“I started racing when I was 13 in go-karts. I told my parents I wanted something motorized and they wouldn’t let me have it till I was 13. I finally got started in karts. That’s what I loved. I stopped playing baseball, I stopped playing basketball and started racing. Somewhere along the line, I found myself in an IndyCar so it’s been a pretty incredible journey.”
Josef Newgarden continues his journey this weekend as he will look to tackle the streets of Toronto for the Honda Indy Toronto as he continues his sophomore IndyCar season.
“Toronto is incredible,” he says. “I just love the track. It’s a fun weekend to come race at, it’s a fun weekend to come visit a different city and Toronto is one of the best. They have incredibly passionate fans. Everything about it is good. I love the track. I love the style of racing here. I love the difficulty with the track that arises.”
While some tracks may have a tricky corner or spot, the trick that comes with Toronto is the fact that some parts are asphalt, and some parts are concrete.
“There’s lots of concrete and the concrete comes in and out in each other and really you need to find the apex over each corner of the track,” Newgarden explains. “It’s tough getting the car to work over every corner. It goes asphalt to concrete back to asphalt. The asphalt has tons of grip versus the concrete in the middle of the corner as you lose grip completely. That’s the tough thing about Toronto is figuring out that balance.”
To add to the challenge, the drivers are faced with two races this weekend – one Saturday and one Sunday – instead of the normal one race format that race fans have been used to. The additional race puts an emphasis on what a driver intakes.
“It’s just more emphasis put on hydration and food – what you’re doing with vitamins,” Newgarden says of the two races. “It puts more of a premium on that sort of stuff so that’s the drivers are focusing on. Can’t do much with your training as once your set at your fitness level, you try to maintain that throughout the season. It’s more the hydration that you have to look out for.”
Newgarden heads into Toronto this weekend looking for his first career IndyCar Podium after picking a pair fifth place finishes so far this year.
“It’s been fun, exciting, gone to many different tracks already, which isn’t unusual for IndyCar as we go to all different types,” Newgarden says. “We’re always keeping it fresh and creating a new challenge for the teams and the drivers. It’s been fun. We’ve had a really fun year. We’ve had a couple top fives. Definitely want more; we’re not here to finish fifth. We’re trying to get wins and podiums. This weekend, we have two great opportunities.”
One of the things that is Newgarden’s backpocket is that he is no rookie this year, having ran Toronto last year, and is gotten more used to working with his crew.
“You really have to have an incredible group that works well together and understands what they need from each other,” Newgarden says. “We’re sort of firing on all cylinders now at Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. We understand what we need from each other now and what we want from each other and that’s what I think is happening this year together. You start to get that continuity, that rhythm and this year it’s starting to gel and come together a lot better and that’s been the biggest difference for us.”