Josef Newgarden led all 100 laps en route to a dominating victory in Sunday’s New Hampshire 100 Firestone Indy Lights race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
Newgarden started on the pole in his No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong Dallara for Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) and never looked back as he finished a full lap ahead of runner-up Jorge Goncalvez. The last time a driver lapped the field en route for victory was in March 2004 when former SSM driver Thiago Medeiros won by a lap at Phoenix International Raceway.
The victory was Newgarden’s fifth win of 2011 and the fifth of his career.
Newgarden’s SSM teammate, Esteban Guerrieri, was running second to Newgarden for most of the event, but spun exiting turn two on lap 69. He was able to restart his No. 7 Lucas Oil Dallara and rallied to finish fifth to score his seventh top-five finish of 2011.
Bryan Clauson, driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road To Indy/CURB Records Dallara for SSM, started second but spun exiting turn two on the first lap and went one lap down while attempting to get his car restarted. Despite the early setback, Clauson managed to rally to a respectable seventh-place finish, two laps back of Newgarden.
The fourth member of SSM, Victor Carbone, driver of the No. 3 Nevoni Dallara for SSM, finished 10th.
With round 11 of 14 complete, Newgarden continues to lead the SSM team in the championship point standings. His has 446 points, 65 markers ahead of second-place Guerrieri, who has 381 points. Carbone is ninth in the standings with 245 points, 201 markers back of Newgarden. Clauson, who is competing in only the oval events on the schedule, is 13th with 123 points, 323 markers back of the top spot.
The next Firestone Indy Lights Series race is the Aug. 4 Baltimore Grand Prix. The race starts at noon EDT and will be broadcast on VERSUS.
Josef Newgarden (Finished 1st), Driver of the No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara:
“What a day. This weekend turned out to be more than we thought it could be. I’m very, very happy for the whole team. It’s unfortunate with what happened with Esteban (Guerrieri). It’s tough to see that with a teammate. It’s not easy. We’re pushing hard and we’re trying to win this championship. It’s not an easy job for either of us with the situation that we have.”
Esteban Guerrieri (Finished 5th), Driver of the No.7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara:
“At least we finished the race after a spin. Normally when you spin on an oval, you don’t finish the race. We saved some points. It was an interesting race. We had a similar pace with Josef and I was just waiting for traffic and we got side by side a couple of times and I had my chances. We also didn’t want to do any silly things. The important thing was to not make contact with a teammate. Then, I got stuck behind (Gustavo) Yacaman for several laps. He let Josef by but then not me. When he let me get by him, the spin came because I decided to push more. It caught me by surprise that the rear came around. Recovering to finish fifth was good. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was good. There are three races left and still a lot to achieve.”
Bryan Clauson (Finished 7th), Driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/CURB Records Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara:
“It was a tough day. We had a pretty good car all weekend and we made a couple changes to get back to where we were for qualifying and we just got too free. I guess I tried to get after it too hard on the start and lost it off of turn two. Then we couldn’t get it fired back up there, so we went a lap down and that killed us. If we didn’t get the first lap down there I think we could have got back up through there and been in the top-three. That’s part of it, I guess.”
Victor Carbone (Finished 10th), Driver of the No. 3 Nevoni/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara:
“I was learning. It was tough to pass with the dirty air. By myself I was OK. I just couldn’t pass anyone, but we learned a lot today.”
Date: Aug. 14, 2011
Event: New Hampshire 100 (Round 11 of 14)
Series: Firestone Indy Lights Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (1.025-mile oval)
Winner: Josef Newgarden of Sam Schmidt Motorsports
SSM Team: Josef Newgarden (Started 1st, Finished 1st / Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
Esteban Guerrieri (Started 3rd, Finished 5th / Running, completed 99 of 100 laps)
Bryan Clauson (Started 2nd, Finished 7th / Running, completed 98 of 100 laps)
Victor Carbone (Started 9th, Finished 10th / Running, completed 98 or 100 laps)