The 28-year-old American made his Race Of Champions debut in Riyadh 12 months ago following a breakthrough IndyCar Series campaign that saw him win the title in his first season with Team Penske.
Newgarden’s career has been a little different to most of his American contemporaries. Although ultimately a product of the country’s Road to Indy programme that acted as a springboard to his IndyCar career, the Tennessee native’s formative years were actually spent in Europe where his Formula Ford exploits didn’t go unnoticed.
However, following a tough 2010 season in GP3, Newgarden opted to return home and relaunch his career in Indy Lights. The championship title duly followed and in 2012 he graduated to America’s premier open-wheel series, IndyCar.
Newgarden’s potential was immediately obvious but it wasn’t until 2016, when he finished fourth in points with the little-fancied Ed Carpenter Racing, that he was offered a chance with one of the series’ big boys: Team Penske.
Graduating to one of US motorsport’s most revered teams didn’t faze Newgarden who took on and beat team-mate and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud, as well as perennial championship favourites Will Power and Helio Castroneves, on equal terms to claim the 2017 title. He finished fifth overall in 2018.