Despite breaking his left index finger in a crash three weeks ago at Sonoma, Josef Newgarden will be back in his Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing entry for this weekend's MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway.
The injury required surgery and forced a replacement driver for Baltimore, so Bruno Junqueira stepped into the No. 67 car.
“It was really hard to watch Bruno drive my car in Baltimore,” Newgarden said. “I've never been injured inside a racecar before and had to sit out while someone else drove my car. It was tough but I learned a lot and can't wait to get back in.”
After the crash in Sonoma, Newgarden described his finger as “crushed.” Post-surgery, his left index finger has seven screws holding it together. Despite the extra metal, he says that he and his finger will be ready for the race.
“I think my finger will be fine,” Newgarden said. “It's been getting better each day, and I think I should be fine in the car to hold on for the oval. That's not saying ovals are easier than road courses, but it should be easier on my finger.”
Newgarden has tested at the track in August and will test again on Wednesday as part of a nearly full-field test.