Newgarden wins 2019 IndyCar season opener

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher 

Josef Newgarden won the first race of the 2019 IndyCar season. He won the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the Streets of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida.

This is his first win at this track. In addition, he broke Sébastien Bourdais streak of winning, as he had won back-to-back season-openers.

IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden after winning the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Josef Newgarden after winning the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by Chris Owens/IndyCar)

In addition, this is his 11th career win. This was Newgarden’s first win since the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday, July 15th, 2018 at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Newgarden led 60 of the 110 laps.

“We were literally talking about it right before the race, Tim (Cendric, team strategist) and me were – trying to decide whether to go new or used reds – and we made the call at the last minute at the last minute to go used,” Newgarden said on NBCSN after the race. … “It just worked out perfectly.”

Scott Dixon finished second. Will Power was the third-place finisher. 

Team Penske had two of the three podium spots. Dixon was the non-Penske driver on the podium, as he drives for Chip Ganassi.

Power led 17 laps. Rookie Félix Rosenqvist driving the NTT Data entry for Chip Ganassi Racing led 31 laps.

NAPA Auto Parts entrant Alexander Rossi also led two laps.

Six drivers did not finish this race. Two had engine problems, two were involved in crashes, while one had a gearbox problem and the other driver suffered from a water pressure issue.

Bourdais finished in 24th with an engine problem after going out on Lap 11. Ryan Hunter-Reay also suffered an engine problem and left the race on lap 19.

Both Matheus Leist and Ed Jones left the race on Lap 25. They were involved in a crash.

Marcus Ericsson left on lap 54 with a water pressure problem. Takuma Sato suffered a gearbox problem on Lap 75.

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