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New Guy Newgarden Takes A Spin At Indy

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, May 17 2012

Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti got in some drafting practice at Indy on Wednesday. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Rookie Josef Newgarden added a pair of experiences to his Indianapolis 500 notebook Wednesday, when a spin in Turn 4 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway resulted in a visit to the track’s medical center.

“You don’t get many lucky breaks around this place, and I think I just got one,” Newgarden said after topping the speed chart moments before recording the week’s first incident of wall contact.

Making his IMS debut for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, Newgarden topped the speed chart for the third time in five days of practice when he covered the 2.5-mile layout in 40.3977-seconds and 222.785 mph. The 21-year-old Tennessee native’s respect for the racetrack accelerated with 16 minutes remaining in the six-hour session when his car bobbled in Turn 4, did two complete spins and struck a glancing blow on the pit lane retaining wall.

Newgarden was evaluated by Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR medical director, and cleared to drive following a visit to the IU Health Emergency Medical Center.

“The guys have done a great job putting together such a good car, and I don’t want to hurt the thing,” said Newgarden, referring to the No. 67 SFHR Dallara/Honda. “I’ll try to learn what happened and why the thing got around on me. Everyone’s trying to figure out the race car around this place, and obviously I have a little more work to do. We were old on our tire run and trying to run as far as possible to see how the car reacts. I think it’s just difficult to run in the tow, and today I got bit by it a little.”

Team co-owner Sarah Fisher was confident the No. 67 would be repaired in time for the start of Thursday’s practice at noon (EDT). “The car looks good, and there is very little damage,” Fisher said. “We’re really lucky that we have a couple kids (fellow-rookie teammate Bryan Clauson) who can save race cars as well as make them go fast.”

Newgarden was followed on the chart by Andretti Autosport teammates Marco Andretti (222.108 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (221.763 mph) and James Hinchcliffe (221.638 mph), all in Chevrolet-powered Dallara DW12 chassis.

– John Sturbin can be reached at jsturbin@racintoday.com

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, May 17 2012
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