ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – Josef Newgarden Wins $ 1 Million Sponsorship Bonus on Sunday for winning Road Americawhere his third victory of the season culminated in a trio of victories on various IndyCar circuits.
After winning the Texas Oval and Long Beach Streets this season, Newgarden headed to Road America in search of a road victory that would make him the first IndyCar driver this season to win on all three circuits.
The reward was a $ 1 million payout from The PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge, which distributed the bonus between the Penske team and the Newgarden charity. It is part of a new partnership between industry personnel giant PeopleReady and IndyCar, which will continue to give a $ 10,000 donation to each race winner for the rest of the season – split between the rider, his team and the charity of their choice.
The Penske rider chose Wags and Walks of Nashville and SeriousFun Children’s Network. This was the first year of the challenge and before the end of the IndyCar season; Newgarden is the only driver to have won eight of 17 races more than once.
After two late restarts, Newgarden defeated Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing by 3,371 seconds, but Ericsson regained the lead by finishing in second place.
Alexander Rossi, a Andretti Autosport driver who started in pole position in search of his first victory in three years, finished third, followed by teammates Romain Grosjean and Colton Herta.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: Where they all ended up on Road America
Chevrolet won the race with Newgarden, but Honda took four more places. Felix Rosenqvist of Arrow McLaren SP and Scott McLaughlin of Penske were sixth and seventh behind Chevy.
Newgarden was 2.8 seconds ahead of Rossi when Pat O’Ward’s engine failed and there were six laps to go before the first late restart. Then Helio Castroneves turned for another warning.
Newgarden jumped on Rossi well during both late restarts and never looked back.
Rossi had his hands full first with Ericsson and then with his own teammates, as his series of defeats stretched to 45 races. His Saturday race, which won pole position, was his first in three years.
Newgarden won for the second time at Road America, but a year ago he was heading for victory until his transmission failed in the final laps and it passed the victory to reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou.
Palou’s chances of defending last year’s victory vanished almost immediately due to early involvement with teammate Ganassi Ericsson. As Ericsson headed for Palou, the right rear of the Swede’s car touched the front left of Palou’s car and the Spaniard left the course.
“He tried to win the race in the third round,” Palou said. “Car is broken. And it is done. Game Over.”
In an interview with Kevin Lee of NBC Sports, Ericsson apologized to Palou for contact, but also said he considered it a “nice race move” and a justifiable action.
Will Power, meanwhile, dropped out of IndyCar’s point lead due to his own early incident. Poor qualifying efforts put Power in 15th place at the start and only eight laps to the race he was hit from behind by rookie Devlin DeFrancesco. Power ended on 19.
DeFrancesco was penalized a stop-and-go penalty for avoiding contact and Power dropped to second place, 27 points behind Ericsson.
O’Ward’s engine failure knocked him down from third to fourth place in the standings; Palou dropped from fourth to fifth. Newgarden’s victory, meanwhile, moved him from fifth to third place.
Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson had a frustrating day over contacting Tatiana Calderon at the end of the first round package. Johnson left the course and showed yellow throughout the course. He finished 24.
Calderon was in the field with Simona de Silvestro, the first time two riders had taken part in the IndyCar race since de Silvestro and Pippa Mann entered the Indianapolis 500 in 2015.