Rahal and Pagenaud accuse Newgarden of dirty driving
Newgarden does donuts while competitors say he's a dirty driver
Josef Newgarden got a great jump on the final restart of Saturday’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. Those behind him felt like it was too great of a jump.
Restarting second behind him, Alexander Rossi was able to catch back up to Newgarden with just under 10 laps remaining but was never able to complete the decisive pass. Perhaps had Rossi been able to get beside Newgarden before they settled, he could have completed the pass.
"Just the dirty air has a really big impact on the car," Rossi said. "It's really hard to get a good run on a car. It's not hard to pass cars that are struggling, cars that are off sequence with different tire life, whatever."
Meanwhile, Simon Pagenaud and Graham Rahal, who restarted third and fourth, felt Newgarden brake-checked the field before surging onto the front stretch.
The accordion effect was so strong that Rahal actually ran into the back of Pagenaud out of turn four.
"I got hit in the back on the restart so hard that I thought I had a puncture, so I slowed down," he said. The contact forced him to fall out of the top five.
Rahal confirmed the contact and questioned Newgarden’s restart as well.
"The brake-checking from the leader was obscene," Rahal said. "We were well past the start zone, yet the brake checking persisted. We'd go, then bam, everybody is on the brakes.
"No doubt, I did touch him. Luckily it was nose straight to the right rear, which didn't cut his tire or anything, I don't think. There's nothing you can do. I mean, that needs to be addressed, in my opinion, by the stewards. We've had issues with this before. It was clear. Accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake. It's ridiculous. It's dangerous on these things."
For his part, Newgarden said he was the leader and had the right to go largely how he saw fit.
"It is the leader's discretion to go when he wants," Newgarden said. "I thought I was in a fine enough position to start where I did. I don't know what to tell him. I went when I needed to go. It's your discretion. That's the rule.
"I haven't seen it. I don't know what happened to those guys in the back. I went when I wanted to go. I think I went out of four, which you're supposed to go out of the last corner so ..." Matt Weaver/AutoWeek
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