ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Following a vicious two-car incident earlier this month in the opening laps of the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway for the Verizon IndyCar Series, Josef Newgarden was cleared for practice at Road America on Friday.
Newgarden, the 25-year-old, Hendersonville, Tenn. competitor suffered a fractured clavicle and small fracture in his right hand during the incident, however, was able to compete in this afternoon’s session in preparation for the KOHLER Grand Prix.
During the two practices, Newgarden ran 30 total laps, posting the 15th overall fastest time in his No. 21 Direct Supply/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.
“Both hands hurt overall,” Newgarden said once jumping from his machine.”But I think the clavicle will hold up. It’s a little sore, but I think it will be okay for the weekend.”
“I feel the pain in the hands everywhere. I think the clavicle has been surprisingly better than I thought. Braking and going into the corners is not much of an issue. It’s going to be sore, but I think I can manage the pain.”
Despite having some pains, the two-time IndyCar Series victor did explain his pain levels have decreased drastically since leaving the local Texas hospital on June 12th.
“I’m more optimistic than yesterday,” Newgarden explained.. “I’m happy I was able to run today and see how I can get into the car. I think we have some more work over the weekend trying to get the performance where we need to from a car standpoint.”
Like most racecar drivers, however, pain is not at the forefront of the 2011 Indy Lights Series champion’s mind. Instead, he is worried about preparing his car and finishing the best he can in his debut at the Road America circuit, a 4.084-mile road course.
“I think we got a lot away from the car perspective,” he added. “I am more focused about that more than what I’m dealing with. I think I can manage the pain over the weekend, but I’m more concerned with the car.”
Newgarden, like the rest of the paddock, now is preparing for qualifications at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin circuit — which are slated for 2:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday with live coverage on NBC Sports Network.
About the Writer
Marshall Gabell is the Mid-Atlantic Correspondent for Race Chaser Online, and was also formerly the public relations director for NASCAR Next member Austin Hill. Gabell is currently attending Stephen Decatur High School in Ocean City, Maryland, completing his sophomore year. He is just 15 years old.
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