The Snetterton Circuit in England may be Josef Newgarden’s new favorite racetrack, after the American teenager enjoyed a superb weekend of racing at the high-speed road course over the weekend (July 4-5). Newgarden was the driver to beat virtually the entire event in his Joe Tandy Racing entry, winning twice and standing on the podium in all three races of the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain tripleheader.
Both Newgarden and the Joe Tandy Racing squad entered the fourth event of the 2009 British Formula Ford season confident they could return to their winning ways, given the success shown in testing at the high-speed track. When the series tripleheader officially got underway on Saturday, it immediately became apparent that this outlook was well justified. Newgarden, having topped the Friday timesheets, was the driver to beat in qualifying, earning his third and fourth pole positions of the season via the two fastest time around the 1.952-mile road course.
After a brief break to go over race strategy, the American was back in the cockpit of his No. 21 Robo-Pong/Racer of Tomorrow Ltd/Joe Tandy Racing Mygale SJ08 Premier Power car for Round 10. While the 18-year-old American did not get the perfect start he desired, relinquishing first place on the opening lap, he slotted into second and began repeatedly attacking for the lead. Following an early race safety car period, Newgarden made his move on lap six, passing for the lead under braking. The JTR race pilot from that point forward recorded the fastest lap each time the field crossed the stripe, continually building his advantage over second place. When the checkered flag waved, Newgarden had scored his third win of his rookie British Formula Ford campaign by over two seconds.
Sunday at the road course outside of Norwich, England, commenced in the same fashion as day two, with Newgarden lining up P1 on the grid for race two of the tripleheader. Unlike the opening race, the American got a superb launch when the lights went out, immediately building a gap on his nearest pursuers. While second place eventually got within striking distance of Newgarden, the up-and-coming formula car star never came under any pressure of note in the 16-lap affair. Newgarden made it two-for two at Snetterton, when he crossed the stripe just under a half second ahead of second place.
Seeking a weekend sweep, Newgarden started Round 12 in second place, having tuned the second fastest time in race two. When the action got underway via the traditional standing start, Newgarden initially fell back to third place. The Robo-Pong/Race of Tomorrow backed driver however quickly responded to the challenge, advancing to first by the completion of lap one. In what quickly became a multi-car fight for the win reminiscent of Negarden’s time in Skip Barber National, the American led multiple laps. The final order however was not decided until the final lap and the waving of the checkered flag. Newgarden in the end came up just short, crossing the start/finish line in third place as part of the lead pack.
Newgarden’s two wins at Snetterton not only added to his growing racing resume, but also advanced the talented American to third in the title chase, 24 points back of second place.
“That was a lot of fun,” said the four-time series race winner. “Our races are so close, the crowd has got to love them. I’m really pleased with the results, now we need to keep the ball rolling.”
Newgarden and Joe Tandy Racing continue their pursuit of additional race wins and the series title on July 18-19, when the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain returns to action at the Donington Park Motor Racing Circuit with Rounds 13, 14 and 15.
Supporters, fans and media can keep abreast of Newgarden’s rookie season of European racing at www.raceroftomorrow.com