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NEWGARDEN, CFH RACING CAPTURE THE VICTORY AT THE HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA

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LEEDS, Ala. (April 27, 2015) – A beautiful spring afternoon in the hills outside of Birmingham became the perfect backdrop for the celebration of Josef Newgarden’s first Verizon IndyCar Series win. The 24-year-old from Hendersonville, Tenn. drove his Chevrolet to the front of the field in Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama to claim first victory of his career. The win was also the first for CFH Racing since team owners Ed Carpenter, Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman combined their respective teams over the offseason.

The CFH Racing teammates had a successful qualifying session on Saturday around the 2.38-mile permanent road course of Barber Motorsports Park with both drivers earning their best starting position of the year. Luca Filippi would roll off the grid from the 9th starting position in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Award Wining Vodka Chevrolet, while Newgarden was two rows in front, starting 5th.

Newgarden made his intent to win known immediately, passing Simon Pagenaud and Scot Dixon as the field streamed into Turn 1 after the green flag. Before the first lap was even completed, he gained another position when he out-maneuvered Will Power coming out of Turn 17. Filippi also moved up on the start and settled into 8th.

On Lap 19, Newgarden and race leader Helio Castroneves dropped into the pit lane for their first stops of the race. The No. 67 Hartman Oil crew switched Newgarden to black Firestone Firehawk tires quickly enough to beat the No. 3 of Castroneves off of the pit lane.

A full course caution immediately followed their stops, catching Filippi out as he was preparing to make his first stop. Filippi, running in 3rd at the time of the caution, had to wait until the pits were reopened on Lap 22. As the entire field completed their first round of stops, Newgarden cycled into 1st and Filippi fell to 14th.

Newgarden led the field to the restart on Lap 24 over Castroneves and Graham Rahal. A few clean laps were followed by another full course caution on Lap 34, sending Newgarden back into the pit lane for his second stop of the race. The team believed they were within the window to be able to complete the race on one more stop later in the event.  Castroneves remained on the same strategy as Newgarden, but this time the No. 3 beat the No. 67 out of the pits. The yellow flag split the strategy of the field, with half of the cars electing to stay out, including Filippi.

The next restart on Lap 39 saw Filippi take the green from the 7th position and Newgarden from 14th. Filippi moved around both Jack Hawksworth and Pagenaud for 5th, while Newgarden focused on getting around Castroneves to move back to the first car in line on their strategy.  His goal was accomplished within the lap, when he masterfully overtook Castroneves coming out of Turn 16.

Both CFH cars moved up the order as the second round of pit stops cycled through, with Filippi pitting from 2nd on Lap 50.  He came out in heavy traffic, shuffling him back to 20th. Filippi would race his way back through the field and moved all the way back up to 9th before his final stop on Lap 70.

Meanwhile, Newgarden regained the lead on Lap 51, ahead of Castroneves and Dixon. Newgarden’s last stop came on Lap 63, one lap ahead of Dixon’s final stop who was running in second. After final pit stops, Newgarden cycled back to the lead on Lap 70 and began building a lead that reached as high as seven seconds. A hard-charging Rahal caught Dixon on the final lap, but neither driver had anything for Newgarden.

Newgarden took the checkered flag 2.2 seconds ahead of Rahal, adding his name to the record books as a Verizon IndyCar Series race winner. Filippi fought hard until the end of the race, narrowly missing out on another Top 10 finish as he brought the No. 20 home in 11th.

POST-RACE NOTES

– Newgarden led a field-high 46 laps, more than double his total laps led over his career.
– He earned 53 points yesterday, 50 for the race win and three for leading the most laps. He vaults up to 4th in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings, only 17 points out of the championship lead.
– Filippi moved up one spot in the point standings and now sits 14th.
– The win was the 6th for CFH Racing. The team’s last win came at Toronto in 2014 with Mike Conway.
– CFH Racing will return to the track this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the debut of the oval track aero kits on Sunday, May 3. Team co-owner Ed Carpenter, who will be stepping into the No. 20 car, and J.R. Hildebrand, joining the team in the No. 6 Preferred Freezer car, will participate in the test with Newgarden.
– The team’s next race will be the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, held on Saturday, May 9 on the 2.434-mile, 14-turn road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. CFH Racing will enter Newgarden, Filippi, and Hildebrand in the second-annual event.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 67 HARTMAN OIL CHEVROLET, FINISHED 1ST: “I can’t tell you how nervous I was! In racing I am normally not, but this win has just been such a long timeI knew that one of these days it was going to happen with this CFH Racing because they are so solid.  I just can’t think everybody enough that gave me an IndyCar job – Wink Hartman, Sarah Fisher, Libba Hartman and Andy O’Gara.  Now, I have Ed Carpenter and Stuart Reed from Fuzzy’s Vodka and it’s unbelievable what this team has turned into. I just want to thank them and everyone on our car.  Chevrolet was incredible; I was getting crazy fuel mileage with such a fast pace.  I really don’t know what to say! I am just so happy that we have great partners, great owners, incredible team and group.  Finally, we’ve won a race!”

LUCA FILIPPI, NO. 20 FUZZY’S AWARD WINNING VODKA CHEVROLET, FINISHED 11TH: “It was a great day for the whole CFH Racing team. Everybody did a superb job to give Josef Newgarden his first win, the first one of many! From our side, the No. 20 was extremely fast but that untimely yellow ruined our day. The race was looking very good before that and our pace was strong throughout the day. 11th is not a fair result for our performance, but I’m sure at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis we will have our chance.”

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