Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden on contract extension with Team Penske: ‘This feels like home’

DETROIT – What a wild, wild world it has been for Josef Newgarden in the past six weeks.

On April 22, the Team Penske IndyCar star was informed by IndyCar that he was disqualified from his March 10 victory in the season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – the first disqualification since Al Unser, Jr. at Portland in June 1995. IndyCar officials discovered the team had violated push-to-pass parameters that allowed Newgarden to use it on starts and restarts.

On April 26, he spoke to the media at Barber Motorsports Park, breaking down in tears several times, apologizing for his role in the scandal trying to clear his reputation. 
Team Penske owner Roger Penske suspended Newgarden’s race strategist Team Penske President Tim Cindric and his race engineer, Luke Mason, as well as IndyCar managing director Ron Ruzewski and engineer Robbie Atkinson for their role in the push-to-pass violation. All four were denied a trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the month of May leading up to the 108th Indianapolis 500.

On May 11, Newgarden started fourth, but finished 17th in the Sonsio Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, spinning out in the race.

On May 19, Newgarden qualified third, the outside of Row 1, as Team Penske swept the front row for the Indianapolis 500 for the second time in history. The only previous time that happened was in 1988.

On May 26, Newgarden became the first driver to win back-to-back Indianapolis 500s since Helio Castroneves in 2001 and 2002. By doing so, he collected a $440,000 BorgWarner Rollover Bonus. 
On May 27, Newgarden became the first Indy 500 winner to earn more than $4 Million for his victory, collecting a total of $4.288 Million during the Indianapolis Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott Hotel in Indianapolis.

On Saturday, June 1, Team Penske announced Newgarden has signed a contract extension to remain with the team. Details were not announced other than it was a multi-year extension. asked Newgarden if he can even begin to put into words the wide, wide range of emotions from April 22 to June 1?

“I don't know that I have a collection of words for today,” Newgarden responded to “It's been very gratifying to go through the last month. I’m really proud of the team. You have no idea.

“This is a collection of a lot of efforts to do what we did last month. We showed all the way throughout the month we were a team united; we could compete with the best of the best and still represent our partners and our people with integrity and character.

“I'm so proud to be here, you have no idea. I love being a part of this team. It's just the best. I was glad we were able to show everything we did last month.”

On Saturday afternoon, Team Penske and Newgarden announced a multi-year agreement that will keep the championship-winning American driver behind the wheel of the No. 2 Chevrolet in the NTT IndyCar Series into the future.

IndyCar: Indianapolis 500 Winner
IndyCar: Indianapolis 500 Winner

“Josef Newgarden is a true winner, and we are excited that he will continue as a part of Team Penske for years to come,” said team owner Roger Penske. “What he did Sunday in the Indianapolis 500 shows how Josef consistently delivers for our team and our partners on the track, and he is just as impressive off the track as well. We are proud to have Josef continue with our organization as his skill and passion embody what it means to be a Team Penske driver.”

Newgarden is one of the biggest stars in the IndyCar Series and has called Team Penske home since the 2017 season. In his seven-plus seasons with the organization, Newgarden has totaled 27 wins, 16 NTT P1 Award pole positions, and two IndyCar Series championships in 2017 and 2019.

A well-rounded driver that can win on any circuit, Newgarden has established himself as the top oval racer in the series and his 30 career victories place him alone in the 13th position on the all-time series wins list.

Most-notably, the Nashville, Tenn. native took the checkered flag in the Indianapolis 500 in 2023 and 2024, becoming the first driver since 2002 to win the race in consecutive seasons. His 2024 Indianapolis 500 victory on Sunday afternoon gave Team Penske 20 wins in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” This extension will allow Newgarden to chase immortality as the first driver to win three-consecutive Indianapolis 500s with the most-successful team in the race’s 108-year history.

In addition, this year Newgarden became the first driver in Team Penske history to win the Indianapolis 500 and the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the same season when he helped the team to the overall win in the endurance classic for the first time since 1969.

IndyCar: Indianapolis 500 Winner
IndyCar: Indianapolis 500 Winner

“Driving for Roger Penske and this iconic team is a dream that I never thought I would realize,” Newgarden said. “I’m thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been given during my time at Team Penske. I have a great amount of respect for the individuals that comprise our group, including the partners who support us.

“Our time together has been filled with hard work, teamwork and dedication; and I’m so excited that we will continue on for many more years to come. I’m sure that we can achieve much more in the future. I still believe we haven’t reached our full potential together just yet.”

Newgarden is seventh in the 2024 IndyCar Series standings with one win and two top-five finishes in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet. He is a 2019 winner of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, site of this weekend’s sixth round of the 2024 IndyCar Series championship that can be seen live on the USA Network at 12:00 pm ET on Sunday, June 2.

Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 625 major race wins, over 685 pole positions and 44 championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition.

Entering its 58th season in 2024, Team Penske has also earned 20 Indianapolis 500 victories, three Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win, victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, along with a win in Australia’s legendary Bathurst 1000 race.

In 2024, Team Penske will compete in the NTT IndyCar Series, NASCAR Cup Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Verizon Indy Car Series Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
Verizon Indy Car Series Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

Newgarden scored his first IndyCar win in 2015 when he was racing for a team owned by Ed Carpenter, Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman.

Nine years later, the 33-year-old racer from Hendersonville, Tennessee has 30 career wins, including two Indianapolis 500 victories and two IndyCar Series Championships.

“It's very humbling,” Newgarden said. “Look, I try not to concentrate on that part too much. I think the judgment will come from the outside, whatever it may be. I'm working hard to be myself and to do a great job for our team and our partners. I generally mean that. That's what I focus on.

“I’m very competitive. I care about the numbers. Someone asked about that. I certainly care about it. I think Roger Penske cares about it tremendously. Whatever we're doing, we care about the numbers. We want to succeed and only get better every year we show up. I feel the same way.

“In an odd way I think we have a long way to go. I don't say that arrogantly. I'm proud of what we've done, but I'm more excited about what we can do. I feel like our potential still has not been reached.

“I'm humble to be here. I didn't think I'd ever have this job in my life. Now that I've had it, it's been a dream ride with the best partners, best team. I'm not ready to let up. I'm ready to keep going and get better.”

For decades, it was standard operating procedure at Team Penske that contracts were not announced until the end of the season.

Times have changed as Will Power’s contract extension was announced in March 2023 and Newgarden’s was announced one week after the 108th Indianapolis 500.

“I think it's a matter of planning,” Penske Corporation President Bud Denker said. “These things don't just happen overnight, as Josef can tell you. I'll tell you, there was never any doubt between Josef and between ourselves that we would get this done.

“I think the fact that coming off the Indy 500, coming off another win, that kind of momentum, then coming into Detroit, which is for us a very, very important race for our company and for Roger Penske, his hometown as well, I think it made great sense to tie it all together.

“When we got the Hitachi thing put together, their extension, think about that, we're in our hometown, in the shadows of Chevrolet's headquarters, now we're in Chevrolet's headquarters. It was great timing. I think it made great sense.”

There may have been other teams interesting in talking to Newgarden about a new contract, such as Arrow McLaren. But when a driver becomes an Indianapolis 500 winner and series champion with Team Penske, there is really no other place to be where that kind of success can continue.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Syndication: Detroit Free Press

“It very much feels like home here to me,” Newgarden said. “This is my eighth year with the team. They've provided me with every opportunity that I could have ever dreamed of. I've enjoyed my time here immensely, immensely. There's nothing that's ever been missing. Very thankful to our partnerships across the board.

“Chevrolet has powered every single one of my IndyCar victories that I've ever had, whether that was pre-Penske or during the entire time. Not somewhere else I want to go. I have loved working with Chevrolet, having them support me my entire career.

“Certainly, the Hitachi relationship was a very good one to receive when I got to Team Penske. I used to watch Helio Castroneves drive the Hitachi car. I thought if one day I had an opportunity to drive for this team, I would love to drive that car. Helio passed the torch in 2018. We were able to follow that up with a championship in 2019.

“I don't think it's farfetched to say we nearly could have had four championships together in that time span. We finished second, runner-up, three years in a row. A couple were very close.

“I think for me what I look at, which is most gratifying, is the potential still has not been reached. There's a higher ceiling here that we haven't maxed out yet. That makes me excited for the future.”

In nine years, the 33-year-old has won 30 races.

Can he make it to 60 IndyCar victories in his career?

“I don't see why not,” Newgarden said. “I'm not going to say that's going to happen. It's very difficult to know what's going to take place. I don't see why we can't keep adding to the list. That's why I show up every day, I work hard every year, why this team works hard. Always looking forward.

“Roger Penske talks about we have to look through the front windshield. He's right. We're always trying to figure out how we can all be better at what we do.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500