Josef Newgarden had a strong year in the pandemic-affected 2020, but is still looking to completely reset ahead of this season in order to reclaim his spot at the top of the points standings.
The 2019 champion finished strong in the latter half of last season, but despite winning three of the final six races of the season, he could not stop Scott Dixon from claiming his sixth NTT IndyCar Series championship.
A less-than-optimal start to the season, combined with a near perfect start from The Iceman, meant that Newgarden was on the back foot from the outset.
At one point he was 117 points out of the lead, but an impressive run of finishes to close out the year only allowed the Team Penske star to gain 101 points on his rival before time ran out.
Rather than trying to ride the momentum from his most recent races, Newgarden is looking towards a more consistent performance, combined with some better luck, to regain his championship status by the end of this season.
“Well, I’ve tried to wipe last year from my memory as best I can, at least the tough parts,” revealed Newgarden.
“I felt like our momentum was quite consistent throughout the year, at least from a performance standpoint. We could just not seem to catch enough breaks.
“That’s the nature of the beast. Sometimes things just go your way without even realizing why; you can’t seem to do anything wrong. Some years you seem to be on the wrong end of the stick half the time. I feel like last year was one of those years.
“I felt confident in what we could do every weekend. I felt like that in the beginning of the year, the middle and the end. I’m not trying to just ride the end-of-the-year momentum.
“I think the consistency we’ve had year over year is really strong. We need to keep that going.”
Newgarden will be starting his tenth year in IndyCar this season, and his fifth with Team Penske, and will be gunning for his third series title for each.
As an extra boost, the series will also be visiting Newgarden’s hometown streets of Nashville, TN for the inaugural Music City GP in August, where the 30-year-old will receive extra support from his fans.
The first race of the 2021 IndyCar season takes place in six weeks from Barber Motorsports Park.