Josef Newgarden was left to rue a mistake in qualifying as title rivals Alexander Rossi and Simon Pagenaud closed the gap to the NTT IndyCar series points leader in Toronto.
“I think I sealed our fate on the No. 2 car in qualifying”, admitted Newgarden after finishing fourth, behind winner Pagenaud and third-placed Rossi.
“Starting fifth was tough. When a race goes green like that, where you are is where you are going to finish.”
Newgarden hits the wall as title rivals make gains
Contact with the wall in qualifying kept Newgarden out of contention for pole and saw him line up behind both Pagenaud and Rossi. Despite making up a spot during Sunday’s gruelling 85-lap race, Newgarden’s championship lead over both drivers shrank.
The 2017 IndyCar champion is now 39 points ahead of teammate Pagenaud and just 4 above compatriot Rossi.
“I went for it in the Firestone Fast Six. I knew it was going to take a big lap and I just went for it”, said Newgarden. “I was really aggressive in Turn 11 and got into the wall and bent the toe link.”
Newgarden: “We just didn’t have enough today”
Turn 11 was Newgarden’s downfall once again on race day. A brush with the turn 11 wall in the closing laps of the race put paid to his hopes of challenging Andretti Autosport’s Rossi for third: “I had a flat hit against the wall in Turn 11 there with a handful to go. I was smelling blood on Rossi a little bit and trying to get another position.”
“Getting on the podium was our goal”, conceded Newgarden after recording his sixth top 5 finish of the year in Canada. “But we just didn’t have enough today to overhaul Rossi and Dixon.”