MADISON, Ill — Josef Newgarden is rapidly ascending up the NTT INDYCAR Series record books. On Saturday night under the humid late summer night sky near St. Louis, the Team Penske driver scored his 25th career win which tied him with Gordon Johncock for 16th all-time. To have that many wins in a short span, the question now is, can he eclipse 50?
Newgarden has won all 25 of his races over the last 8 years. You’ve got to think he has this type of competitiveness in him for at least 8 more years ahead.
The Tennessee native is still only 31 years of age. 8 more years puts him just shy of 40. Scott Dixon as an example, turned 32 in the middle of the 2012 season. He’s won 4 championships and 29 races since that season.
If Newgarden gets 29 more wins and follows a similar trajectory to Dixon, that would get him to 54 victories. He’s won at least 4 times in 4 of his 6 years with Penske, so that’s very realistic to think he can eclipse 50.
“Hey, I’m not stopping. Let’s see what happens,” Newgarden said on if he can reach 50 wins. “We need to get more 10 wins a year, that’s where my mind is at (smiling).
“This year, honestly, just this year, I think we had the potential for maybe seven. Then you got two more to go. So we’re getting better for sure. I think if we can figure out how we can rip off a season with 10 or 12 wins, that would be impressive.
“That’s where my mind is at. I don’t know if that’s possible. It’s getting more difficult to do that. People in here may think I’m joking by saying that, but I really am thinking that way.
“It’s more than just the wins, it is the consistency. How often can you be on the podium? That’s become more and more important these days, top fives, podiums, being there every single weekend, not having any hiccups. Blending that with great races where you’re winning is ultimately the package you have to have. If we can just keep accelerating the wins, I think that’s good for all of us.”
Newgarden’s career path is similar to Dixon’s already in general.
By year eight of his open wheel racing career, Dixon had two championships, 17 wins and 31 podiums. For his first eight combined years, Newgarden had two championships, 14 wins and 29 podiums.
Now, in his 11th season in IndyCar, Newgarden is still on track. He’s scored 25 wins, 16 poles, 46 podiums, 69 top fives and 110 top 10’s in his first 179 starts. Dixon, had 25 wins, 56 podiums, 78 top fives, 119 top 10’s and 14 poles through his first 168 starts including two championships too.
As you can see, Newgarden certainly in trending in Dixon’s direction, even more so since he joined Team Penske in 2017.
In five seasons with Ed Carpenter Racing, Newgarden scored three wins, 10 podiums, won just one pole and led 679 laps. In his sixth season now with Penske, Newgarden has 22 wins, 36 podiums, 15 poles and has led 2,697 laps.
“I mean, I forget about my job sometimes,” Newgarden said. “I get so focused on the day-to-day, just the process of I want to be the best in any facet, whether it’s the way I examine data, the way I work with the team, my fitness regimen. I get lost in that perfection. I forget how cool this has been.
“I’ve been doing this for over 11 years now. I never as a kid thought I’d be doing this. I didn’t. I really didn’t. I loved racing carts. I met a lot of friends in motorsports. Now to reflect at times, to see the opportunity I’ve had, it’s been a real privilege and pleasure.
“I get to work with the best, I really do. I believe that. Team Penske is absolutely the pinnacle. We’ve got a lot of people there. I’ve worked with a lot of them different years, different people. They’re all tremendous.
“Yeah, to be here 11 years on still has been a real honor for me.”