Watkins Glen, NY – Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Glen was already shaping up to be a really bizarre race on the Watkins Glen International road course. From the drop of the green flag, things were interesting. From all the different strategies, it was very rare if a Verizon IndyCar Series championship contender was leading the race itself.
But, Lap 45 happened.
Newgarden, had a great pit call to stay out one extra lap to lead Lap 44 while most of the other leaders hit pit road for their final stop of the race. Doing that gave him a bonus point which could be critical to his championship hopes.
But, when he came down pit road on Lap 45, it could be the moment that changed everything.
When Newgarden was exiting pit road, his No. 2 Chevrolet slid and got into the guardrail on pit exit. He’d obviously be really slow coming back on the track in which Sebastien Bourdais rain into the back of him.
That cost him a good finish as Newgarden would return to action but finish a disappointing 18th. That was his worst finish since a 19th place effort in the Indianapolis 500. Since Indy, he had three wins, seven podiums and eight top six finishes in the next 10 races.
But, an 18th place run today, ends a streak of four straight top two finishes and five in the last six races. It also sees his 31 point championship lead evaporate down to just three heading to the season finale at Sonoma in two weeks.
What a championship deciding pit road incident this was.