By: Spencer Neff
October 2, 2020
In a much-needed performance, Josef Newgarden earned the victory in Race 1 of the Harvest Grand Prix. By the end of the 85-lap race, the two-time NTT IndyCart Series Champion beat Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi by 14.294 seconds.
This is Newgarden’s third win of 2020, first on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and 17th of his career.
With his triumph, he ties Tony Kanaan, Ralph Mulford and Danny Sullivan on the all-time win list. After his acquisition of the Speedway in January, this is also Car Owner Roger Penske’s first win at IMS since his acquisition.
Rounding out the podium, Rossi and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay also earned their best finishes of the season. For VeeKay, he ended the day with his first career podium after starting on the pole for the race, bettering his fifth-place effort at the track in July.
Although this season has been riddled with misfortune for Rossi, a podium today is undoubtedly a major confidence booster as the focus shifts to 2021.
While Newgarden took the checkered flag, points leader Scott Dixon finished ninth, shrinking his lead to just 40 with two races remaining.
After winning three consecutive races to start the season, Dixon’s momentum has dwindled, culminating with an off-course excursion in Turn 7 with two laps remaining. For Dixon, the focus will be on keeping his steady racing style and minimizing mistakes.
Despite running caution free, the race did see its share of action and even a few confrontations.
On Lap 12, Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay and Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan’s Santino Ferrucci tangled in Turn 1, spinning both. Although they continued on, Ferrucci’s run-ins did not end there.
On Lap 43, the sophomore driver battled with Colton Herta during the penultimate run of pit stops. Three weeks ago, Herta and Ferrucci tangled on the first lap at Mid-Ohio, triggering a multi-car accident. Following their brief tussle, Herta was vocally displeased with Ferrucci.
As the season draws to a close, these on-track battles will be worth monitoring for potential on- and off-track repercussions.
Tomorrow will bring about the second race of the Harvest GP Doubleheader. At 10:20 am Eastern time, two 12-minute qualifying sessions will set the field for the race.
The race will be broadcast on NBC at 2:30 pm Eastern, with the green flag set for 2:31 pm. Look for continued updates on the weekend from IndyCar1909.
Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR