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Debate

Can Josef Newgarden's Indy 500 success translate to NASCAR's 'World's Fastest Half-Mile'? What do you think?

For fans, it is a crossover that they have only dreamt about. After all, how do you not expect excitement to rise when a driver as talented as Josef Newgarden expresses his affinity towards NASCAR? Having already won two Indy 500s in a row, the 33-year-old is on the hunt for his third IndyCar Championship. Yet, despite the many achievements in his illustrious career, Newgarden has yet to make a dream he harbors into reality. He doesn’t just want to drive a stock car someday, Newgarden wants to race at the ‘World’s Fastest Half-Mile’ at Bristol Motor Speedway and do ‘The Double’.

As things stand, Newgarden’s open-wheel duties, combined with schedule challenges and sponsorship commitments, mean that his dream won’t bear fruition anytime soon. However, that hasn’t stopped fans from hoping that the crossover will happen someday.

Josef Newgarden hopes to keep his NASCAR dreams alive

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While getting behind the wheel of a Cup Series car is pretty far, Josef Newgarden was present at Nashville Superspeedway to catch up with some NASCAR action over the weekend. The IndyCar will be ending its season at Nashville itself, however, the series was on a break last weekend. This allowed the 33-year-old to not just make it out to watch his first Cup Series race of the season on his hometown track, but also cheer on for his former middle school classmate Josh Berry, who started on the front row.

Poll of the day

Do you think Josef Newgarden can dominate NASCAR like he has in IndyCar?

Absolutely

No way

Maybe, with time

Only if he gets the right team

During the race weekend, Newgarden was asked by Motorsport.com’s Jim Utter about his desire to race in NASCAR. The driver gave a clear response, saying, “Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I’d love to drive a Cup car at some point. You know, I used to go to Bristol races as well when I was a kid. Bristol’s always been, like, very high on my list. This track and Bristol were probably the two that I went to the most see Cup races.”

 

Hailing from Hendersonville, Tennesse, Newgarden considers Bristol Motor Speedway and Nashville Superspeedway as tracks that he most desires to race on. With that, he also expressed his interest in doing ‘The Double’. The Team Penske driver said, “To do the ‘Double’ (Coke 600 and Indy 500 on the same day) would be a great opportunity. I don’t know if that will ever take shape. It’s really tough nowadays to get that all lined up. There’s a lot of people that have to get involved and come together on that. We’d love to see more people do it.”

Earlier this year, Kyle Larson attempted to run the Indy-500 and Coca-Cola 600 double, only to be thwarted by weather conditions at Charlotte Motor Speedway. While plenty of NASCAR drivers have attempted to do ‘The Double’ over the years, the only pure IndyCar driver to have achieved the feat was Tony Stewart. Josef Newgarden wants to follow in his footsteps and achieve the same feat.

Upon hearing the driver’s thoughts, similar were shared by various fans on X. A user hopefully put out; “It would be a great idea to see him, as well as other top IndyCar drivers run the big NASCAR races that don’t conflict with the IndyCar schedule, such as the Daytona 500, and possibly some races after the IndyCar season ends“. Another user highlighted how the crossover would not only lift drivers’ dreams but also help both series in reaching a wider audience; “Oh for sure! It can help each organization. I’m not even a huge Kyle Larson fan, but him attempting the Double, led to me attending my first Indy Series event afterwards“.

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Then there was a fan who could barely hold their excitement about the prospect, as they said, “Give him a Cup car asap“. However, Newgarden still has some IndyCar wins to check off his list before being able to live that asap. 

Team Penske drivers have to make IndyCar their priority

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Over the years, NASCAR fans have seen their favorite drivers attempt ‘The Double’, but IndyCar fans haven’t had the same privilege. Why? To put it simply, the Indy 500 is the biggest race on the IndyCar schedule, and even though the Coca-Cola 600 is considered to be one of NASCAR’s crown jewels, it simply doesn’t have the same appeal as, say, the Daytona 500. This hence puts drivers vying for ventures outside of IndyCar in a tough spot. As Newgarden himself emphasized how he doesn’t get approval for “extracurricular activities”.

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Josef Newgarden’s former teammate Helio Castroneves has long desired to participate in the Daytona 500, but couldn’t do so because of the higher-ups at Team Penske. And talking in regards to his Double Dreams, Newgarden optimistically explained that maybe if he wins a few more Indy 500 then the higher-ups at Team Penske might just give permission. “I’m kind of like strategizing that if we win enough Indy 500s, then maybe they’ll just have to say ‘yes.’ Like I think that’s the strategy,” Newgarden said. “We got two now, like how many do you need for an automatic ‘yes’ on that?”

While IndyCar will always remain at the top of Josef Newgarden’s priority, he hopes to someday make the grueling 1,100 miles run across two iconic races in two separate states before the curtains are closed on his storied career. Do you think Newgarden will be the first IndyCar driver to pull the double in reverse? Let us know in the comments.