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Newgarden Out Punches Hunter-Reay At RA

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 24 2018

Josef Newgarden got his first career victory at Road America in Wisconsin. (File photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

Josef Newgarden led all but two laps of Sunday IndyCar Series race at the Road America road circuit but his ride was anything but relaxing as Ryan Hunter-Reay dogged the defending series champion for almost the entire second half of the race.

Newgarden’s margin of victory in his Team Penske Chevy over Hunter-Reay’s Andretti Autosport Honda was 3.3 seconds, but for lap after dozens of laps, it was just tenths of a second.

“I wanted to win here since last year when I felt like we had a car to win,” Newgarden said. “But this car has been a rocket all weekend. It was not easy, Ryan was very quick and I knew (Scott) Dixon was right behind him so we were working for it the entire race.

“It was a lot of work, I’m honest with you. Ryan was really pushing me.”

The victory was the first for pole-sitter Newgarden at the 4-mile, 14-turn track that snakes through the hills and woods of central Wisconsin. It was his third of the season but it gave him his first podium finish in the last six races.

“I was hoping to make it more interesting,” Hunter-Reay said, “both for the fans here at Road America and on TV. “I thought I had the pace for it early on, especially in the first two stints. I could really close on him when I wanted to…and I thought it was going to be a really good race between us. But then the last two stints, when he put on those used reds and I put on the blacks (tires), he was hooked up. In the dirty air I had a hard time keeping up in the Carousel (high speed corner) and trying to get a run on him.”

Dixon, in the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Honda finished third 5.4 seconds behind Newgarden after his charge toward the front faded late.

Dixon said his shot at victory may have ended on Saturday when he qualified eighth fastest.

“Little disappointed with where we started,” he said. “I think if we would have had a better run in qualifying, the car definitely had the speed.

“If we would have started in one of the top four positions, I think we would have had a real good shot at winning this race today.”

Takuma Sato and Robert Wickens rounded out the top five in Honda-powered cars.

(This story will be updated shortly)

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ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – Results Sunday of the KOHLER Grand Prix Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 4.048-mile Road America, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 55, Running
2. (3) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 55, Running
3. (8) Scott Dixon, Honda, 55, Running
4. (7) Takuma Sato, Honda, 55, Running
5. (5) Robert Wickens, Honda, 55, Running
6. (9) Graham Rahal, Honda, 55, Running
7. (14) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 55, Running
8. (10) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 55, Running
9. (12) Ed Jones, Honda, 55, Running
10. (16) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 55, Running
11. (15) Marco Andretti, Honda, 55, Running
12. (13) Jordan King, Chevrolet, 55, Running
13. (6) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 55, Running
14. (18) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 55, Running
15. (20) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 55, Running
16. (4) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 55, Running
17. (22) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 55, Running
18. (19) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 55, Running
19. (23) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 54, Running
20. (21) Alfonso Celis Jr, Chevrolet, 54, Running
21. (17) Zachary Claman De Melo, Honda, 54, Running
22. (11) Zach Veach, Honda, 54, Running
23. (2) Will Power, Chevrolet, 2, Mechanical                    

Race Statistics:

Winner’s average speed: 132.101 mph
Time of Race: 1:40:16.4165
Margin of victory: 3.3759 seconds
Cautions: 0 for 0 laps
Lead changes: 2 among 2 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Newgarden, Josef 1 – 13
Dixon, Scott 14 – 15
Newgarden, Josef 16 – 55

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings:
Dixon 393, Hunter-Reay 348, Rossi 348, Newgarden 343, Power 328, Rahal 278, Wickens 274, Pagenaud 255, Bourdais 235, Andretti 232.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 24 2018
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