AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Josef Newgarden is becoming a multi-sport star in the Motor City.
The Verizon IndyCar Series driver has driven in nine races at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear over the past five years, with a best finish of fourth last year. In 2016, the three-time series race winner threw out the ceremonial first pitch before a Detroit Tigers baseball game.
Thursday night, Newgarden was back in town as the centerpiece of Grand Prix Night at the Detroit Pistons’ NBA game. The newest member of Team Penske signed autographs and took photos with fans before the game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, then tried to sink a half-court shot during a timeout in the Pistons’ contest with the Charlotte Hornets. (Newgarden is shown at left practicing the shot before the game.)
While he was unsuccessful in making the long-distance shot, the 26-year-old enjoyed the opportunity to promote this year’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix the weekend of June 2-4 at Belle Isle Park. It again features the only doubleheader race weekend on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.
"I had a blast in the Motor City and it was great to be part of Grand Prix Night with the Detroit Pistons as we get ready for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear,” said Newgarden, who also made the rounds to multiple Detroit media outlets during the day. “We had a fun day talking about coming back to Belle Isle the first weekend in June and I'm really excited to be here for the first time racing as a member of Team Penske."
Newgarden, who’ll drive the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet this season, was delighted to be presented a Pistons No. 17 jersey (representing the 2017 season) before the game from retired Pistons player Earl Cureton.
“The Newgarden Pistons jersey was awesome, meeting a lot of fans was great and, while I was hoping to make that half-court shot during the game, I came pretty close. I really thought one of those was going in. But the main thing is we had fun, got a chance to tell people about the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix and the Pistons even beat the Hornets! What more could you ask for?"
The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix takes place on the 2.35-mile, 13-turn temporary street course on Belle Isle. For race weekend and ticket information, visit detroitgp.com.