarden concluded his 2009 MSA Formula Ford ...
NEWGARDEN'S SEASON ENDS -- 2nd IN 2009 BRITISH FORMULA FORD SERIES
American rookie signals thumbs up to winner of the highly-competitive series
WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND (October 6, 2009) -- Josef Newgarden concluded his 2009 MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain campaign on Saturday (October 3) in fine fashion, standing on the podium with two second place finishes in Rounds 24 and 25, giving a thumbs-up to new series champion James Cole. The talented American junior open-wheel driver finished the season with a series-high nine race wins, and as the leading rookie competitor.
Coming into the final event of the championship, Newgarden was aware that he needed to win both races of the season-finale at Castle Combe to maximize his championship hopes, and he wasted little time getting up to speed when the cars rolled on-course for qualifying on Saturday morning. While the No. 21 Robo-Pong/Racer of Tomorrow Ltd/Joe Tandy Racing/Mygale SJ09 Premier Power driver was unable to secure pole position for either round, Newgarden did post the third fastest time for both race grids, ensuring he would be well-placed to challenge for wins when the green flag waved for each race.
Race one of the doubleheader at Castle Combe got underway in less than ideal wet and tricky conditions and, as a result, the opening lap featured plenty of dicing for position with multiple cars sliding off-course. Newgarden didn't get the best of starts, which combined with some evasive action to avoid other cars, resulted in a 10th place position by the end of lap two. Fortunately, just as he began his climb back to the front of the highly-competitive field, the safety car was sent on-track, bunching the leaders together.
On the ensuing restart, Newgarden was the driver to watch. Showing great car control and skill, the 18 year-old was into second place by the end of lap eight. Newgarden held station in second for the remaining five laps, adding yet another podium finish to his superb rookie European season. The result, however, was not enough to prevent the championship from being decided early, as the season-long leader Cole crossed the stripe in the fourth position.
Returning to the cockpit of his Joe Tandy Racing Mygale a short time later, Newgarden's goal in Round 25 was to end the British Formula Ford season on a high-note. Starting P3 for a second consecutive race, he set that plan in motion almost immediately upon the lights going out to commence the race. The American, having initially slotted into third place, made a bold pass of the newly crowned champion for second place before the lap was completed. Upon making the move, Newgarden wasted no time attacking the race one winner for the lead in the slick and treacherous conditions. In what was widely regarded as one of the best battles for position during the season, the duo ran nose-to-tail for the opening four laps. Newgarden found a way past on lap five and after holding off an immediate counter-attack appeared to be headed towards a 10th win of the season. However, despite the fact that the P2 driver fell a full second behind at one point, he never gave up. Three laps from the checkered flag, Newgarden relinquished the lead and was unable to find a way past again in the wet conditions. At that point, Newgarden elected to preserve his second place result, taking the checkered a little over a second behind the race winner.
Newgarden ended his season as the 2009 MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain Rookie of the Year, second overall in points, and the series-high race winner.
"It's been a great season of competition and I want to congratulate James Cole," commented Newgarden. "He and his Jamun team have obviously done a great job. All year long, it seems like I've been winning races left and right or finishing in the top-five consistently, I think somewhere around 20 or 21 out of the 25 races. I haven't really looked at the points that close, but Cole must have driven a helluva season to beat me, so I'll tip my hat to him for that! One thing is for sure, I'll be looking forward to racing against Cole again next year in the British F3."
With 2009 MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain season completed, Newgarden will now turn his focus to the historic Formula Ford Festival event at the famed Brands Hatch Circuit on October 17-18. The Joe Tandy Racing rookie enters the event as the defending Kent class winner, the lone American to have ever won the event.