Josef Newgarden took his Indycar on NASCAR’s ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Video)
Josef Newgarden claimed the 2019 INDYCAR Series championship just last week. So, what does the champion do after a year long fight at the highest level of open wheel racing in America?
He remains inside the cockpit, for fun.
Over the weekend, NASCAR visited Charlotte Motor Speedway. Only it wasn’t the traditional four corner oval you’ve become familiar with.
The ROVAL is a 2.28-mile course that spreads over 17 corners. It uses almost all of the oval in addition to an new infield road course with lots of elevation changes.
After NASCAR Cup Series qualifying on Friday, Josef Newgarden took his IndyCar machine onto the track. It was the first time an IndyCar has seen the course.
“That space shuttle looks like it has more grip than our cars,” Clint Bowyer said as he watched Newgarden on his run.
“You know, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen an Indycar on a race track. I’ve been doing this a long time. I heard it. I was like, ‘That thing sounds weird.’ It’s so cool to see another form of motorsports try this race track.”
“You’re probably seeing the first test session for Indycar on our ROVAL right here. Why wouldn’t we bring those guys and embrace their sport?”
“Hey man, this guy just won a championship. He probably should be sitting on a boat somewhere instead he’s over here burning laps at Charlotte.”
“I guarantee ya, he don’t wanna be on one of them turtles in that car. The turtles are bad news bares for our cars. You don’t wanna see that space shuttle do it. That thing jumps one time, he’s going to the hook.”
Josef Newgarden on the Charlotte ROVAL
After the run, Josef Newgarden pulled into victory lane.
“Clearly, I was the winner of the demo today. We were so much better than the competition,” Josef Newgarden says with a smile.
“It felt good. The banking was really neat because the wheel was really, really heavy. We don’t have power steering in these vehicles, so it was pretty loaded up for a long time through the banking but there were no problems. I wanted to go fast but not too fast. I think there might’ve been another second or two in it, but it was one run, so we wanted to take it a little easy.”
“It’s for sure different than anywhere we go,” he added. “I wouldn’t say it’s similar to anything. It’s clearly a road course, but it’s got some street-course sections to it. Turns 1 and 2 remind me of a street course. You’ve got the oval, which reminds me a little bit of the Indy GP that we run and then everything else is something new. It didn’t remind me of anything as a whole, but it had some characteristics of some places we go.
“Honestly, it was a lot of fun. This is a really cool opportunity that Pennzoil provided for us.”
“The NASCAR guys, what I love is they’re interested in us. And we’re interested in them. They love our race cars. I love theirs. The only thing that would have made me more excited is if I was able to get in one of their cars today.”
What do you think of an INDYCAR and NASCAR double-header?
“I would love that opportunity. I think it would be really cool for the fans. Why would you not want to have that doubled up on a weekend?”
INDYCAR President Jay Frye on running the ROVAL
“It was cool to see how the car reacted,” Jay Frye said.
“This is a great facility. Greg (Walter, the speedway’s executive vice president and general manager) does a great job and so does Marcus (Smith, Speedway Motorsports’ President and CEO). We do lots of business with them. They’re first-class and they do everything right.”
“Even today, the way this was operated and worked, was seamless. The Penske guys did a great job. Josef did a great job. We’ll see.”
“We were going to come down and check the ROVAL out. We had not been to see the facility in this configuration, so that was one of the reasons and then this opportunity came into play.”
“Today would be the day to come check it out. Our guys are here and the car was on the track. Obviously today seemed like it was pretty successful, so who knows?”
“All of the Cup guys were out watching the big board. There’s interest from the media. There’s interest from us. What’s next for all of us is something that we’re working on.”
“It’s great to feel welcomed and wanted here. This is a great facility. Who knows? Lots of things are possible. … There’s interest on both sides for what we both do.”