Newgarden wins Kohler Grand Prix at RA

by Steve Ottman
Review Correspondent


JOSEF NEWGARDEN (1) and Ryan Hunter- Reay are the leaders entering turn five in Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix at Road America. – Photo by Mike McGill JOSEF NEWGARDEN (1) and Ryan Hunter- Reay are the leaders entering turn five in Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix at Road America. – Photo by Mike McGill ELKHART LAKE – Defending IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden won his first Kohler Grand Prix at Road America here Sunday afternoon.

Newgarden started from the pole position and led 53 of the 55 laps in the IndyCar Series event – only giving up the lead to pit during a complete green-flag race.

It was the Penske Chevrolet driver’s third win of the season and 10th overall.

“This was an amazing weekend,” said Newgarden who just edged out second place driver Ryan Hunter- Reay by 3.37 seconds. “I had pressure on me from start to finish. I had to be perfect.”

Newgarden said that the beginning of the race was very difficult. Team Penske teammate Will Power had mechanical problems and was forced to leave the track, causing some traffic problems.


THE TOP-THREE finishers in Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix celebrate on the awards podium. Josef Newgarden (middle) took first, Ryan Hunter-Reay (left) took second and Scott Dixon was third. – Photo by Mike McGill THE TOP-THREE finishers in Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix celebrate on the awards podium. Josef Newgarden (middle) took first, Ryan Hunter-Reay (left) took second and Scott Dixon was third. – Photo by Mike McGill With a runner-up finish in last year’s race in his mind, Newgarden just wanted some breathing room.

Hunter-Reay was determined and relentless in his pursuit of Newgarden throughout the race.

Then there was third-place finisher Scott Dixon, the 2017 Kohler Grand Prix winner. Dixon started eighth and worked his way up through the field.

“I felt the pressure of being the pole winner, Newgarden repeated.

“Sometimes it’s easier from fourth or fifth but I really felt good about my Penske Chevrolet,” he said.

This was Team Penske’s fifth win at Road America and 55th overall, including the 2018 Indianapolis 500 victory.


A RACING FAN reacts to a nice pass by competitors in turn five at Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix. – Photo by Mike McGill A RACING FAN reacts to a nice pass by competitors in turn five at Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix. – Photo by Mike McGill Team Honda driver Hunter Reay finished with his fifth consecutive top five in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“I felt we had the right pace to catch him [Newgar- den)]” said Hunter-Reay. “I thought we could get to him early in the race but he ran a good race.”

Hunter-Reay said he wanted to make it interesting for TV and the fans but it never came to happen.

Team Honda driver Dixon put his sixth consecutive top five finish of the season on the board Sunday.

“We didn’t qualify well,” said Dixon. “It was hard to get momentum early and I tried to save fuel.”

It was a great points day for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar points leader as he maintained his 35- point lead with his finish.

Takuma Sato finished fourth and rookie driver Robert Wickens came in fifth.

Newgarden gave the Road America fans something to remember on his cool-down lap – appreciating the fans in turn one that landscaped the corner “Josef Newgarden corner” with plants and little sticks with his picture on them.

“I took my time on my cool- down lap. The place was packed and I kinda wanted to enjoy it,” explained Newgarden. “It was just an amazing three days.”


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