Newgarden holds off Rossi to win in Texas

Winner Josef Newgarden
Winner Josef Newgarden

Penske Chevy driver Josef Newgarden won his third race of the 2019 IndyCar season by holding off Andretti Autosport Honda driver Alexander Rossi in a 13-lap shootout at the end in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Rossi tried to go around Newgarden on the outside lap after lap but the car would not stick in the high groove as Newgarden held the low line in the corners and weaved like a snake down the backstraight to block. Newgarden also benefited from fresher tires at the end, having made one extra pit stop under a caution and those fresher tires were the difference at the end.

Graham Rahal was third in his Rahal Honda while rookie Santino Ferrucci drove a great race to finish 4th in his Dale Coyne Honda.

Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top-5.

Starting seventh in the 22-car field, Newgarden didn't lead until Lap 190 of the 248-lap event on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval. A lightning-quick final pit stop on Lap 198, accompanied by lightning-fast laps before and after the stop, put the 28-year-old Tennessean in position to retake the lead on the 202nd lap, and he never surrendered it.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]"This win was down to the team," Newgarden said. "I knew once we pitted and basically got back to where we were before the pit stop on the green-flag sequence, we had such a fuel advantage on everybody. If we could get to the lead, I could crank out super-quick laps and jump everybody. That's what we did."

Rossi, driving the No. 27 GESS/Capstone Honda, ran second behind Newgarden for the final restart on Lap 236. Time and again in the closing laps, Rossi pulled alongside as the duo launched into Turn 1, but each time Newgarden kept the low line and held off the Andretti Autosport driver.

"I think we had a good car, could obviously get a good run on him off of (Turns) 3 and 4," Rossi said. "Lane 2 (the outside line) was really never there for me. We could get halfway around the outside (but) would have to bail out.

"Ultimately, then it became about trying to beat him for the (start/finish) line. But we took out a lot of the tire life going in Lane 2 there, so we just didn't have the rear tires there at the end to stay close to him. I didn't see him up front all day. All of a sudden, he appears in P1, so obviously they're doing a good job. He had a fast car once he got in front."

Graham Rahal finished third, rookie Santino Ferrucci fourth and Ryan Hunter-Reay fifth. It marked the first time Americans swept the top five spots in an Indy car race since 2001 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, when Al Unser Jr., Mark Dismore, Sam Hornish Jr., Eddie Cheever and Robbie Buhl finished first through fifth.

Saturday's race was the 31st for the NTT IndyCar Series at Texas Motor Speedway, which has become home to some of the most exciting finishes in history since the track opened in 1997. This year's event was no exception.

The race ran caution-free for more than the first half, until Zach Veach brushed the SAFER Barrier exiting Turn 2 on Lap 135. The No. 26 Gainbridge Honda did a 360-degree spin but Veach kept it off the wall and came to a stop in Turn 3 with only slight suspension damage and a flat tire.

The second caution occurred when James Hinchcliffe slid wide into the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier on Lap 219. The final yellow waved when the cars of Scott Dixon and rookie Colton Herta touched while battling for third place in Turn 3 on Lap 229, sending both into the SAFER Barrier. All drivers were unhurt from the incidents.

The caution for the Dixon-Herta incident set up the shootout to the finish between Newgarden and Rossi.

Rossi tried in vain to pass Newgarden
Rossi tried in vain to pass Newgarden

"I knew he was going to be difficult to beat," Newgarden said of Rossi. "He had a great car. He drove me clean, he drove me hard.

"I think we had enough power there from Chevy. Our car was handling well enough out front (that) we could get the job done, pretty much stay on the throttle as much as we needed to just to stay ahead of him."

With the win, Newgarden extended his lead in the standings to 25 points over Rossi and 48 over Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud, who finished sixth on Saturday.

Pole sitter Takuma Sato led the first 60 laps of the race until making his first pit stop in the No. 30 ABeam Consulting Honda. But the car slid into the pit stall and made contact with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing front tire changer Chris Welch. Sato was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for hitting a crewman. Welch was evaluated and released from the track's infield care center.

Ferrucci collected a career-best fourth-place finish in the No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda for Dale Coyne Racing. Hunter-Reay led a race-high 90 laps in the No. 28 DHL Honda but was forced to make an extra stop for fuel and wound up fifth.

Tony Kanaan finished 16th in the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet, in the 369th race of the Brazilian's Indy car career. It tied Kanaan with team owner A.J. Foyt for second place on the Indy car all-time list. Kanaan also extended his record streak of consecutive race starts to 309.


Newgarden was happy about this win
Newgarden was happy about this win

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Fitzgerald USA Team Penske Chevrolet, race winner): "It's these guys (on the crew), man, they keep putting me out front (and) I'm just trying to get it done at the end. How about this Fitzgerald car; it looked good. It was good to have the Fitzgeralds here tonight. I knew we had a rocket ship and it was all about getting in the front. We were better in the front than we were in the back. We knew if we could get some (track) position we would be OK. Team Chevy doing a great job for us. A good day to capitalize on some points. These guys put me in position so it's all up to them." (About the final restart): "He (Alexander Rossi) was fast. Honestly, he ran a great race. Both him and (Scott) Dixon ran me really fair at the end. It was hard to get away on the restart; that was my biggest concern was getting a jump getting going again. (Rossi) was good, man, he was just hard to hold off. He was so good in dirty air. I saw him earlier in the race and how good he was behind people. I knew it was going to be tough, really tough, but you saw the speed I had on the frontstretch to hold him off, so thanks to Team Chevy. It was a good day in Texas, man. I'm glad we finally figured this place out. It's been a while." (About getting his first win on a superspeedway): "You know, we've been close here before, not necessarily at the end of the race. I know we've had good cars here before and have not been able to make it happen and one thing happens or another. To just finally figure it out has been great."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "We were coming up on some lapped cars and I tried to use those lapped cars to get a pick on (Alexander) Rossi. We got a good run on the outside, but I just got a little bit high and got into the grey. The car pushed to the outside and then just snapped on me, tagged the right rear into the wall and just went around. My fault. I was trying to make moves at the end of the race and get a good result for the No. 5 Arrow guys, they really deserved it. We've had just garbage luck this year. The car was good, strategy was good, Arrow guys were good in the pits, just my mistake."

MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "Starting from 14th today was not the best starting position. I was trying to be patient out there and just sort of focusing on each car in front of us, one after the other, and moving our way up through the field. I think we did a good job there. The Arrow car was very consistent throughout the whole race and that made me feel confident. The Arrow guys had great pit stops and we had a good strategy. We had some bad luck with the yellow flags at the end, but fortunately, we had some fuel there to push to the end. I'm still super happy and proud of P7 at my first Texas Motor Speedway race. My first goal coming into the weekend was to finish the race. My second goal was to get a top 10, so to be seventh is a great result."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, 2018 Texas race winner): "I just heard them saying the other car (Colton Herta) was looking inside and I started to track down to try and close it off. It was towards the end of the race. As I was doing that and looking down, I could still see his shadow there on the apron and I knew it wasn't going to work out there. Sorry if that was my fault. I was just really pushing and trying to get the most out of it toward the end of the race in the PNC Bank car."

Once again Tim Cindric made the right strategy call to get Newgarden the lead
Once again Tim Cindric made the right strategy call to get Newgarden the lead

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "The goal today was to run all the laps, complete all the laps and gain experience. We tested here before, but this was my first race at Texas Motor Speedway. We had a game plan, and we accomplished what we set out to do tonight in the NTT DATA Honda. This is something we can build off of and improve upon for future ovals."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was kind of a frustrating night. It was totally a track position race and I pushed up high in the beginning of the first stint and that was it. I got stuck in traffic and just never got our lap back. Ninth was actually a reasonable finish after such a bad run there. We'll take the Verizon Chevy back to the shop and be ready for Road America in a couple weeks."

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "We did what we could. We made 27 changes I think overnight, so it was a completely new setup going to the race. So, I just tried to manage what we got. I think we got to a point that we have something to work with. I'm glad we finished. We could have finished probably in the top 12 if it wasn't for that penalty, but when you try, you're trying too hard. All in all, we finished, we're learning. We have to take what we learned here and take it to the next oval."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Fleet Cost & Care Honda): "It was a great run by the Fleet Cost & Care guys. We raced smart tonight and made moves when we had to. The guys did a hell of a job in the pits and made our lives easier. That first stop was phenomenal, we jumped a lot of guys. I'm proud of this organization. We've kept our heads down, and finally, I think we've been rewarded a little bit. Honda was great tonight and the fuel mileage was great. On that first stint, even with the parade and pace, I think we went 63 laps or something, which was awesome, so hats off to Honda for giving us that. Our guys have worked awfully hard and I'm extremely proud of them."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): "We finished eighth and got some good championship points, but obviously, we were hoping for a lot better. The No. 18 SealMaster Honda was good. I think we had a top-five car. The guys did a good job with the pit stops. We had a strategy that could have worked, but the yellows worked against us. Honestly, I am not really sure what happened. We'll just have to sit down and take a look at the race and get it figured out."

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): "I can't thank my crew enough. We had a stellar crew in the pits, they did fantastic stops and we just made our way to the front while avoiding a couple of incidents in front of us. I can't thank my spotter Pancho (Carter) enough to get me to push my limits in the car, coaching me throughout the race. To bring home a top five with our Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda, my first one in the NTT IndyCar Series, feels pretty good. For someone who had no experience on ovals, I'm starting to say I love them. I'm happy with a fourth place. After Indy, knowing what kind of car we had, how hard our crew has been working and how much power we have from Honda as well, I knew we could do something special here, regardless of what happened in qualifying, and we did."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "That was a very difficult race, right from the start. I struggled in traffic, but we weren't great on our own either. I couldn't defend any positions as I couldn't drive the car hard at all, then we were just trying not to impede anyone else's race. I am disappointed, as I really enjoy racing at Texas Motor Speedway, but we just didn't have it tonight. I wish the next oval was not so far off, but I am looking forward to getting back in the car in Iowa and coming back much stronger there."

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "Obviously, it was a frustrating race; a very difficult race. We just seemed to struggle over the course of a stint, keeping the tires underneath us. The balance just went away too quick, unfortunately. It was very tough to keep position and pass cars. We'll look at everything to see where we can get better for the next oval; until then, I'm looking forward to Road America in a couple of weeks."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Fiasp Carlin Chevrolet): "Unfortunately, we had a mechanical issue out there, but no damage to the car. It just stepped out right at the exit of Turn 4. The car loaded up and gave me a little bit of strange feedback as I turned into Turn 3 and then I honestly thought we had a right rear puncture, but it looks like it was more of a bad wheel bearing and not quite as easy of a fix as we were hoping for. It's a shame that our day ended early because the No. 23 Fiasp Carlin Chevrolet was really good all weekend when we were in clean air. The No. 7 (Marcus Ericsson) car and I were just going forward out there. It felt like we were driving away from the leader who had caught up to the back. I feel bad for these Carlin guys. They put in so much effort and to have something like that pop up out of nowhere totally unexpected just really hurts."

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): "The Gainbridge car was great today, I just got caught up in lapped cars that weren't giving way. I was running seventh and was trying to get around Spencer (Pigot) and another lapped car – they just made it too hard. I came off the bottom of Turn 2 with Spencer and he cut down even further and basically took all the air off my wing. We hit the wall and went for a ride. The crew did a great job to get me back out, but in the end, we just didn't have anything else to gain. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is, and we'll look ahead to the next one."

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 GESS / Capstone Honda): "I think we had a good car, could obviously get a good run on him (Josef Newgarden) off of Turns 3 and 4. Lane 2 was really never there for me. We could get halfway around the outside, then would have to bail out. Could have maybe taken a bit more of risk. It was pretty low percentage. I didn't think a lot of guys were making it happen. Ultimately, then it became about trying to beat him for the line, but we took out a lot of the tire life going in Lane 2 there, so we just didn't have the rear tires there at the end to stay close to him. That sucks. I mean, I didn't see him up front all day. All of a sudden, he appears in P1. Obviously, they're doing a good job. He had a fast car once he got in front. Ultimately I think Scott (Dixon), myself and Colton (Herta) in terms of fuel mileage and where we were going, were looking pretty good there till the end."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "I thought for sure tonight was the night we were going to pull the DHL car into victory lane and get some cowboy hats. It wasn't meant to be, unfortunately. I think leading that much maybe put us in a position where we were pitting a lap or two early and then that kind of snowballed on itself. It became a fuel mileage race with the way the yellows fell and nothing went our way then. We definitely showed we were here and showed we are fast and capable of winning – it's unfortunate that we couldn't turn this into a 'W' because I think this was a night to take advantage of, no doubt. These DHL guys did a great job, the car was awesome. But then it got to a point where I was in the most extreme fuel map, just letting guys go. It was a disaster after that. Big thanks to the guys, we'll move on to Road America, and hopefully, get a win there."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 ABeam Consulting Honda): "I'm deeply sorry. The guys built a great car today and then I blew it. I overshot the pit, and fortunately, no one was seriously injured."

CONOR DALY (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): "I think we can be super happy with that result for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. We had a bit of a slow start. I just really struggled at the beginning of the first stint, but once we changed to the second set of tires, we just kept going faster and faster and were able to get into the lead group even though we were a lap down. We were keeping up with those guys really well and we just had solid pace all night. Every restart we seemed to pass people, which is a lot of fun, and we just kept working on it little by little. I'm pretty happy with moving from 19th to 11th and I think it's something we can all be proud of coming out of this weekend."

COLTON HERTA (No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda): "(Scott Dixon) apologized and that's what it seemed like from my point of view. I (haven't) seen a replay yet or anything, but he just turned down on me from my point of view. I was there and he put me on the apron. I was more than enough ahead. He didn't need to do it. That outside lane was there and he could have run the outside. He must not have known (I was there). I'm really happy with how the car was. The GESS Capstone car (and) all the boys did an amazing job. Big congrats to INDYCAR for bringing the updates to the front wing and the new tires because it made the racing a hell of a lot better. We'll keep trucking. This is a DNF (did not finish) that I'll take because I was really happy with my performance."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda): "We couldn't pass on track tonight, but the No. 98 team did everything else right. Our strategy was there, the car balance was good – I just wish we had started further forward. This is a track position race; the car was good enough to compete, but we just couldn't get the position."


Pos No Name Laps Diff Gap Led ST Engine Points Team
1 2 Josef Newgarden 248 0.0000 0.0000 54 7 Chevy 367 Team Penske
2 27 Alexander Rossi 248 0.8164 0.8164 3 11 Honda 342 Andretti Autosport
3 15 Graham Rahal 248 1.4928 0.6764 3 9 Honda 211 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
4 19 Santino Ferrucci 248 1.7266 0.2338 0 18 Honda 193 Dale Coyne Racing
5 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 248 2.2019 0.4753 90 4 Honda 252 Andretti Autosport
6 22 Simon Pagenaud 248 2.8789 0.6770 0 5 Chevy 319 Team Penske
7 7 Marcus Ericsson 248 3.9271 1.0482 2 14 Honda 166 Arrow Schmidt Peterson
8 18 Sebastien Bourdais 248 4.3306 0.4035 3 3 Honda 190 Dale Coyne w/Vasser-Sullivan
9 12 Will Power 247 1 LAPS 1 LAPS 0 15 Chevy 254 Team Penske
10 98 Marco Andretti 247 1 LAPS 0.4538 0 21 Honda 167 Andretti Herta w/ Marco & Curb
11 59 Conor Daly 247 1 LAPS 0.6180 0 19 Chevy 59 Carlin
12 10 Felix Rosenqvist 246 2 LAPS 1 LAPS 0 16 Honda 181 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
13 20 Ed Carpenter 246 2 LAPS 0.2342 0 13 Chevy 82 Ed Carpenter Racing
14 21 Spencer Pigot 246 2 LAPS 1.6340 0 6 Chevy 178 Ed Carpenter Racing
15 30 Takuma Sato 245 3 LAPS 22.4655 60 1 Honda 272 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
16 14 Tony Kanaan 245 3 LAPS 2.4951 0 22 Chevy 147 AJ Foyt Enterprises
17 9 Scott Dixon 228 0.1318 0.1318 33 2 Honda 278 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
18 88 Colton Herta 228 0.3545 0.2227 0 10 Honda 158 Harding Steinbrenner Racing
19 5 James Hinchcliffe 218 3.7069 0.0339 0 8 Honda 190 Arrow Schmidt Peterson
20 26 Zach Veach 172 39 LAPS 35 LAPS 0 12 Honda 141 Andretti Autosport
21 23 Charlie Kimball 86 1 LAPS 2.4642 0 17 Chevy 32 Carlin
22 4 Matheus Leist 73 10 LAPS 7 LAPS 0 20 Chevy 135 AJ Foyt Enterprises

Race Statistics

Winner's average speed: 186.084 mph

Time of Race: 1:55:08.8666

Margin of victory: 0.8164 of a second

Cautions: 3 for 22 laps

Lead changes: 13 among 8 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Sato, Takuma 1 – 60

Rahal, Graham 61 – 63

Hunter-Reay, Ryan 64 – 113

Dixon, Scott 114 – 123

Hunter-Reay, Ryan 124 – 163

Dixon, Scott 164 – 174

Rossi, Alexander 175 – 176

Dixon, Scott 177 – 185

Rossi, Alexander 186

Dixon, Scott 187 – 189

Newgarden, Josef 190 – 197

Ericsson, Marcus 198 – 199

Bourdais, Sebastien 200 – 202

Newgarden, Josef 203 – 248

NTT IndyCar Series point standings: Newgarden 367, Rossi 342, Pagenaud 319, Dixon 278, Sato 272, Power 254, Hunter-Reay 252, Rahal 211, Ferrucci 193, Bourdais 190.

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