Josef Newgarden wins in Barber after heartbreak for Will Power

Josef Newgarden has taken his first win for Team Penske. (Photo: Rainier Ehrhardt/LAT Images)
Rainier Ehrhardt/© Rainier Ehrhardt/LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk

In just his third race for Team Penske, Josef Newgarden has taken his first win racing for “The Captain.”

Newgarden started seventh for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, but had fought his way up to second in the closing stages. Newgarden was gifted the lead with a little over 10 laps to go when his teammate Will Power was forced to pit with a punctured left-rear tire.

For the first 62 of the 90 laps, Power dominated at the front of the field. The Team Penske driver had started from pole and was running a flawless race, although Newgarden and Scott Dixon were close behind in second and third.

But on Lap 63, a Full Course Yellow flew after Spencer Pigot spun off.

Following stops under the yellow, Charlie Kimball led the field back to green having stayed out. It had just started raining and, had it intensified, Kimball would have came out on top as they would have all had to pit again for wet tires.

However, the rain did not intensify, and behind Kimball, Power led Dixon and Newgarden after Dixon had leapfrogged Newgarden in the pits. However, Newgarden soon got the spot back. Kimball eventually had to pit and Power moved back up into the top spot with Newgarden back in second.

But with a little over 10 laps left to go, Power’s left rear tire suffered a puncture and he was forced to pit, promoting Newgarden to the lead. Newgarden had to hold off a challenge from Dixon, but was able to pull away in the closing laps. Newgarden’s teammates Pagenaud and Castroneves finished third and fourth while Alexander Rossi rounded out the top five. Power finished 14th.

Unofficial race results:

1. Josef Newgarden

2. Scott Dixon

3. Simon Pagenaud

4. Helio Castroneves

5. Alexander Rossi

6. James Hinchcliffe

7. Tony Kanaan

8. Sebastien Bourdais

9. Takuma Sato

10. Mikhail Aleshin

11. Ryan Hunter-Reay

12. Max Chilton

13. Graham Rahal

14. Will Power

15. Charlie Kimball

16. Ed Jones

17. Carlos Munoz

18. Conor Daly

19. Zach Veach

20. Spencer Pigot

21. Marco Andretti