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Newgarden finds familiarity in an unfamiliar place

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Rookie Josef Newgarden heads to the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 this weekend for his first IZOD IndyCar Series race outside of the U.S., and the 21-year-old driver is looking forward to the Brazilian street course because of the similarities it has with another international circuit at which he does have experience: the famed Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Monza, Italy.

“The circuit in Sao Paulo reminds me of Monza with the way the straights work,” Newgarden said. “I thought Monza was a great track, so I’m really excited to get to Brazil.”

With three events in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar series under his belt, Newgarden and the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team find themselves in 22nd position in driver point standings. Newgarden started on the outside of the front row in the series’ last race in the Streets of Long Beach, Calif., but had contact with driver Dario Franchitti on the first turn of the first lap that ended his day.

“I’ve been thinking about Brazil since the day after the race in Long Beach,” Newgarden said. “The package that we’ve had at other street races this year is going to work well in Brazil.”

Newgarden is looking forward to tackling the 11-turn temporary street circuit in his No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone car.

“With the long straights we’ll see high speeds from some drivers, and there are big braking zones,” Newgarden said. “It’s certainly something that suits my driving style.”

Notes:

  • New kids on the block: Both Josef Newgarden and his Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team are new to Brazil. 2012 will mark Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s debut race in the Streets of Sao Paulo. SFHR and Newgarden have had strong showings on the other two street circuits of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar series season however, and expect to have an equally strong package for the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300.
  • Dollar General will join Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing to sponsor the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone car for the 2012 Indianapolis 500. SFHR scored its first-ever victory in 2011 at Kentucky Speedway with Dollar General onboard as a primary sponsor.
  • Newgarden had fun with fans at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach when he went incognito to interview them about himself and the Sarah Fisher Hartman Race Team. It turns out race fans can have a difficult time identifying drivers when they aren’t dressed in their firesuits. Watchthe video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdcF1km_eiA&feature=youtu.be
  • SFHR team owners Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman hired USAC open wheel star Bryan Clauson to drive a second car for the team in the 2012 Indianapolis 500. Clauson will join SFHR for the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program on Thursday, May 10.
  • Event Broadcast Schedule:

    The Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 will air live on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) beginning at 11 a.m. ET Sunday, April 29.

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