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Newgarden notches 1st IndyCar win at Alabama: by Keith Jones

Podium

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (April 27, 2015) – Josef Newgarden outclassed the field while Graham Rahal put on a show for an American 1-2 at Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. It was by far the best Verizon IndyCar Series race of the year with heated battles throughout the race.

Starting fifth in the No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet, Newgarden charged up to second by the end of Lap 1 and passed polesitter Helio Castroneves in short order, pulling away from the field. The 24-year-old Tennessean earned his first IndyCar victory in his 55th start.

Josef Newgarden leads Helio Castroneves and the field into Turn 5. – IndyCar photo by Chris Owens

Josef Newgarden leads Helio Castroneves and the field into Turn 5. – IndyCar photo by Chris Owens

“This is the way I wanted to do it. I didn’t want to win on some crazy incident, or on luck,” Newgarden said. “This team deserves it. They gave me an incredible car and let me get out there and rip with the thing and pass people on pure merit. And that’s due to CFH Racing – they were just incredible today. We’re going up against the giants, but I think this team can be a giant one day.”

Newgarden was 20 seconds ahead of Rahal’s No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda when Rahal charged from fifth place over the waning laps on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park road course.

Graham Rahal on course during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. – IndyCar photo by Chris Owens

Graham Rahal on course during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. – IndyCar photo by Chris Owens

Muscling his way past Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves, Rahal overtook Long Beach race winner Scott Dixon on the final lap to finish 2.2061 seconds behind Newgarden.

“The Honda did a great job for me today,” Rahal said. “I passed a lot of guys and I hope everyone enjoyed the race because we were pushing to the last seconds. A few more laps and I think we would have had him.”

Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Power, who won at Barber in 2011 and 2012, overcame a penalty for hitting Takuma Sato to place fourth in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Hunter-Reay, who won the past two races at Barber, finished fifth in the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda.

Helio Castroneves leads the field down the front straight to start the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. – IndyCar photo by Chris Jones

Helio Castroneves leads the field down the front straight to start the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. – IndyCar photo by Chris Jones

Castroneves was running fourth in the final laps but had to pit for fuel with one lap remaining. The unplanned stop dropped the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner to 15th place, one position behind Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who maintained the series championship lead by three points over Castroneves.

Next up for the Verizon IndyCar Series is a test day for the new aerokit speedway bodywork on May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, followed by the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 and the 99th Indianapolis 500 on May 24.

Photo Credit:

Josef Newgarden takes the checkered flag to win the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. – IndyCar photo by Chris Owens

The podium of Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, and Scott Dixon hoist their trophies following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. – IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski

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