Newgarden seals win no. 600 for Penske in Texas


After 248 laps under the sun it all came down to a good-ole fashioned Texas-sized duel to decide Sunday’s Xpel 375 at Texas Motor Speedway. On the final lap coming out of turn 4, Penske’s Josef Newgarden made a move to the outside line and stole victory away from teammate Scott McLaughlin, coming to the line by a scant 0.669 seconds to take his first win of the year.

If that wasn’t enough fanfare, Roger Penske had even more to be elated with as Newgarden’s win gave the entire organization its 600th overall win across any racing series. The Captain paid out a cash bonus in victory lane to Newgarden, handing him six, crisp, $100 bills to celebrate the occasion.

Said Newgarden after the race:

‘Unbelievable, I think Scott led 95 percent of the laps. I hate doing that to a teammate, but I was going for it, just like he was. Man, I was loose; I was driving the thing sideways off (Turns) 3 and 4. I was trying to get a win. I’m just so pleased for everybody. Last lap, last corner – that’s what it’s all about at Texas.’

McLaughlin, already with one win after taking the season opener on the streets of St. Pete, led 186 of the 248 laps to finish a career best 2nd-place at TMS, leading a Penske charge as all three teammates combined to lead 209 total laps. Will Power led a second-highest 20 laps and finished the day in fourth place behind the Ganassi-Honda of former F1 driver Marcus Ericsson, who led 10 laps in route to his best career oval-finish since joining the NTT IndyCar Series 4 years ago.

Related Link: NTT IndyCar Results

Ganassi finishes strong with 4 top-10’s

Capitalizing on Ericsson’s strong finish in 3rd, Scott Dixon started and finished the day in 5th place, leading his teammates Jimmie Johnson and 2021 Champion Alex Palou to their 6th and 7th place finishes respectively. Johnson piloted his number 48 machine to his best career finish since joining the NTT IndyCar series, using his oval experience from NASCAR to stay competitive and bring home a 6th place finish for the team after starting a rough 18th after qualifying.

Johnson stated after the race:

‘I hoped to qualify in the top 10 and race in the top 10…missed the qualifying mark a bit, but once we hit the halfway point of the race, I really could sense and feel the car. It became second nature, and off I went. We knew going oval racing would help, and today got us into the competitive mix.’

AMSP and Andretti Struggle

It was a weekend to forget for both the Arrow McLaren group and Michael Andretti’s team and both suffered multiple DNF’s in route to their roughest weekend this year.

Starting on Saturday, things were looking up as Felix Rosenqvist qualified fastest for his first career oval pole position, giving the AMSP team high hopes on Sunday. However, after losing the lead to Scott McLaughlin on lap 1, the Swede was unable to compete for the win as a mechanical failure on lap 128 took him out of the race for good. Teammate Pato O’Ward, who started 10th, finished in 15th and 1-lap down from winner Newgarden, unable to find the pace in his Chevrolet.

Alexander Rossi had yet another forgettable weekend when his number 27 Napa/AutoNation Honda came to stop on pit lane at lap 11 with a mechanical failure, adding to a laundry list of rough weekends dating back to 2021. Romain Grosjean in the number 28 DHL ride was the next victim, also suffering a mechanical issue in his first oval debut on lap 103, ending his day early in was was shaping up to be a decent weekend for the first timer to the high banks of Texas.

Rookie Delvin DeFrancesco crashed out on lap 129 after contact with Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal, ending his day in 24th position. Colton Herta ended his day in 12th position after starting 9th after a long pitstop took him out of contention for a top 10. Look for both teams to regroup for the next race in Long Beach on April 10th.

West Coast Spring

IndyCar rolls back to Long Beach for it’s traditional spring-time race on April 10th. 2021 Winner Colton Herta and 2020/2019 winner Alexander Rossi are both looking for redemption as they hit the beachside streets. Look for Andretti to be competitive and hungry for a win. The action all starts with FP1 on Friday, April 8th with the race on Sunday, April 10th at 3:30pm ET on NBC (US).