Pagenaud A Quiet Sleeper This Weekend, Newgarden For Some Reason Struggles At Texas

Team Penske will certainly be the favorites to win Saturday night’s DXC Technolgy 600 (8 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network) at the Texas Motor Speedway. Will Power won the Indy 500 a few weeks ago as the overall organization were the class of the field the entire month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Power, is the defending race winner in Texas and should have his No. 12 Chevrolet fighting for a chance to win this weekend. But, what about his teammates?

Simon Pagenaud has been quietly strong in his few starts on the 1.5-mile track. He has three top four finishes in his last four Texas starts. He was fourth in 2014, 11th in 2015, fourth again in 2016 and third last year. His No. 22 Chevrolet started on the front row at Indy and finished sixth.

This is his chance to win on a superspeedway.

“Detroit was a bit of mix for us but we were glad to bring home a decent finish on Sunday,” said Pagenaud ahead of Saturday night’s race. “Now, we’re focused on getting the No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet back to victory lane in the DXC-sponsored race. Texas is always a challenging racetrack but is always exciting for the fans and one of my favorites. My team has a few things up their sleeve and we’re ready to put on a good show for the fans with one of our few night races.”

But, I’m not sold on this being Josef Newgarden’s. He finished eighth at Indy and has yet to finish inside the top five at Texas. We all remember that 2016 crash of his right? We’re lucky he’s still racing after that. Then, last year, he made a rare mistake and crashed again in nearly the same spot. He has three straight DNF’s at Texas and has a best finish of eighth. He also fallen from first to fifth in the championship standings as well.

“We’ve had a few weeks that haven’t gone our way but we’re ready to change all that at Texas,” Newgarden said. “The team learned a lot at Indianapolis and have some new things they plan on trying out on the No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet that I’m really excited about. They’ve been working hard in this long stretch, but we’re ready to do whatever we can to get back into victory lane. Texas fans are always really fun and I always really enjoy getting to meet the passionate INDYCAR fans out there.”

This could be a chance for Pagenaud to stamp his name back into the championship picture.

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