Newgarden had a troublesome run to eighth place , driving an uncharacteristically cautious race with a automotive that he discovered inexplicably dealing with poorly. However capping a season wherein he scored extra wins than another driver, confirmed far higher consistency than in 2018, and made fewer errors than even in his earlier championship season, he got here into the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey with a 41 level benefit over Alexander Rossi and a 42-point benefit over his personal teammate Simon Pagenaud.
With Pagenaud fourth and Rossi sixth on this double-points finale, Josef’s eighth place was sufficient to see him beat Simon by 25 factors and Alex by 33.
“I do not know why, nevertheless it feels extra particular,” mentioned the champion afterward, whose supporters on pitlane included his 80-year-old grandmother from Denmark. “It actually hit me. It simply actually, actually hit me on the in-lap. I do not know why. I used to be simply so emotional.
“I did not fairly get that means within the first one. I do not know if you do not have fairly the respect for it or what it’s… [Second time around] You simply have extra perspective on how troublesome it’s.
“Once you’re in a season, these alternatives [to win] come each single week, however to win a championship, that does not come each week. That chance seldom is there, and whether it is there, you actually wish to capitalize on it since you by no means know if you are going to get that once more. I feel you actually notice that the extra years you do that.
“I feel this one simply felt prefer it was extra ours to lose. It was extra ours to offer away. I assumed it was our 12 months to win, and if we did not, it was simply going to harm rather a lot. Simply the hassle would have been… not for nothing, nevertheless it simply would have felt fairly unhealthy to throw away what we had put collectively all season.”
He later added: “I do not ever cry. Really, it infuriates my fiancée as a result of I do not suppose I’ve ever cried in entrance of her. It disturbed her in some methods. She’s like, ‘You by no means cry, which is actually… I do not know why you do not do this. It’s best to cry in some unspecified time in the future.’
“[This] was a very good cry. It simply felt like an enormous weight, to be sincere with you. I nonetheless really feel it once I give it some thought now. It is only a massive weight. Particularly once I noticed all the blokes once I received out. It meant rather a lot. It nonetheless does. It means rather a lot.”
That “weight,” admitted Newgarden, meant that the weeks since Portland, when he completed fifth to Rossi’s third, had been robust.
“I have been dreading the final couple weeks as a result of I do not suppose it actually hits you till you get lastly to Laguna or after Portland I ought to say, as a result of then you definately actually notice the factors state of affairs.
“It is simply such a nerve-racking cope with double factors. I hated it. I hated excited about it, and I do know we did not construct up sufficient of a spot to make it tremendous simple on ourselves… Simply did not know what was going to occur right now, and I simply wished to ensure we secured the championship as a result of I felt like our guys deserved it.
“Everybody works actually onerous on this paddock. It does not matter which staff or what driver you might be. I feel everybody works actually onerous. I am fairly intimate with my guys and understand how onerous they work personally, and I simply wished them to be rewarded with the championship.
“That was weighing on me rather a lot. I used to be simply blissful we had been capable of get by right now. It was type of a chaotic occasion.”
“I feel we encountered an issue right now”
Concerning his underwhelming drive being un-Newgarden-like, the brand new two-time champion responded: “Man, you are telling me! Throughout the race I used to be like, ‘I do not like this. I do not like the way in which I am operating this race.’ However right now was the championship day. I felt like we had been happening a rabbit gap and it was simply the mistaken place to be going as a result of I might see the writing on the wall and the place it was headed.
“I used to be doing one factor – my purpose was to shadow Rossi, and that is both going to be in my favor or it is not. And it appeared prefer it was popping out of that favor, that kind of technique. However I needed to follow the plan. Our goose was type of cooked after the primary stint. It was like, ‘Look, you’ve got made your mattress, that is what it’s.’
“I do suppose we encountered an issue right now, although, and I do not know what occurred. My first stint was superb. The automotive felt regular. Rossi was actually gradual in entrance of me in direction of the tip [of the stint], and I used to be simply doing my recreation. I used to be shadowing him. I used to be nervous he was going to wreck me if I attempted to cross him. It kind of appeared prefer it.
“However then the second stint, as quickly as I went to black [harder primary Firestone] tires, it was like one thing simply occurred. It was like we dropped a bunch of downforce or a shock went out or one thing like that, and I used to be actually fighting the automotive. However I used to be nonetheless maintaining with my goal to shadow Rossi to the end.
“So I feel one thing might need been occurring there. I do not know what it was. However I additionally suppose the way in which the technique was beginning to fall – actually Rossi’s power is what was hurting us. He wasn’t very sturdy, both, and since I used to be following him and simply attempting to match the place he was, it was type of dragging me again at instances. I feel within the first stint we might have made much more hay. I feel we might have handed him and simply been up the highway in a really completely different place.”
Reward for principal competitors
Informed that Rossi had mentioned that the fitting man gained the championship, Newgarden replied: “I feel that is very type of him to say. I feel we had been all very deserving. I feel Alex has had an amazing 12 months. He is actually an amazing competitor, very gifted, very expert at what he does, and he has a terrific group behind him, too.
“So you have to respect the competitors, and I feel we have had unimaginable competitors between him and Simon and Scott and Will. These 5 guys have actually been the core individuals I feel on the prime of this championship, and I feel they had been all deserving in numerous methods to win the championship.
“I feel we have had essentially the most constant 12 months. I feel I actually do consider we have put collectively the very best championship run, and I am glad that discovered its solution to sealing the championship.In numerous methods, beneath the standard factors system, this may have been type of a achieved deal. Nevertheless it turns into much more thrilling, and it clearly mixes issues up with double factors. That is the place the wild card type of is available in.
“However the one factor I’d say is I’ve an amazing quantity of respect for Rossi and his talent and his group and what they’ve achieved. They’re effective opponents. They’re very troublesome to beat each week, and that is what you need. Hats off to them for operating simply as sturdy of a season I’d say.”