Josef Newgarden has passed his initial follow-up tests conducted by the NTT IndyCar Series’ medical team and is cleared to return to the cockpit of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet for opening practice of this weekend’s Gallagher Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The 31-year-old Tennessee native have to undergo another evaluation after the session to determine his status for the remainder of the weekend.
Newgarden was en route for a possible sweep in last weekend’s doubleheader at Iowa Speedway. After winning Saturday’s opening race, he was out front once again for Sunday’s closing act until a suspected suspension failure enabled a violent spin that ended with a hard impact in the Turn 4 SAFER Barrier with less than 70 laps to go.
After being initially cleared by IndyCar’s medical team, the two-time series champion later lost consciousness and fell outside of his motor coach. He was then flown by helicopter to MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center, where he stayed overnight under observation prior to returning home.
While waiting out the process on the status of Newgarden’s fitness for this weekend’s 13th round of the 2022 season, Team Penske called Santino Ferrucci on standby duty. Ferrucci has made three appearances this season, all with three different teams, with two of those opportunities coming in as a substitute: Jack Harvey (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) at Texas and rookie Callum Ilott (Juncos Hollinger Racing) at Detroit).
However, Newgarden has been provisionally cleared to begin the weekend’s festivities as a statement from IndyCar read, “Following the event at Iowa Speedway and per INDYCAR protocol, the driver of the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden, was evaluated this afternoon by IndyCar Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows.
“The examination determined that Newgarden is cleared to participate in tomorrow’s NTT IndyCar Series practice session on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Newgarden will be re-evaluated after the session to determine if he’s cleared to resume all racing activities for the remainder of the Gallagher Grand Prix event.”
Newgarden currently sits third in the championship standings, 34 points behind leader Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing.