Newgarden to take Portland grid penalty

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Newgarden to take Portland grid penalty

IndyCar

Newgarden to take Portland grid penalty

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NTT IndyCar Series championship contender Josef Newgarden will receive a six-position grid penalty after Saturday’s qualifying session for the Portland Grand Prix is complete.

Currently second in the championship standings, three points behind Team Penske teammate Will Power, Newgarden’s No. 2 entry is set for the rearward move after a fresh and fifth 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 engine was installed. Per IndyCar’s rules, four engines are permitted to be used during the season with a need for a total of 10,000 miles to be produced by those engines; any installations beyond the fourth motor are considered unapproved and are subject to a grid penalty. RACER understands the need for Newgarden’s engine change is due to reaching its mileage limit prematurely after an engine issue in Toronto saw the fourth engine go into the No. 2 car sooner than expected.

Newgarden’s performances at Portland should offer some solace for the two-time IndyCar champion. He started second on the series’ return in 2018, qualified 13th and improved eight spots to finish fifth in 2019, and last year, he put in an epic drive to recover from starting 18th and motored forward to claim fifth at the checkered flag. Although passing is far from easy at Portland International Raceway, Newgarden has demonstrated an aptitude for turning unfavorable starting positions into solid finishes.

On a related note, Honda Performance Development, which has three Chip Ganassi Racing drivers in the championship hunt with Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou, confirmed to RACER that it has “no changes for this week” planned and should therefore avoid penalties in Portland.

Whether engine changes are planned for any of the other title contenders leading into the season finale in Monterey is currently unknown. From the Chevy camp, Power (P1), Scott McLaughlin (P6), and Pato O’Ward (P7) are all on their fourth engines. At Honda, Dixon (P3), Ericsson (P4) and Palou (P5) are also on their fourth engines.

Historically, high-mileage engines have demonstrated the greatest odds of failure, which has led manufacturers to call for motor changes at times, while knowing it will trigger grid penalties, as the final rounds of the season approach to ensure their contenders have the best chances to complete those races.

A.J. Foyt Racing’s Dalton Kellett will receive a six-spot penalty as well for violating the same unapproved engine change policy.

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