Ed Carpenter believes that Josef Newgarden will always be a contender for the championship because he’s a challenger for victory on all types of track.
The driver/team owner, who this weekend is racing for only the third time in 2016, says his full-time driver at Ed Carpenter Racing is capable of finishing the season in the top five in the championship in perpetuity.
Carpenter told Motorsport.com: “I feel like Josef’s going to be one of those guys in the picture as far as the championship is concerned for as long as he’s in a good car
“He’s turned into a very well-rounded driver, one of the best. No matter the type of circuit – street, road, short ovals and speedways – he’s strong. And there’s only a handful of guys who you can say that about.
“He’s consistent enough across all disciplines to be running for wins every time out.”
Newgarden finished seventh in last year’s title race, but scored the first two wins of his IndyCar career, which began in 2012. This season, although Newgarden has yet to win a race, his consistency has put him fourth in the points table at the halfway mark.
On the subject of Newgarden’s more regular competitiveness, Carpenter said: “I think a lot of that comes down to him knowing what he wants from the car on any given track.
“He’s experienced enough to know what works and what doesn’t, so he can sends the engineering staff and the whole team in the right direction. He doesn’t go up a lot of blind avenues before getting the right one.”
Asked if Newgarden could retain his current fourth place through to season’s end, Carpenter replied: “I think so. For sure, we expect to be in that mix. We’re in a good position right now.
“But my mentality is to keep everyone on the team from looking at the points table! We need to keep doing what we’re doing, approach every race weekend the same – which is going out to be the best we can and to try and win races.
“As soon as you start points racing, it ends up backfiring. We’re out to win, all the time.”