Josef Newgarden views the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season as a launching pad. Two victories, two other podium finishes and his first pole start are the fuel, and part of the impetus for 2016 is the personnel at CFH Racing.
The team announced Oct. 1 that Newgarden would return to the No. 67 CFH Racing Chevrolet for the 2016 season. Newgarden has 67 Verizon IndyCar Series starts -- all with the team he joined following his 2011 Indy Lights championship season.
“I have a lot of respect for every individual within this group. I get to see first-hand at the level that this team operates at and there is a tremendous amount of dedicated and smart people,” Newgarden said. “They’ve given me all of the tools I could ask for to drive a race car and to be successful. That gives me confidence to come back and try to deliver my best and help the team be the best at what it does.
“I think we have a lot of capabilities and we proved some of that this year and we just want to go out and prove more. That’s what our goal is going to be in ’16.”
The 24-year-old native of Hendersonville, Tenn., earned his maiden Verizon IndyCar Series victory in April with a dominating performance at Barber Motorsports Park. Seven weeks later, he led teammate Luca Filippi across the finish line on the streets of Toronto.
In the final five races, Newgarden added runner-up finishes at Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway, plus a fifth place at The Milwaukee Mile after registering his first pole start. He led laps in five of the final seven races on his way to leading a field-high 345 laps for the season.
“It was great to finalize a deal with Josef to keep him with CFH Racing for 2016. Just as he was a priority to sign before this past season, he was a priority for us again this year,” team co-owner/driver Ed Carpenter said. “We are focused on becoming a force in the Verizon IndyCar Series and we see Josef being a large part of that. It is our intention to have him in a CFH car for a long time.”
Carpenter drives the companion No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet on ovals, while Filippi this past season was in the seat for road/street course races. CFH Racing completed its first season after the merger of Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.
“I'm certainly encouraged to see the energy, enthusiasm and dedication that Ed and our partners have given to the 67 car program to make this happen,” team co-owner and former Indy car driver Sarah Fisher said. “I am looking forward to a second year of racing at a championship level.”
Heading into the final race, Newgarden was one of six drivers eligible for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. He earned a front-row start at Sonoma Raceway, but finished a season-low 21st and wound up seventh in the standings. That still was a team and personal best.
“CFH is excited for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Season to begin and to continue our on-track success with Josef in the seat. Josef will be on the podium multiple times next year and I know he will challenge for the series championship,” team co-owner Wink Hartman said.
2015 was great. 2016 will be even better. Let's go! @josefnewgarden #67 @indycar pic.twitter.com/beZdyCpr7A