Thursday, December 1, 2022

Newgarden’s No. 2 Team Penske Squad Wins Pit Stop Challenge

Josef Newgarden's No. 2 Team Penske group won the pit stop competition on Carb Day.
The crew of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet for Josef Newgarden came out on top in the pit stop competition on Friday. Image courtesy of Doug Matthews / Penske Entertainment

The No. 2 Team Penske crew for Josef Newgarden prevailed to win the intense Pit Stop Challenge ahead of Sunday’s 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

The fate of Friday’s Carb Day competition was decided when Newgarden’s squad managed to outlast Scott Dixon’s No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing crew in a best-of-three final round.

“Maybe a little good mojo,” Newgarden said, of winning the competition on the 50th anniversary of Penske’s first Indy 500 win in 1972 with Mark Donohue. “Like Travis (Law) said, we had the slower lane there and they made the difference on that final stop to get it done. I’m always thrilled to show up to the race track because I know I have the best of the best behind me. Hopefully, we can do that on Sunday with Shell Fuel Rewards and Team Chevy.”

An intense opening round saw the respective crews of Alex Palou, Felix Rosenqvist, Jack Harvey, Pato O’Ward and Romain Grosjean go through. One significant moment came from Sage Karam, who ended up spinning – nearly into Rosenqvist – due to the wheel coming off just after being serviced by his No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing squad. Newgarden, Dixon and Graham Rahal all received a bye through Round 1, with their initial running coming in the quarterfinals.

The tightest margin of victory came in the quarterfinals after Newgarden and Co. managed to edge the No. 10 CGR team of reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Palou by just 0.185s. The other teams advancing out of the round and into the semis were Dixon, O’Ward and Rahal.

The head-to-head battle in the semis saw Rahal’s No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda team have a rare struggle with the pit stop and fall by 7.656s to Dixon’s squad. Then, a straightforward bout ended with Newgarden’s outfit besting O’Ward’s by 0.902s.

The opening run of the final round was decided by 1.252s with the edge to Newgarden’s crew. An issue on the right-rear while trying to launch from the pit stop of the second run was enough to slow Dixon from extending the round, falling short by 5.962s and handing bragging rights to the members of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet.

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