Josef Newgarden repeats in Texas barnburner

By: Spencer Neff
April 2, 2023

2023 PPG 375 Results

For Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet crew, 2023 at Texas Motor Speedway looked a lot like 2022. The two-time INDYCAR Champion earned his 26th career victory and first of the season at the PPG 375. Newgarden is now tied with Rodger Ward for 15th on the all-time win list.

The two-time INDYCAR Champion held off a hard-charging Arrow McLaren of Pato O”Ward to win for the third time at the 1.5-mile oval. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou and Scott Dixon sandwiched the Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsport’s David Malukas to round out the Top Five.

Repeating his effort from the season opener at St. Petersburg, Agustin Canapino finished 12th, best among the trio of rookies who started the 250-lap event.

O’Ward led 91 laps in his second runner-up finish to start 2023 (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

Despite missing out on two victories to start off the year, O’Ward leaves the second of 17 rounds as the points leader, by seven over St. Petersburg winner Marcus Ericsson.

Like his win a year ago, Newgarden’s third win at TMS came in a thrilling race featuring 26 official lead changes, third-most in the track’s history. He led 123 of 250 laps, most of the eight drivers who led during the race.

Race Recap

After starting second, Dixon took the early lead from pole sitter Rosenqvist. Newgarden stormed from fourth to grab control of the race early on. Newgarden would dominate the early portion of the race.

The start of the PPG 375 (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

On Lap 47, the caution flag flew for the first time as Takuma Sato got loose on the back straightaway and made contact with the infield retaining wall.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver climbed from his No.11 entry but his 2023 debut was halted after 46 laps completed.

During the ensuing cycle of pit stops, Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi made contact on pit exit with the Andretti Autosport No. 27 of Kyle Kirkwood.

Rossi and the No. 7 Dallara-Chevrolet got the worst of it, enduring additional time on pit road with right-front damage.

Kirkwood and Rossi collided during pit stops after the first caution (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

Rossi was assessed a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release. Although Kirkwood did not receive a penalty and initially continued on, he would drop out of the race with a right-rear wheel bearing issue. On Lap 110, the second cycle of pit stops and first under green flag conditions began with McLaughlin.

On Lap 61, the race went back to green and Palou stormed from fourth to challenge Newgarden for the lead. The 2021 INDYCAR Champion was able to squeak past Newgarden to lead a lap but the two-time series champion was able to find his way back out to a comfortable lead soon after.

After chewing away at his deficit, O’Ward powered by Newgarden to inherit the lead on Lap 130. O’Ward would become the dominant car during the ensuing stint, as he would lap the field during his time up front.

On Lap 178, Rosenqvist got loose and made heavy contact with the outside Turn 4 wall, sustaining major rear-end damage and giving the No. 6 a disappointing end to a promising day. During the caution, Newgarden made an extra stop in order to limit the need to save fuel.

Rosenqvist’s day ended after this crash (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Palou would use the Lap 194 restart to his advantage, forcing his way past O’Ward and Newgarden for the lead with 56 laps to go. On Lap 204, Colton Herta made a charge to the lead. A fierce battle up front would shuffle O’Ward back to the front with 43 to go.

Soon after Palou re-inherited the lead on Lap 210, Sting Ray Robb made contact with the Turn 2 outside and inside retaining wall on the back straightaway, prompting a third caution of the race. During the caution, Palou and teammate Dixon stayed out along with the Andretti Autosport duo of Grosjean and Herta as the pack behind him took the opportunity to shore up their fuel load.

Grosjean used the outside lane to grab the lead soon after the Lap 220 restart. With the front-runners battling for the lad, O’Ward pounced and got the lead back.

Further down in the running order, the Andretti Steinbrenner entry of Devlin De Francesco fell off the pace.

With nowhere to go, the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car of Graham Rahal plowed into th back of the No. 29, bringing out the fourth caution of the day.

The race would restart with 12 to go and within a lap, Palou took the fight to O”Ward, setting up a three-man battle rfor the win with Newgarden. With three to go, O’Ward and Newgarden cleared the pack.

With two laps remaining, Grosjean spun on the back straightaway. Newgarden was in front when the fifth and final caution of the day was brought out, giving him the victory.

Newgarden takes the checkered flag (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

Up Next

Following a weekend off, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to action in 12 days with the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in California. Practice 1 for the event will be held at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time.

The 85-lap race on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit is set for a 3:00 p.m. broadcast on NBC for April 16.

Stay with and or various media platforms for all the latest on the series and more.

Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR


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