INDIANAPOLIS – If you followed along a couple of weeks ago, I wrote how several sources close to the situation made it clear that Josef Newgarden would depart Ed Carpenter Racing when he contract expired and sign with Team Penske replacing Juan Pablo Montoya. Well, the first domino of that fell on Thursday.
ECR announced via a statement that Newgarden won’t be returning to the team in 2017 and is exploring different options.
“While it’s disappointing that Josef (Newgarden) will not be returning, it’s also not a total surprise after all of the speculation the past few weeks,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in a release.
“I wish Josef the best in his future endeavors, but also remain focused on ECR’s continued success. We are positioned well moving into 2017 and I have total confidence that we will continue to deliver the high level of performance we expect as a team.”
Newgarden, joined the series as a rookie in 2012 with Sarah Fisher/Hartman Racing. He signed a three-year deal with the team after winning the Indy Lights championship in 2011. He steadily improved each season before signing a one-year deal to remain with the team in 2015 when they joined forces with Ed Carpenter Racing forming CFH Racing.
But, when Wink Hartman departed, Sarah Fisher didn’t have enough money to stay either which brought back ECR to their own entity. The team signed Newgarden to another one-year deal for 2016 as everyone speculated after winning his first two races of his Verizon IndyCar Series career in 2015 and having a career season, if he had another one in 2016, he’d likely be leaving for a bigger team.
Newgarden was in the hunt all year long for the championship and despite being injured at Texas back in June, he still thrived and won a race.
Carpenter also announced via the statement that he will continue the No. 21 Chevrolet entry on a full-time basis and would be looking for a replacement. He also said that he would continue his part-time effort on ovals only in the No. 20 entry.