Team Penske announced today that they have officially signed Josef Newgarden. Newgarden will drive the number 2 entry formally driven by Juan Pablo Montoya who will not be with Penske full time in 2017.
Josef Newgarden started his IndyCar career with Sarah Fisher Hartman racing in 2012 after winning the Indy Lights title in 2011. Newgardens first contact with Team Penske came after his Lights title. Team owner Roger Penske decided Newgarden at the time Newgarden was not ready to win championships. Josef Newgarden would settle into SFH Racing after the meeting with Penske.
After the 2014 season, SFH Racing would merge with Ed Carpenter Racing to make Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing. The merger proved a success with Newgarden winning the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama in just the fourth after merging. Josef would also win in Toronto along with his teammate at the time Luca Filippi finishing second making it the team’s first 1-2 finish. Newgarden would stay in the championship battle until the last race when his car went aflame while in the pits ending his hopes at a championship.
Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman would pull out of IndyCar at the end of 2015 reverting CFH Racing back to Ed Carpenter Racing. Newgarden would pilot the 21 car with Fuzzy’s Vodka as a main sponsor. Josef suffered a broken clavicle and hand at Texas Motor Speedway after a horrific collision with Conor Daly. Newgarden would return to Road America 2 weeks later finishing in the top 10 after starting from the back. The next race in Iowa saw the American dominate leading 282 of 300 laps. Newgarden would go on to finish 4th in the championship in his last season with ECR.
“For any open-wheel racer or any racecar driver in general, Team Penske is a dream job. Roger Penske is a legend in the motorsports community and his team has done just about everything they’ve ever set out to do. I look forward to working with all of Team Penske’s great partners. To get an opportunity to work with Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, and Helio Castroneves, along with the rest of the team, will just help make me a better driver.” said Newgarden on his signing with Team Penske.
With Newgarden in at Penske and Montoya out the question now is where does Montoya land? Team Penske president Tim Cindric told that an offer to run the Indianapolis 500 is on the table for the former series and Indianapolis 500 champion. Montoya has said that he still has “unfinished business” meaning he still wants another IndyCar championship which he needs a full-time ride. Talks of multiple teams wanting the Columbian are wide with Ganassi, Foyt, KVSH, and even Ed Carpenter wanting to sign the veteran Montoya.
Josef Newgarden signing with Team Penske has set off a silly season storm which can only mean there is a lot more news coming soon from IndyCar.
Featured Image Credit – Chris Owens – www.indycar.com