Pole sitter Josef Newgarden roars to Road America victory

June 24, 2018 - 3:38 pm

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Pole sitter Josef Newgarden dominated the IndyCar race at Road America on Sunday, leading 53 of 55 laps for his third victory of the season.

The defending series champion crossed the finish line with a comfortable 3.38-second cushion over second-place finisher Ryan Hunter-Reay. Points leader Scott Dixon finished third, part of the three-car pack that separated from the field with about 13 laps to go in the road race.

The victory completed an impressive weekend for the Team Penske driver at the 14-turn, 222-mile-long track, where Newgarden's No. 1 Chevy registered the top speed in in practice.

He returned to the podium following a five-race stretch finishing no higher than eighth, dropping him from first to fifth in the driver standings.

What might be considered a slump for Newgarden came to an emphatic end. He picked up his 10th career victory and first at the rural Wisconsin road course.

Hunter-Reay just couldn't catch up after Newgarden's car got a fresh set of tires on his last pit stop.

A caution-free race also worked to Newgarden's advantage, with the field unable to reset from a restart. It was the ninth start-to-finish, green-flag race at Road America.

It still didn't make for a stress-free day for Newgarden, with Hunter-Reay's No. 28 Honda trying to chase the Penske car down all afternoon.

Hunter-Reay's run of consistency continued at Road America, with his fifth straight top-five finish. Dixon, another model of consistency, also had a good day after finishing on the podium following an eighth-place start. It was Dixon's sixth-straight top-five finish.

Track president George Bruggenthies announced before the race that the IndyCar series would return to the track for three more years.

Road America has been a popular stop with drivers and fans since the top open-wheel racing series returned to Elkhart Lake in 2016.

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