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Sunday, September 26, 2021

We’re nonetheless within the struggle, loads to play for

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Group Penske’s 2017 and ’19 champion completed fifth within the Grand Prix of Portland climbing from 16th on the grid, and comprehensively beating erstwhile factors chief Pato O’Ward, who might solely end 14th.

However together with his different two title rivals Alex Palou and Scott Dixon ending first and third of their Chip Ganassi Racing-Hondas, Newgarden was left considerably underwhelmed by the weekend as a complete.

“I made a reasonably large error on the finish of the second warning interval,” he instructed Autosport. “I used to be in engine Map 8, which you utilize to run lean and save gas whilst you’re beneath warning.

“On the restart [Lap 57], I forgot to return out of Map 8 so we simply weren’t getting full energy as we accelerated. That’s after I needed to transfer proper to defend from Dixon all down the straight and [Alexander] Rossi obtained by each of us into Flip 1.

“I feel our potential was third, which, given the circumstances – beginning 16th, and having to keep away from all that mayhem on Lap 1 – was not too dangerous. However we ended up fifth as an alternative of third.

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“So a superb day, however not an excellent day, and undoubtedly not a superb weekend total. Gradual in qualifying after which two of our championship rivals beat us within the race, and one in every of them will get the win.”

Josef Newgarden, Group Penske Chevrolet

Photograph by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Newgarden mentioned he and the crew as a complete have been left puzzled by their wretched qualifying velocity which noticed not one of the quartet escape Q1.

“No, we nonetheless don’t actually know what precipitated that efficiency drop in qualifying,” he mentioned. “It’s actually an oddball to me.

“OK, the observe temperature modified dramatically, a 25degF improve between apply 1 and quali, in order that’s most likely a part of it. We possibly didn’t account for that effectively sufficient, misplaced the steadiness in contrast with our rivals.

“The automobile was fairly understeery in contrast with the morning and that ties in with observe temp going up.

“However I don’t know if that’s all that the issue was. I’m very shocked by how a lot velocity we appeared to lose from session to session. Our theoretical and out-lap occasions have been very robust in P1, after which we fell out of the combo.

“Then it picked up once more for the race. I’d say our race tempo was on level.”

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Regardless of Palou now main the title race by 25 factors, and Newgarden being an additional 9 factors behind Arrow McLaren SP’s O’Ward, the Penske driver is taking a Positive outlook forward of this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca, and subsequent week’s finale within the Acura Grand Prix of Lengthy Seaside.

“We’re nonetheless within the struggle, loads to play for right here with two to go,” he mentioned. “100 factors on provide, and we’re 34 down.”

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