Team Penske title protagonists Will Power and Josef Newgarden are not about to give way to each other in the final races of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar season. Despite sitting 68-points and 78-points respectively behind championship leader Scott Dixon, both remain focused on the ultimate goal.
“There’s a lot of competition between myself, Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi and my teammate Josef Newgarden, so I know getting more championship points and wins won’t be easy”, remarked Power following his Bommarito 500 win last weekend.
“With my team getting just stronger and stronger every week, I know we’re really going to be able to run hard and give it all we’ve got.”
Power heads to Portland on a ‘hot streak’
2014 IndyCar champion Power appears the more likely of the two Penske drivers to challenge Dixon and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi for the title. The Aussie is in the midst of a hot streak of top-3 finishes stretching back to Mid-Ohio.
Reigning champion Newgarden, however, is not ready to play wingman for his teammate.
“Gateway was a really tough race. We really gave it our all but came up short”, said Newgarden after finishing 7th in last Sunday’s race. “From here on out, it’s important that we get maximum points, and hopefully wins.”
Newgarden sits just 10 points behind Power in the championship but the gap to Dixon and Rossi is large. He does however remain determined to fight to the wire for a second IndyCar championship. Double-points at Sonoma ensures Newgarden is not out of contention just yet.
Newgarden: we will continue to battle for the championship
Newgarden said: “We have a great group of guys, and with them behind me, I know we can definitely continue to battle for the championship. The No. 1 Verizon Chevy team started working on turning around our car for Portland on Sunday, so they barely took a minute off, making sure we have a strong car this weekend.”
IndyCar returns to Portland this weekend for the first time since 2007, meaning both Newgarden and title rival Rossi will be rookies at the 1.96mile Oregon road course. Despite that disadvantage and the implications for the championship run-in, Newgarden is still looking forward to the event.
“I’m excited to go to Portland since I’ve never raced there before. It seems like a really cool town and a great track. There’s so much excitement around IndyCar’s return there and I’m happy to be part of that.”
The Grand Prix of Portland race weekend starts with open testing on Thursday, August 30 followed by practice from 1045am (local) Friday, August 31.
Qualification for Sunday’s race runs from 3.15pm (local) on Saturday, September 1. The 105-lap Grand Prix of Portland takes the green flag at 12.00pm (local) on Sunday, September 2 with live coverage on NBSCN.