There’s a lot to take in at your first Indy 500,
but Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing rookie
Josef Newgarden proved a quick study.
rom the cold, harsh results alone,
rookie Josef Newgarden and Sarah Fisher
Hartman Racing had to be disappointed
with this year’s Indianapolis 500. A
month that featured so much promise
ended just past the 400-mile mark with
a 25th-place finish, but there were many
positives to be taken away, too.
You could say team and driver’s first
“500” together – Newgarden’s first
overall – mirrored their season thus far.
In assembling the complete package, the
team now seeks to sustain its flashes of
brilliance through an entire weekend –
and that may not be too far away, based
on its consistency and competitiveness in
the run-up to race day at the Brickyard.
The centerpiece of the renamed team,
thanks to investment from Fisher’s new
partner Wink Hartman, Newgarden has
more than punched above his weight so
far. His ballsy, outside passing attempt on
Dario Franchitti from a front row starting
position into Turn 1 at Long Beach served
notice he was here, and meant business.
Fast forward to the Month of May,
where the newness of the Dallara DW12
package and the varying fortunes of the
two primary engine manufacturers,
Honda and Chevrolet, left a wide open
Indy 500. Why not seize the opportunity?
The team’s swagger entering the
month came from its rookie driver, who
delicately walked the tightrope between
confident and brash. Dollar General came
back, too, after leaving at the end of
2011 – not long, ironically, after Ed
Carpenter had delivered the first win for
both parties at Kentucky Speedway.
Newgarden led three of the first five days
of official practice, running quickly both in
single-car runs and tows, and was quick to
pour praise on his team for the efforts.
“They make our job really easy, and I
think that’s what you guys are seeing,”
the rookie said of his crew after leading
the opening day of practice, May 12.
Newgarden further delivered in
Pole Day qualifying. He went out to
qualify only a handful of cars after his
teammate – fellow rookie and USAC