Watch out IndyCar! The Oval King has fixed road and street course struggles

The 2024 season opener saw Team Penske's main man break a nearly two-year duck

-

Josef Newgarden was the king of turning left in IndyCar in 2023 but now he seems to have mastered the right turns too.

The Nashville native took a superb pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session and never looked troubled on his way to victory in the 2024 season-opening Grand Prix of St Pete, his first on a road or street course since Road America in 2022.

Newgarden did win four times in 2023 but all came on ovals with two at Iowa, one at Texas and the one Roger Penske wanted more than any other, the Indy 500.

Josef Newgarden, Pato O’Ward and Scott McLaughlin on the 2024 IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Podium | Penske Entertainment: James Black
Josef Newgarden, Pato O’Ward and Scott McLaughlin on the 2024 IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Podium | Penske Entertainment: James Black

While the Team Penske driver was never under serious pressure, he had to keep the pace up to prevent McLaren’s Pato O’Ward getting close enough to attack, the Mexican bringing home second to kickstart his campaign.

Scott McLaughlin made it two Penske cars on the podium thanks to some bold overtakes through a rather stagnant field for IndyCar’s standards with his teammate Will Power fourth ahead of Colton Herta and 2023 champion Alex Palou, who recovered a poor qualifying for the Chip Ganassi team.

Chevrolet edge Honda?

The engine battle in IndyCar has long been Honda vs Chevrolet and there has been little to split the two in these current regulations but maybe now there is a clear leader.

The three Penske cars and O’Ward’s McLaren saw Chevy lock out the top four spots while Herta and Palou led the Honda charge, unable to keep up with those ahead once the overtakes were made.

Chevy also had a slight advantage on ovals in 2023 and if they have managed to maintain that, it could be a long season for the Honda-powered cars, such as Chip Ganassi and Andretti Autosport.

Things could change dramatically after the Indianapolis 500 in May, however, with the hybrid technology finally coming 18 months after it was originally planned but if Newgarden and co. put this kind of display on every time, the title could be out of Honda’s hands already.

Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Results 2024

Pos.NameTeam
1Josef NewgardenTeam Penske
2Pato O’WardArrow McLaren
3Scott McLaughlinTeam Penske
4Will PowerTeam Penske
5Colton HertaAndretti Autosport
6Alex PalouChip Ganassi Racing
7Felix RosenqvistMeyer Shank Racing
8Alexander RossiArrow McLaren
9Scott DixonChip Ganassi Racing
10Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter Racing
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis is a motorsport journalist with experience working in BTCC. He is the resident IndyCar correspondent for Total-Motorsport.com and a top class F1 writer.
- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Max Verstappen 1 at the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

F1 Driver Ratings — 2024 British GP

0
Lewis Hamilton finally ended his long wait for a race victory at the Formula 1 2024 British GP as...
George Russell leads the field into Turn 1 at the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

F1 Winners and Losers from the British GP

0
Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious in one of the most memorable races in recent Formula 1 history, which begs the...
Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton masterclass proves he can take fight to Verstappen

0
Lewis Hamilton basked in the glory of his long-awaited victory at the British Grand Prix, celebrating in front of...
Max Verstappen looks on at the 2024 Austrian GP | Chris Graythen / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen rues ‘poor’ British GP as Red Bull battle rare issue

0
Max Verstappen conceded it was a "poor afternoon" for Red Bull at the Formula 1 2024 British Grand Prix...
Lando Norris with engineers at 2024 British GP | McLaren F1 Team

Are McLaren becoming ‘new Ferrari’ after another strategy blunder?

0
Lando Norris' media appearances after the British GP were a genuinely tough watch, with reporters seemingly counselling the 24-year-old...
Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes Max Verstappen on the podium after the 2024 British Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Lewis Hamilton: British GP win more crucial to Mercedes than Russell victory

0
Lewis Hamilton explained why he felt his victory at the Formula 1 2024 British Grand Prix on Sunday was...
Carlos Sainz at the 2024 Austrian GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

F1 2024 British GP – Fastest Lap

0
Carlos Sainz snatched the fastest lap at the 2024 British GP at the final opportunity as an all-time classic...
Lando Norris during 2024 British GP | McLaren F1 Team

F1 Standings after 2024 British Grand Prix

0
An emotional 2024 British Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton take a record-breaking win at Silverstone, outsmarting Lando Norris and...
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 British Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 2024 British GP: Driver of the Day

0
There is a reason why the British Grand Prix remains the hottest attraction on the Formula 1 calendar and...
Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

Hamilton outsmarts Verstappen and Norris to clinch record-breaking British GP win

0
Lewis Hamilton finally celebrated on the top step of the podium after a dramatic finale to the Formula 1...
- Advertisment -