Newgarden returns to race in North America Today, Josef Newgarden signed to race for the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights Championship with series powerhouse team Sam Schmidt Motorsports. A year ago at this time, Josef Newgarden was a 19-year-old living alone in a foreign country and getting ready for his first season of elite international competition in the GP3 Series - his mind firmly fixed on his ultimate goal of one day competing, and winning, in the FIA Formula One World Championship. That goal still remains as strong as ever, but Newgarden now sets out to prove that the road to F1 can go through Indianapolis.
"I am thrilled to be joining Sam Schmidt Motorsports at this important stage of my career," said Josef. "I felt that Sam's organization would give me the best chance to be competitive this season; hopefully scoring race wins and competing for the championship. Sam has made me feel very welcome in his team and I really appreciate that. Now, I just can't wait for St. Pete to get on the race track." Newgarden continued.
"I have been watching Josef's career closely for the last four seasons, and I thought we had lost another great American prospect to the European system," said Schmidt. "However, I believe the level of competition in those series will only strengthen his ability to perform in the U.S. going forward. We are very much looking forward to the opportunity of developing and promoting this young star into the INDYCAR series."
Newgarden's Indy Lights program will receive associate sponsorship from Robo-Pong®, an interactive ping-pong robot that Josef uses as part of his intensive daily conditioning program. Robo-Pong® is manufactured by Newgy Industries and sold around the world.
The FIA Foundation's MAKE ROADS SAFE campaign for global road safety will also be featured on Newgarden's car. Josef has been a staunch supporter of MAKE ROADS SAFE, promoting its cause and efforts over the last two years of racing in Europe. Newgarden lost his Formula Ford team owner, Joe Tandy, to a road accident in the UK less than six months after arriving on the European racing scene in 2008 and adopted the campaign as one of his personal causes.
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