After two successful years with Ed Carpenter Racing, Josef Newgarden is set to step up to the Verizon IndyCar Series’ (VICS) top team in 2017.
Team Penske announced today that the Tennessean will join the championship-winning organization next season, driving the team’s No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet.
Newgarden, who earned his first three victories in two years with ECR from 2015-2016, will enter his sixth VICS season after finishing 2016 a career-best fourth in series standings.
The only three drivers Newgarden finished behind? The Team Penske trio he’ll join – Will Power, Helio Castroneves and champion Simon Pagenaud.
“When you look at the top talent in the series, both from a driving and commercial perspective, Josef is near the top of the list,” Team Penske owner Roger Penske said. “We are always looking to build toward the future and, when we had the opportunity to talk with Josef, we knew that he would be a great fit with our program. He is a fantastic driver on the track and will be great with our partners off the track. He is hungry to win more races and win championships and we hope to give him that opportunity as part of our team.”
Newgarden, the 2011 Indy Lights champion, will be among good company. Team Penske won 10 races in 2016, including nine races split between championship rivals Pagenaud and Power. Juan Pablo Montoya also won the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Coming off a year that included a win, four podiums and 11 top 10s of his own, Newgarden hopes to add to Penske’s legendary resume.
“For any open-wheel racer – or any race car driver in general – Team Penske is a dream job,” Newgarden said. “Roger Penske is a legend in the motorsports community and his team has done just about everything they’ve ever set out to do. I look forward to working with all of Team Penske’s great partners. To get an opportunity to work with Simon, Will and Helio, along with the rest of the team, will just help make me a better driver.”
Newgarden’s announced move solidifies Team Penske’s 2017 driver lineup. It also confirms the exit of Montoya, a veteran and two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.
Montoya’s 2017 plans have yet to be announced.