Josef Newgarden: Second title feels 'more special'

Double NTT IndyCar Series Champion Josef Newgarden explained in a passionate post-race interview how he felt his championship victory for a second time felt 'more special'.

Newgarden had led the points standings through all but one race during the 2019 season and secured his second Astor Cup at the WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca, as his rivals failed to overturn their points deficit - despite double points being on offer.

A tough final race saw the Team Penske driver finish in a subdued eight-place, but his position was still good enough to maintain his title lead by 25 points over team-mate Simon Pagenaud.

"I don't know why, but it feels more special," said an emotional Newgarden. "It really hit me. It just really, really hit me on the in-lap. I don't know why. I was just so emotional. I didn't quite get that way in the first one. I don't know if you don't have quite the respect for it or what it is.

"You just have more perspective on how difficult it is to be -- you can win a race every week. When you're in a season, those opportunities come every single week, but to win a championship, it doesn't come every week.

"That opportunity seldom is there, and if it is there, you really want to capitalize on it because you never know if you're going to get that again, and I think you really realize that the more years you do this."

The Penske driver emphasised how important it was to snatch the opportunity to win the title and how hurtful it would have been to have lost it in the final race.

"I think this one just felt like it was more ours to lose," he added. "It was more ours to give away. I thought it was our year to win, and if we didn't, it was just going to hurt a lot.

"Just the effort would have been -- not for nothing, but it just would have felt pretty bad to throw away what we had put together all season."