Newgarden denies team mate McLaughlin by 0.06s with final corner pass in Texas

IndyCar

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At the end of a gripping tactical battle at Texas Motor Speedway, Josef Newgarden overtook Penske team mate Scott McLaughlin on the last lap, in the final corner, to win.

Newgarden was able to make the winning overtake as McLaughlin – who led 186 out of 248 laps – encountered a wave of lapped traffic ahead of him, putting his car in turbulent air. That gave Newgarden the chance to make the move around the outside in turn four, and win the race by just 0.067 seconds.

McLaughlin led the opening stint of the race after passing polesitter Felix Rosenqvist on the opening lap, but Newgarden – who started seventh – found himself in second place after the first cycle of pit stops. A string of accidents and caution flags brought the two Penske drivers together on track, with McLaughlin running ahead for much of the race, right until the final few hundred metres.

Despite being denied his second consecutive victory to open the year, McLaughlin will be consoled by leaving Texas with a 28 point lead in the IndyCar Series championship over Penske’s senior driver Will Power, who finished fourth.

Behind Newgarden and McLaughlin, Marcus Ericsson quietly worked his way from 14th on the grid and was a factor for the win in the final laps. Ultimately, he would finish third, as the top Ganassi driver.

Five-time Texas Motor Speedway winner Scott Dixon finished in fifth, and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson recorded by far his best IndyCar result with a sixth place finish – beating his reigning champion team mate, Álex Palou, who finished in seventh. Simon Pagenaud held on after dropping several places late in the race to finish eighth.

Jack Harvey, who suffered a concussion after an accident during a post-qualifying practice on Saturday, was declared unfit to race. His substitute, Santino Ferrucci, fought his way from 27th and last on the grid to finish ninth with just a few hours’ notice before being strapped into the number 45 RLL Dallara/Honda.

Rinus VeeKay rounded out the top 10, ahead of David Malukas, the only rookie to finish all 600 kilometres in 11th.

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The fortunes of Andretti Autosport unravelled almost immediately. Alexander Rossi broke down after 11 laps and brought out the first of four caution periods. Rookie Devlin DeFrancesco was a factor in separate accidents involving Takuma Sato and Kyle Kirkwood, pushing both drivers into the dusty portion of the outermost lane and into the wall. Both drivers were unharmed.

Romain Grosjean retired from his first superspeedway oval race when he suffered an engine failure during the second caution for Sato’s accident.

DeFrancesco’s erratic first outing at Texas ended when he, Graham Rahal and Hélio Castroneves crashed out in turn three, causing the fourth and final caution. All three drivers were okay after the accident. Adding insult to injury, Colton Herta dropped off the lead lap after a slow final pit stop, finishing 12th after running in the top five for most of the race.

McLaren SP’s woeful F1 fortune eventually followed the McLaren SP IndyCar team: Pole winner Rosenqvist retired after 138 laps with a differential failure, and Pato O’Ward finished 15th after picking up wing damage and a penalty for contact in the pit lane.

On Saturday, IndyCar conducted two practice sessions to try and alleviate the lack of grip on the outside groove at Texas’ corners, which are treated with PJ1 traction compound to accommodate NASCAR. While most overtakes were still done after restarts, the quality of racing on the whole proved to be better than in recent years.

PositionCarDriverTeamEngine
12Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
23Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
38Marcus EricssonGanassiHonda
412Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
59Scott DixonGanassiHonda
648Jimmie JohnsonGanassiHonda
710Alex PalouGanassiHonda
860Simon PagenaudMeyer ShankHonda
945Santino FerrucciRLLHonda
1021Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
1118David MalukasCoyne/HMDHonda
1226Colton HertaAndrettiHonda
1333Ed CarpenterCarpenterChevrolet
1411JR HildebrandFoytChevrolet
155Pato O’WardMcLaren SPChevrolet
1677Callum IlottJuncos HollingerChevrolet
174Dalton KellettFoytChevrolet
1820Conor DalyCarpenterChevrolet
1930Christian LundgaardRLLHonda
2051Takuma SatoCoyne/RWRHonda
217Felix RosenqvistMcLaren SPChevrolet
2215Graham RahalRLLHonda
236Helio CastronevesMeyer ShankHonda
2429Devlin DeFrancescoAndretti SteinbrennerHonda
2514Kyle KirkwoodFoytChevrolet
2628Romain GrosjeanAndrettiHonda
2727Alexander RossiAndrettiHonda

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RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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  • 11 comments on “Newgarden denies team mate McLaughlin by 0.06s with final corner pass in Texas”

    1. RandomMallard
      20th March 2022, 19:36

      Wow McLaughlin is doing really well. Super impressive start to the season for him. And congrats to Newgarden and Penske of course as well

    2. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      20th March 2022, 21:00

      Newgarden: YOINK

    3. I’m midway watching the race replay and it is SPECTACULAR, omg what a race!

    4. That was a great race. Some eye-catching performances all round, though I was particularly impressed by Johnson and Ferrucci.

      Unlucky for McLaughlin, but he can take major confidence from how competitive he’s been on two very different tracks so far.

    5. So much great racing these days: F1, Indy, MotoGP… Wow!

    6. Great race and great drives, super dramatic at the end

    7. Great race, what an ending! Texas would be even more amazing if IndyCar didn’t have to deal with the undrivable traction compound NASCAR applies to it, and be able to use the entire track.

    8. This was the track that Newgarden had the accident in 2016. So glad he it is now behind him.

    9. Another potential safety lesson has been missed. In Jack Harvey’s Texas Indycar practice crash, it appears that his helmet struck the Aeroscreen’s structure, resulting in concussion and excessive head G forces that resulted in him not being cleared to race the following day. One of the comments below the video said they’d heard that his head suffered 80G, which would be consistent with hitting the Aeroscreen.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ygu5afUZX5s
      This follows Charles Leclerc’s helmet striking his car’s titanium Halo in his Saudi Arabia crash less than 4 months ago. Watch the replay using the slow motion setting at 2:10 below:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7A39P2vfXU
      For this to happen twice in just 4 months is far too common. Although they were both pretty heavy crashes, there have been a lot worse in the past, so next time we might not be so lucky.
      The main problem is that the top of the padding either side of the helmet is significantly below the helmet’s centre of gravity, so that in a big enough crash, the long shoulder seat belts can stretch enough to allow the helmet to entirely clear the padding.
      In the short term, world motorsport must heighten single seaters’ padding either side of the helmet, which can be relatively easily done. Obviously it can’t be heightened much forward of the driver’s eyeline to maintain their peripheral vision, but rearward of that, it could be heightened to the top of the helmet.
      In the medium term, dependent on each series’ design refresh cycle, the halo/aeroscreen’s side bars could also be moved a little further away from the car’s centreline. This could be achieved by the next F1 season for example.

      Oddly, I seem to be the only person on the internet to have recognised these 2 impacts. I can only hope that it’s only not being recognised publicly by the governing bodies, and that improvements are being planned behind closed doors. But with none of the media seeing it, I fear it’s widespread inept blindness that’s preventing these lessons being learnt.
      Considering how many voices loudly moaned about the halo’s aesthetics, it’s odd that this danger that it could actually kill rather than save a driver is apparently invisible. It’s obviously a net safety benefit as it stands, but my recommended refinements could significantly reduce the risk with very little downside.
      I’ve had enough, so I’ve sent the above to Indycar, ACCUS-FIA, and Motorsport UK. The FIA seem to be too inward-looking to offer a suitable email address.

      1. Great job, man!
        I don’t think this is a very difficult issue to solve, so I hope the right people will address it.
        Apart from the obvious extra padding, one could also consider changing the surfaces of the helmet and padding so that there is much (upward) friction between them for the helmet not to slide upwards.

        1. Thanks! I often feel my safety comments are largely ignored, maybe because they’re too long, and often insufficiently timely.
          Yes, I thought about your ideas.
          The difficulty with changing the shape of the helmet is that the optimal structural shape is the existing sphere. And if you added an appendage which is semi structural, it could place a stress concentration on the main structure in an impact.
          The difficulty of sloping the padding is one of greater difficulty of the driver getting out in a hurry.
          But both could be done to a small degree without significant disadvantage.

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