Newgarden wins Texas IndyCar thriller with last lap pass

by Jack Benyon
10 min read

Josef Newgarden pipped long-time leader and Penske team-mate Scott McLaughlin to victory on the Texas oval with an incredible last lap overtake around the outside of the last corner.

McLaughlin was the dominant force of the race, taking the lead from polesitter Felix Rosenqvist from the first lap and then shook out 12 seconds clear in the lead after the first round of stops.

He ceded some of that lead in order to avoid running in the dirty air of backmarkers, but then a host of mid-race cautions for crashes bunched up the field anyway and created a one-stop dash to the finish.

The lead did swap around in the last stint but it was clear that McLaughlin would come to the fore, and he was joined by Newgarden who only started seventh but his car came alive after the first pitstop.

McLaughlin did everything correctly but Newgarden absolutely dive-bombed the last corner while McLaughlin was on the inside in the dirty air of backmarkers. Newgarden crossed the line 0.0669s clear after the final drag race.

It’s a big win for Newgarden who struggled in the season opener and lost his race engineer Gavin Ward to McLaren in the off-season, replaced by Eric Leichtle close to the start of the season.

The result also secured what Penske reckons is its 600th win as a team.

Despite the heartbreak of losing the win, McLaughlin leaves the weekend 28 points clear after winning the season opener at St Petersburg last month.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson started 14th but delivered another trademark drive through the field to take third which his best result on an IndyCar oval since leaving F1, and involved some really clever overtaking when that wasn’t always the case through the field.

Will Power took fourth for Team Penske ahead of the late surging Scott Dixon who in turn had to pass the top rookie of the race, Jimmie Johnson who suffered a telemetry issue which gave him an urgent fuel number to hit because the team didn’t know how much he’d saved.

Johnson was another wily and clever competitor keeping his car’s nose clean but he had no qualms passing the likes of Dixon and Simon Pagenaud on-track to deliver by far his best IndyCar result at a track where he has over 11,000 laps of experience from his NASCAR days.

Reigning champion Alex Palou had a quiet race but took seventh, ahead of Pagenaud for Meyer Shank Racing.

Santino Ferrucci was one of the stars of the race as he got the call to drive hours before the race in place of the injured Jack Harvey at Rahal Letterman Lanigan but still turned a 27th place start into a top 10 in a very typical performance of the ace oval driver.

Rinus VeeKay rounded out the top 10. His undercuts were legendary in the race but at the last stop it was just too early for both tyres and fuel to last and he ceded the lead to fall all the way back.

Colton Herta may have been in contention for a top 10 but a wheel gun locked onto the wheel at his penultimate stop dropping him out of contention to 12th.

It was a nightmare day for Andretti as its other three cars retired.

Romain Grosjean’s car was seen with smoke pouring out with just under halfway to go. Alexander Rossi jumped the start but didn’t get chance to take his penalty after apparent alternator issues halted progress.

Graham Rahal and Helio Castroneves were taken out after contact between Rahal and the other Andretti driver Devlin DeFrancesco on lap 131, which caused a lengthy delay in the race.

McLaren’s horrendous Bahrain Formula 1 weekend appeared to continue over to its IndyCar team as both of its drivers hit trouble.

Felix Rosenqvist was on pole and remained in second for the early running before a bad pit stop dropped him down the order, and then another slow stop where he locked up entering the pit box all but ruined his win chances for good.

Then just before the halfway mark he had a vibration and was forced to retire.

Pato O’Ward came through the field early but had a bad stop himself when he hit his front right tyre changer. He got a penalty for that then lost a lap changing the front wing, and could only fight back to 15th.

Just ahead of O’Ward was The Race’s IndyCar Podcast co-host JR Hildebrand who recovered from an issue on Saturday which was spotted late on into the night and seemingly partially corrected for Saturday’s race.

His team-mate Kyle Kirkwood had impressed early on making multiple overtakes after pitting on that first caution, but crashed out on lap 116 after getting too high in Turn 3 and losing the rear end.

Takuma Sato was a victim of contact with Devlin DeFrancesco and also retired after hitting the wall.

Sato had qualified third and looked race early on but his win chances were already over before the crash as his stalled team-mate David Malukas blocked Salo’s pit entry costing him many places.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 248 3 2h9m29.727s 23.76s 3 51
2 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 248 186 +0.066s 23.821s 3 43
3 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 248 10 +1.353s 23.716s 3 36
4 Will Power Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 248 20 +15.223s 23.702s 3 33
5 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 248 0 +15.673s 23.604s 3 30
6 Jimmie Johnson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 248 0 +18.093s 23.649s 3 28
7 Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 248 0 +19.193s 23.851s 3 26
8 Simon Pagenaud Meyer Shank Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 248 0 +22.464s 23.854s 3 24
9 Santino Ferrucci Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 248 0 +24.414s 23.989s 4 22
10 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 248 5 +25.484s 23.943s 3 21
11 David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsport Dallara DW12-Honda 248 3 +26.05s 23.874s 5 20
12 Colton Herta Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Dallara DW12-Honda 247 0 +1 lap 23.719s 3 18
13 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 247 4 +1 lap 23.988s 4 18
14 J. R. Hildebrand A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 247 1 +1 lap 24.054s 4 17
15 Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 247 0 +1 lap 23.493s 4 15
16 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 247 5 +1 lap 24.024s 6 15
17 Dalton Kellett A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 246 0 +2 laps 24.17s 7 13
18 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 245 0 +3 laps 23.853s 7 12
Christian Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 233 0 DNF 23.764s 6 11
Takuma Sato Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Dallara DW12-Honda 140 5 DNF 23.653s 4 11
Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren SP Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 138 0 DNF 23.508s 2 10
Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 128 0 DNF 23.775s 3 8
Hélio Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 128 1 DNF 23.551s 2 8
Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 128 0 DNF 23.782s 2 6
Kyle Kirkwood A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 113 5 DNF 23.848s 3 6
Romain Grosjean Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 103 0 DNF 23.822s 2 5
Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 11 0 DNF 23.895s 1 5
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