American junior open-wheel talent Josef Newgarden continued his winning ways at the famed Brands Hatch Circuit over the weekend, winning Rounds 19 and 20 of the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, strengthening his runner-up position in the championship fight. The Joe Tandy Racing rookie further added a fifth place result in race three of the tripleheader, ensuring he enters the closing stages of the 2009 season within striking distance of the series title.
Newgarden traveled to the renowned Brands Hatch road course having not only won in all but one of the British Formula Ford events thus far this season, but also with a proven winning record at the English track, thanks to the 2008 Formula Ford Festival win and a pair of Formula Palmer Audi victories in early 2009. This run of fine form immediately continued at the start of the seventh event, with the No. 21 Robo-Pong/Race of Tomorrow Ltd/Joe Tandy Racing/Mygale SJ09 Premier Power car finishing on top of the charts in Friday qualifying, giving Newgarden the pole position for race one of the tripleheader, and the championship point that goes along with it.
The 18 year-old, who is now part of the “MAKE ROADS SAFE” campaign, promptly made the most of his P1 starting position, getting an ideal launch from the traditional standing start on Saturday afternoon. Holding the advantage through the historic Paddock Hill Bend and the often treacherous Druids corner, Newgarden never looked back en route to his seventh Formula Ford win of the season in Round 19.
Returning to the cockpit one day later, Newgarden was again the driver to watch in race two of the weekend. The talented teenager, starting second, immediately challenged for the lead when the cars launched from the line. After 11 laps of continuous pressure, Newgarden was able to work his way past into first place. Despite coming under repeated attack from the current series leader, being contacted once under braking, the JTR pilot never put a wheel wrong, winning in the series for an eighth time.
Given Newgarden had won the opening two races of the tripleheader, all eyes were on the American when the lights went out for Round 21 on Sunday afternoon. With the grid based on each driver's fastest lap in race two, it immediately became apparent that the handling on Newgarden's car was less than ideal. While unable to challenge for the win, the up-and-coming open-wheel race pilot made the most of the situation, challenging for a top-five position. When the checkered flag waved, Newgarden had earned valuable points via a fifth place finish.
“Racing alongside the DTM and F3 Euro series at Brands Hatch was a real honor,” Newgarden commented. “It was a big crowd and gave us up-and-comers a great opportunity to perform in front of some of the bigger teams. I think we put on a really good show with the Formula Fords. I know I battled some really tough competition and was able to come away with a couple of wins and a top-five finish. With just two events and four races remaining in the series, not much left for me to do except try and win-out. Perhaps Cole will stumble a bit and the championship will turn my direction, either way I know my job is to just win races!”
Newgarden resumes his pursuit of the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain title on September 18-19, with a return visit to the Brands Hatch Circuit for Rounds 22 and 23. Entering the doubleheader event, the Robo-pong-backed pilot leads the Rookie of Year chase and lies second in the championship fight, 61 points adrift of the lead.