He's a good-looking 22-year-old with a sharp sense of humor, but Hendersonville's Josef Newgarden intends to let his driving do more of the talking in the Indy Racing League this year.
"There's definitely a reality check when you get to the top level. It all starts over," Newgarden said.
As a rookie in 2012, Newgarden stepped into the Indy circuit with a chip on his shoulder after dominating the developmental Indy Lights circuit the year before.
He grabbed headlines at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by posting the fastest time in Indy 500 practice but an engine failure caused him to finish 25th place in the race.
"I think I wanted to prove so badly that I deserved to be there, and that probably hinders us in some results," Newgarden said.
Going into a new season, his owners see that potential is still there with a little added maturity and sharper driving skills.
One of the ways Newgarden keeps improving off the course is with racing video games.
"Virtual video games can definitely help keep your skills sharp. It keeps those reactions up. It keeps the mental processes going right," he said. "You don't get the simulation of the feeling of the car, but everything you have to do as far as driving the car and the way you look in the corners - the way you mentally drive against other drivers on the track - it's all there."
Next week, Newgarden and the other drivers will be competing at the winding road course at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham.
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Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:42:09 GMT
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