Newgarden’s diverse skills behind the wheel put him on the verge of helping charities Wags & Walks and Serious Fun Camps.

By Steve Wittich

In January, PeopleReady, a partner of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and specialists in providing quick and reliable on-demand labor and highly skilled workers, announced the generous Force for Good Challenge. The season-long challenge offers a $1 million prize for any driver that can win at least one race on a natural terrain road course, street circuit, and oval.

With wins on the Texas Motor Speedway oval and at the Long Beach street circuit, Newgarden has completed two-thirds of the challenge in only three races.

I haven’t really thought about it,” said Newgarden, playing it cool when TSO asked about it after his Long Beach win. “A couple of people said it to me in Victory Lane, and I was like, if it happens, it happens.”

Newgarden’s charities of choice are Wags and Walks and Serious Fun Camps. Both are charities that are close to the Tennessean. Newgarden and his wife Ashley adopted their dog, Axel, from Wags and Walks, and Serious Fun Camps have been the beneficiary of his annual charity ping-pong event.

Josef Newgarden at the 2021 edition of his annual charity ping-pong event (Photo Courtesy of Penske Entertainment – Chris Owens)

Newgarden will have seven chances – Barber Motorsports Park, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course (twice), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Portland International Raceway, Road America, and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca – to win the generous prize.

The soon-to-be dad has won at four of the six natural terrain road courses the series will visit, including three wins at Barber Motorsports Park, the next opportunity Newgarden will have to collect the PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge prize.

Newgarden’s 22 NTT INDYCAR SERIES wins are spread relatively evenly among the three circuit types, with nine wins on ovals, seven on natural terrain road courses, and six on street circuits.

“It makes me feel like a real INDYCAR driver, to be honest with you,” said Newgarden when TSO asked him what it means to be equally competent on all types of tracks. “I think that’s what makes our sport great. We talk about it a lot, but it’s the truth. The thing that sets INDYCAR apart is the diversity of the racing. We love having the best of the best from around the world and having to compete on all types of tracks, and having to master all disciplines. If you can’t master all disciplines, then it’s so difficult to succeed in this sport.”

Winning on all three types of circuits is nothing new to Newgarden, who completed the task in 2017 and 2020.

Newgarden has already helped his charities, with PeopleReady splitting $10,000 with the team, driver, and charities for every race they win.

Josef Newgarden celebrates his second win of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season (Photo Courtesy of Penske Entertainment- Joe Skibinski)