Win a rain-delayed World Wide Technology Raceway at the Gateway raceJosef Newgarden made an attack in the NTT IndyCar Series championship standings on Saturday night.
With his series-leading fifth win of the season, Newgarden finished within three points of teammate and championship leader Will Power with two races to go this year.
It was also the fourth win at Gateway (and third straight at the track near St. Louis) for the driver of Team Penske’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet.
RESULTS: Where everyone at Gateway finished
Newgarden rallied to his 25th career win after losing the lead to teammate Scott McLaughlin just before a red flag due to rain on Lap 218 lasted more than two hours of rainwhich gave Newgarden (who was caught up behind Christian Lundgaard before his final pit stop at the entry) plenty of time to reflect on how the race almost got away.
“I think this crew has been very patient with me,” Newgarden said said NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “I probably lost my composure a few times (behind) closed doors out of frustration for us. We had small errors in terms of timing. It’s really nobody’s fault. Just sometimes wrong time, wrong place. I feel like a lot has happened this year. It happened again tonight. We positioned ourselves, it’s time to close and there was only one barrier in front of us again.
“But luckily we were able to get out again. I was so happy that we were able to finish this race. Scott McLaughlin also wanted to win. I love that about him. We all want to win, but in the end he drove me super fair and we fought well. It’s a big night for everyone at Team Penske.”
Newgarden led the final 35 laps after passing McLaughlin for first on lap 225. The green flag had waved a lap earlier on the 1.25-mile oval for the first time in more than two hours.
“We just had to get off to a good start,” said Newgarden. “I knew Scott would end up being good there. He had a great restart. I was just trying to work the high lane. It used to work for me and I tried again and we had just enough to get past him. He wasn’t sluggish this weekend.
“Scott did a great job, he could easily have won this race himself. You have to give him credit. I’m glad we were able to get back on top.”
Rookie David Malukas, who pitted just before the red flag, stormed from fifth to a career-best second place by passing McLaughlin on the final lap.
“With two laps to go, that was the lap I went on the wing and it worked so well,” Malukas told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch. “If I had done it a little earlier, maybe we could have done something for Newgarden. Overall it’s a win for me, a win for the team. They deserve it so much.”
Said McLaughlin, “This is racing. This is oval racing. We love it. Do you want more of this? Dave moved on the last lap, credit to him. He’s a phenomenal kid and I hope he goes far because he’s developed so much through the ranks. He’s been great all year.”
Pato O’Ward was fourth followed by Takuma Sato, Power, Marcus Ericsson, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou and Graham Rahal.
After a record-breaking 67th start on pole, Power slipped from fourth to sixth after the race restarted.
With two races remaining (September 4 at Portland International Raceway and September 11 at Laguna Seca Raceway), 58 points separate the top seven overall. Power leads, followed by Newgarden (-3), Dixon (-14), Ericsson (-17), Palou (-43), McLaughlin (-54) and O’Ward (-58).