Race Weekend Central

Josef Newgarden Repeats Texas Win in Thrilling IndyCar Race

Josef Newgarden survived a frantic and intense fight to the end to win the PPG 375 NTT IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 2.

The driver of the PPG Team Penske No. 2 held off a charge by Pato O’Ward over several laps after a restart with 12 laps to go, going side-by-side multiple times. After Romain Grosjean crashed on the backstretch coming to the white flag, the race finished under yellow. Pato finished second after having the dominant car in the middle half of the race during a long green flag run. Alex Palou, second-year driver David Malukas and Scott Dixon rounded out the top-five.

“It was just really hard to fight those guys,” Newgarden said in victory lane. “Palou was super strong. There just was no gimmie’s. [We were] packed up today, and [it was] difficult to get away. There were parts that we were really good and parts that were weaker, and when we needed to be good, the car was there at the end.”

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IndyCar Finds Its (Second) Groove at Texas

O’Ward in his Arrow Mclaren Chevrolet challenged Newgarden, but the late yellow prevented him from trying a move on the last lap. The driver who calls Texas home grabbed his second runner-up of the season, and the lead in the yearlong championship.

“The guys gave me an absolute rocket ship, everybody watching that race midway through probably saw that,” O’Ward said. “It was an absolute joy to drive.”

From the start, it was clear the new aerodynamic rules IndyCar put in place, giving teams optional pieces to use on their cars for additional downforce worked in providing increased overtaking opportunities. The second stop of the 2023 IndyCar season lived up to the legacy of previous Texas races, with action throughout the field. There were 27 lead changes, which is the third most for the series at that track.

Newgarden worked quickly to the front from his fourth starting position, putting his Team Penske Chevrolet up front on lap 5. He would stretch his lead over O’Ward during the first stint until the race’s first yellow, when Takuma Sato crashed.

One challenger was taken out of contention during the following yellow-flag pitstops, when top-five car Alexander Rossi exited his pits into the incoming Kyle Kirkwood. Rossi would park his Arrow Mclaren Chevrolet in the pits for multiple laps to fix the damage and later be assessed a penalty for unsafe exit. On the lap 60 restart, Palou briefly held the lead until Newgarden took it back. At that point, the field settled down into a two-car chase as Newgarden stretched out a lead during a long green flag run, with only O’Ward maintaining his pace.

After the next green flag pit stops, O’Ward caught Newgarden in traffic on Lap 129, and took the top spot. By lap 161, O’ward lapped third place Romain Grosjean. A yellow for Felix Rosenqvist crashing in turn 4 and pit stops by the leaders allowed multiple cars to regain their laps after the wave around. This enabled multiple strategies to play out, as Newgarden pitted to top off, while O’Ward remained out on track and committed to fuel saving.

On the lap 193 restart, the lead cycled between multiple drivers and for fifteen laps the lead swapped six times. Fuel save was no longer a factor after a lap 223 crash between Graham Rahal and Devlin DeFrancesco allowed the last cars short of the finish to top off. The final restart came on lap 238 and the lead changed six times before Newgarden edged ahead of O’Ward before Grosjean crashed.

The win is Newgarden’s third at Texas and helps restart his season after he finished 17th at St. Petersburg. He will head to IndyCar’s next race at Long Beach as the defending winner.

2023 IndyCar PPG 375 Results

The IndyCar Series will head out west in two weeks to race on the streets of Long Beach for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 16 with broadcast coverage being live on NBC at 3 p.m. ET.

About the author

Tom is an IndyCar writer at Frontstretch, joining in March 2023. He also works full-time for the Department of Veterans Affairs History Office and is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard. A native Hoosier, he's followed IndyCar closely since 1991 and calls Fort Wayne home. Follow Tom on Twitter @TomBlackburn42.

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