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Firestone Indy Lights: New Hampshire 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  New Hampshire 100

Firestone Indy Lights: New Hampshire 100

Josef Newgarden
August 14, 2011


LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE

THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by our race winner Joseph Newgarden of Sam Schmidt Motorsport. This is Joseph's fifth win of the season. He previously won the season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and Edmonton. Today's win extends Joseph's championship lead to 68 points over his teammate Esteban Guerrieri. Joseph today accomplished a remarkable feat of lapping the field. It hasn't been done since March 2004 at Phoenix in Firestone Indy Lights. The driver was Tiago Medeiros, who coincidentally was driving the No. 11 car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
Congratulations today on a great race. Definitely the points you need to get that championship lead going.
JOSEPH NEWGARDEN: Yeah, it's a good day. You know, I don't think I would have been the only guy to lap the field if Esteban didn't have an incident there. He was very difficult to beat today. It was really tough; every time we got into traffic he was on my tail, and he was filling my mirrors each time, and he was making me work for it at least, which was really nice. You don't want to be running away with something, you want to have a guy pushing you there. I know that's what people want to see, too; you want to see a battle between a couple drivers.
So that was great, but certainly it made it a lot more comfortable when that happened, and they told me I was the only guy in the lead lap, so it was an easy cruise to the finish. But a great day, yeah, really good day for the whole team. Sam Schmidt Motorsports is a great group. I love getting to the race weekend and seeing these guys and getting to hang out all weekend because it's a great group of guys and we have a lot of fun.
It's kind of sad that the championship is winding down and we don't have much more time together, but we've had a heck of a time for the year that we've had.
THE MODERATOR: This is your second short oval win. You've won on a big superspeedway and you've won on the temporary circuits. How much do you feel the diversity in the Firestone Indy Lights schedule is preparing you to make the move to IndyCar?
JOSEPH NEWGARDEN: Well, it's great. We've talked about this before, but it's such a challenging set of courses that we go to. We go to everything, and it's only upped my learning curve, and I know it's upped everyone else's, as well.
It's the best training ground you can get if you want to drive in IndyCar. It's the same deal for those guys. They've got to be very diverse, especially if they want to win the championship, not just single races. You've got to be able to tackle all sorts of different types of weekends and know the mindsets and setups of the car and how you have to approach things.
As far as putting a driver in the right mindset and learning for the future, you can't beat it. It's unbelievable to be a part of the championship. It's definitely the place you've got to be if you want to drive in IndyCar.

Q. I know Esteban was pushing you for a while, but once he spun, what were you thinking? I'm going to go back to Long Beach; I know that's mean --
JOSEPH NEWGARDEN: No, that's true. That's a good point.

Q. Did that enter into your head at all? Do you say if I keep doing the same laps --
JOSEPH NEWGARDEN: You know, it's funny, every time I'm leading a race now, that comes into my head, Long Beach, which is a good thing. I think it's a great thing that it happened. It still bothers me a lot from earlier in the year that it happened, but I think it's a good lesson for the future. You can't let it slip away when you have something like that. Certainly you can't take anything for granted, and it's not over until it actually is over.
I think it helped my mental state, now every time that I'm in the lead and what I need to do. It'll probably happen again, but hopefully it doesn't happen often. That's the big thing you've got to learn from it is try and minimize that to only -- maybe it happens one out of 100 times, and I'd be okay with that if that was the case.
So yeah, it's tough, but I've got to tell you, it was a lot easier when he was gone because he was pushing really hard. Every time we got to a lapped car, it was, okay, how am I going to get by him because it seemed like I was kind of opening up the air for him there and he would just slot right in and be right behind me then. It was a lot more comfortable when he was gone, but I was certainly thinking about things after that and trying just to bring it to the end.

Q. Did you or possibly -- I can't speak for him because he's not here, but we've been going so much faster than the rest of the field we may have burned our tires up? Did that ever cross your mind?
JOSEPH NEWGARDEN: No, we talked about this. Milwaukee is probably the most similar place to this, and Milwaukee changed drastically over a race distance. The dynamics of the car change drastically at that track, whereas here they do change but it's so minute that it's really not a problem. So I was okay pushing hard at the beginning, and I made the decision that I needed to do that because he was so close to me.
So I was trying to open up a gap every time so that I had some room when I got up to lapped traffic. But it really wasn't an issue I don't think for both of us. Our tires stayed under us just fine, and certainly I think what we did as a team to get the car set up for the race was just perfect. They were handling very well and the consistency with them was even better. It wasn't an issue for either one of us, I think.

Q. How important was the pole position going into this race?
JOSEPH NEWGARDEN: That was the key. That was the key. I mean, we needed to get that -- I was a little bit surprised actually. If we weren't on pole, I think we would have had a little bit of a shot with the traffic, which you saw with Esteban. He certainly had a couple opportunities potentially there, which I didn't want to see when I got the pole, but I think that was the key here. You needed to be out front, running clean. You know, certainly he was in my wake so he's getting a little bit more scrub from his tires and he's probably wearing off quicker than I am. So I had the prime position there with pole.
And that's what I thought needed to be done. When we came into the weekend, the big thing was qualifying, and we had to get that right, and it was great that we did because it certainly helped for this win.
THE MODERATOR: Joseph, congratulations on another great victory. We will see you very soon in Baltimore.

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