Josef Newgarden entered Saturday’s (May 12) IndyCar Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course as the championship leader. He held a 13-point edge over Alexander Rossi entering the race.
While Newgarden won two of the first four INDYCAR races this season, a successful start to his title defense, Saturday was a struggle. He finished outside the top 10 for the first time in 2018 after a failed attempt to overtake Dale Coyne Racing driver Sebastien Bourdais.
— IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) May 12, 2018
That left Newgarden the lowest finishing Team Penske driver, dropping to 11th from his sixth-place starting spot. Bourdais and Rossi finished fourth and fifth, respectively to close the gap in the championship standings.
Rossi now trails his rival by two points. Bourdais is third, 26 markers back.
With the 102nd Indianapolis 500 next up on the schedule, the championship battle could take another turn in two weeks. The silver lining to Newgarden’s average finish is that “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” often produces unpredictable curveball.
This 11th-place result isn’t likely going to have an effect on his title bid as the 500 is a double-points event.