Newgarden, the 2017 series champion, started from the second position in his car powered by the 2.2-liter, twin-turbo and direct-injected V-6 Chevy engine. He led three times for a total of 60 laps on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary circuit on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The win was the 11th of Newgarden’s career and his first at St. Pete.
Newgarden and his Team Penske crew used pit strategy in the middle portion of the race to extend the second stint a few laps longer than the competition, allowing them to turn in quicker lap times on a clear circuit before finally making a pit stop on Lap 55 for tires and fuel. Newgarden returned to the track in the lead on the softer alternate tires (most competitors were on the harder primaries). Thanks to this strategy, Newgarden led 59 of the race’s final 60 laps, many of which by a significant margin over his nearest competitors.
The win was the sixth for Chevrolet in the race since 2012, but the first for the Bowtie on a street circuit since 2017.
“We’ve started on the right foot, for sure,” Newgarden said. “I think we made a big step. We felt positive about the step that we made, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year. I just can’t thank Chevy enough for all their support and what they put in this weekend. We had an incredible engine, we had everything we needed in fuel mileage and reliability and all the power.”
Congratulations to Josef Newgarden, Team Chevy and Team Penske on a very strong start to the 2019 campaign.