Newgarden triumphs in rain-hit Alabama drama

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Josef Newgarden won a dramatic finish to the Grand Prix of Alabama after rain fell in the final 15 minutes of the race.

The Penske driver had opted for a two-stop strategy for the second part of the race which began yesterday. Several of his rivals opted to pit just once in the 75-minute time-limited race.

Sebastien Bourdais led the one-stoppers and stayed out as long as he could on slicks as the rain fell. It took several laps for Newgarden’s wet-shod car to begin beating Bourdais’ lap times, after which the Coyne driver succumbed to the inevitable and followed the rest of the field to take rain tyres. “If it had stayed dry, we’d have won the race,” lamented team owner Dale Coyne afterwards.

Newgarden drove a cautious pace over the final laps, often up to four seconds slower than Ryan Hunter-Reay, but still had 10 seconds in hand as he began the final tour. Hunter-Reay collected second ahead of the two Schmidt-Peterson drivers, James Hinchcliffe leading Robert Wickens.

Bourdais came under attack from fellow one-stopped Scott Dixon on the final lap. He resisted the Ganassi driver’s attack for fifth, Dixon having lost time earlier in the race when he had to make his pit stop with a faulty speed limiter.

RLL duo Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato took seventh and eighth. Simon Pagenaud struggled to make progress after starting the resumed race well down the running order and came in ninth ahead of Marco Andretti.

However it was another weekend to forget for Will Power. He returned to the race following his crash in the first part yesterday but after starting 16 laps down could only manage 21st place.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 6 comments on “Newgarden triumphs in rain-hit Alabama drama”

    1. Bourdias must be reminded of the 2008 Belgian GP. He stayed out on dry tyres then. He was 4th exiting the bus stop chicane but 8th as he passed the start-finish line. Hard to find a more heartbreaking moment

    2. Had to watch BT Sport on YouTube because of the postponement, so was the first time to hear your voice Keith!

      Barber is always a great spectacle andva this was no exception. Say what you want about the IndyCar series, but the talent of the field has steadily increased over the past 10 years, and with this year’s exceptional rookie class, its probably as good as ever. To have this race finish with no cautions today and really no major mistakes validates this point.

      Newgarden should be on an F1 team’s radar I think at some point, if not already.

      1. I think Liberty would welcome an American driver in the Haas.

      2. Really hoping Newgarden stays in IndyCar, and Penske could match or beat any offer made by an F1 team. It all comes down to whether Newgarden wants to race for championships, or drive around mid pack or lower in F1. Unless the red or silver teams made an offer, then who knows?

        There are several other drivers that would do well in F1 with the right car. It’s a very deep field.

    3. Please can we have the championship standings at the end of these reports. And in the Weekend Racing Wrap (maybe just the Top Tens for those)

      1. @olliej As the IndyCar points system is so complicated and all the relevant verified information isn’t available immediately (e.g. laps led) it would delay things a lot. This is also why we can’t do it on the television broadcasts.

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