The Hamilton Spectator

Newgarden and Team Penske dominate


The victory for Penske is his third seasonopen­ing win this year alone

Team Penske silenced recent criticism aimed at series leadership by dominating the IndyCar season-opening race with a Josef Newgarden win from the pole Sunday on the downtown streets of St. Petersburg.

Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren Racing broke up the Penske rout with a second-place finish, but Penske drivers Scott McLaughlin and Will Power finished third and fourth.

The Penske trio finished ahead of every Andretti Global driver two days after team owner Michael Andretti called on Roger Penske to sell the IndyCar Series if he’s not willing to increase his investment­s in promotion and marketing.

“I think, for Roger, the Team Penske and the Penske Entertainm­ent is very separate and, for him, he’s got to put those hats on and see the good of the sport,” McLaughlin said.

“It’s part of owning the series, you think, you’re going to get called left, right and centre from people upset with your adjustment­s or what you want from the series,” he added.

“You’re never going to have it all fine and dandy.”

Colton Herta in fifth was the highest-finishing driver for Andretti, which had a bust of a day with new driver Marcus Ericsson.

The former Indianapol­is 500 winner lost power midway through the race and finished 25th in the 27-car field. Ericsson was the defending race winner at St. Pete, which celebrated its 20th running of the popular street course event.

Reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou finished sixth for Chip Ganassi Racing and Felix Rosenqvist was seventh in his debut race with Meyer Shank Racing.

Alexander Rossi of McLaren was eighth, while Scott Dixon of Ganassi and Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing rounded out the top 10. Santino Ferrucci was an impressive 11th for A.J. Foyt Racing, which created an alliance with Penske.

The victory for Penske is his third season-opening win this year alone.

His IMSA sports car team won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and his other sports car team won the WEC opener in Qatar last week.

“As a team, we’re stoked. We just put a lot of hard work into the season,” McLaughlin said. “It’s just a good team. It’s a great business relationsh­ip. We’re just going to keep winning.”

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