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Aug 04, 2014 - 06:54 AM
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Big Performance By Josef Newgarden Comes Up Short at Mid-Ohio
Posted by: newsla on Aug 04, 2014 - 06:52 AM
IndyCar News
Big Performance By Josef Newgarden Comes Up Short at Mid-Ohio

Rising Star Racing driver Josef Newgarden delivered a big performance in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday afternoon when he ran among the top-three through most of the 90-lap race event. Newgarden looked well on his way to scoring perhaps his first Verizon IndyCar Series win of the season – if not a sure podium finish. But a penalty following his last pit stop of the race saw the day come up short for the young race talent who was credited with a 12th place finish at the checkered flag.


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It was a heartbreaking result for Newgarden and his Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team as the No. 67 Honda had taken over the race lead when he made his final pit stop. Despite a longer final stop, Newgarden was able hang on for fifth when he returned to the track, only to be called back to pit lane for a drive through penalty due to a pit lane safety violation. When all pit stops had cycled through, Newgarden found himself in the 13th position and made his way back up to 12th in the final stint that went caution free.

“We just didn’t get it right on the pit stop and it’s a shame,” said Newgarden. “We had such a strong car and we had great strategy. All we had to do was hang onto (Sebastien) Bourdais there and then it fell right into our hands. It was just the perfect strategy call from Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing which was so much fun for me. Because I knew what was happening the whole time. We planned that originally. You don’t always stick to your plan but we did today and it was just unfolding perfectly for us. It’s a shame it didn’t work out. But I think everyone knew that we were strong today and that we definitely had a shot at winning this thing and that’s really all you can ask for.”

Earlier in the day, Newgarden’s fellow Rising Star Racing pilots Spencer Pigot and Neil Alberico took part in the Pro Mazda Race. And while Pro Mazda’s Race 1 on Saturday saw several caution periods, Race 2 on Sunday went green through the entire 20-lap race and Neil Alberico led the Rising Star Racing charge with a fifth place finish. Spencer Pigot followed closely behind and took the checkered flag sixth in line.

Alberico was the biggest mover of the race, driving from 11th on the grid to a top-five result. He capitalized at the beginning of the event when two cars got together ahead of his No. 2 Bondurant School/eFormulaCarNews.com/J&M Trophy/Rising Star Racing Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing entry as the field approached the green flag. Alberico managed to skillfully avoid the cars ahead, but the contact saw the start waved off and he restarted ninth on the grid.

Looking racey from the drop of the green flag, Alberico wasted no time in moving forward as he moved up to sixth position within a matter of laps. As the race reached halfway, Alberico ran nose-to-tail in a gaggle of cars as he vied for the fifth position and finally made a pass stick on Lap 11. He ran fifth for the remainder of the race and as the leaders caught some lapped traffic in the closing laps, the fourth place car of Gutierrez slowed slightly. Alberico looked to take advantage as he also defended against fellow Rising Star racer Pigot, but ultimately took home the fifth place result.

“The team did a great job to prepare the car for the last session of the weekend, and we finished pretty strong,” said Alberico. “There’s a lot we can take away from this weekend. A huge thanks to Rising Star Racing. I was racing with all of my teammates today from my race team and from Rising Star! Everybody raced a very clean race. You could tell some were struggling - including myself - but we’re all out there in the equipment that we have and it’s up to the driver to drive around it. At the end of the day, that’s part of the game. Now we’ll move onto Milwaukee with every piece of the car still on it which is also very important!”

Pigot started Sunday’s race from fifth on the grid in the No. 7 Doug Mockett & Company/Rising Star Racing/VitaminPro App/California Scents/Juncos Racing car. He had a great start to the race and slotted up into the fourth position. He was almost immediately under attack from the fifth place runner behind, but defended until Lap 5 when he ceded the position and ran fifth in line.

In some slicing and dicing mid-pack, Pigot fell back to seventh as the two Rising Star Racing pilots ran sixth and seventh. The two made their way forward in the closing laps with Pigot scored sixth at the finish.

“Unfortunately, I just made a mistake there and that was basically it,” said Pigot of the run. “It’s very tough to pass here and the balance of the car wasn’t ideal. But we did what we could today. It’s disappointing for sure because I thought we could have had a podium today, but we’ll just go on to Milwaukee and hope for a better result.”

Pigot continues to lead the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires Championship with a 10-point advantage and Alberico moves up to third in the championship standings.
All three Rising Star Racing drivers will be back in race action at the Milwaukee Mile in two weeks.

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