Josef Newgarden: 10 Quick Questions

By: Discount Tire

Josef Newgarden at race

Champion of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series and a renowned name in motorsports, Josef Newgarden is proudly sponsored by Discount Tire in his IndyCar journey with Team Penske.

Hometown: Nashville, TN
Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite vacation destination: Hawaii
Favorite sports team: Nashville Predators
Favorite racing movie: Days Of Thunder
Guilty pleasure: Ice Cream

 

What’s your current daily driver?

I drive a 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe on a daily basis. Chevy is making some incredible vehicles right now and the Tahoe really fits in to what we need from a day-to-day perspective. Plenty of room, nice and comfortable, and solid power if you need it!

What are some of your favorite vehicles (personally and professionally) that you’ve driven?

Well obviously my INDYCAR ranks at the top! I’ve had a lot of fun in various race cars throughout my career. Formula Ford was a great time in my life, such pure racing and really fun cars.

Off the track I absolutely love my Camaro ZL1 1LE.  I got the chance to participate in a track day with one in 2017 and immediately went home and bought one.  It’s as close as you’re going to get to a race car on the street.  

What’s your pre-race routine like?

I don’t really have a pre-race routine. I love a good nap so I usually try to get one in before the race. It’s funny, sometimes I’ll wake up feeling a little groggy but those are often the days I perform at my best.

When you’re not getting ready for the next race how do you occupy your free time during the season?

Well we don’t get a ton of free time between simulator sessions, testing, sponsor commitments and things like that… but when I do have some down time I like to just be at home. It’s nice to get some time to relax. I’m a big fan of cinema, so I’ll definitely spend some time watching movies.

How do you unwind between races? In the offseason?

In-season, it’s tough. We have a lot going on. Like I said, movies help, but I also really like to stay fit so I’m in the gym a lot. It may not be what everyone else sees as “relaxing,” but I really enjoy pushing myself from a physical stand point so it is a bit therapeutic to me.

Once the season is over we always try to get a nice vacation in where we can unplug and just go quiet for a while.  We don’t have a ton of time “off” so we try to make the most of it.  I’ve got my wedding coming up this fall so I’ll likely have even less time!

What are your predictions for INDYCAR over the next 5/10/20 years?

INDYCAR is really on the right path right now.  You can really feel the momentum starting to build, so much so that it’s caught the eyes of drivers and teams from all over motorsport, including F1.  That’s a pretty big compliment to the job that Jay Frye and his team have done so far. 

There’s more big changes coming to the series in the near future and I’m really excited about those.  Hybrid technology will be a great addition and I’m obviously pumped for 900+ HP. 

Long term predictions?  Hard to say, racing is always evolving… who knows… I think if it keeps on the path it’s on currently, it’ll continue to grow exponentially.  The racing product is incredible, which is the hardest part to nail down.  If we can keep that as pure as it’s been, the rest will fall into place.

What has been the most exciting moment of your career?

Obviously winning a championship in my first season with Team Penske ranks near or at the top, but there’s been a lot of really great moments.  Winning the Formula Ford Festival in Europe… winning my first INDYCAR race at Barber… my first test in an INDYCAR… karting championships.  I’ve been really lucky to have received a lot of great opportunities and it’s really difficult to say there’s just one that was the most exciting.  They were all so special.

Who is your hero?

Dan Wheldon was a big influence on me growing up.  He spent a lot of time at the karting track I grew up racing at.  His talent, speed, and personability were incredible.  He had a way of making everyone feel special.  Racing against him when I was young isn’t something I’ll ever forget.

What’s something most people don’t know about INDYCAR that they should?

The thing I really wish more people knew about INDYCAR is just how hard we’re working in the car.  The casual observer looks at racing and just goes… “Oh it’s just driving, I do that every day.”  It’s obviously significantly more difficult.  The physicality of driving INDYCAR’s competitively is astronomical.  There’s no power steering.  It’s hot.  The g-forces really take a toll on your body.  Your heart rate is through the roof for 2-3 hours.  All the while, you’re having to stay razor sharp to process all the information being thrown at you.  

I once heard someone compare driving an INDYCAR to wrestling a chainsaw-wielding Bear while you’re trying to simultaneously complete a complex physics equation… I think that’s not far off what it feels like sometimes!

What has been your favorite interaction with Discount Tire as a partner?

Discount Tire has been such an amazing partner of Team Penske’s for several years now.  It’s an honor to work with great brands like this, especially when you get to contribute towards their success.  From NASCAR to INDYCAR Discount Tire has been a part of a lot of Team Penske wins.  I look forward to adding a few more to their total in the future!

Read more about Josef and his career with Discount Tire here!