Recently crowned Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden spent most of an hour Tuesday disproving the fact he’s a self-described “introvert.”
“I’m actually a total introvert,” he told a group of journalists gathered on the eighth floor of Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic pagoda. “You have to work at being a heightened aspect of yourself.”
The reason Newgarden’s comments seemed out of character is because he is so adept at enjoying himself around people. But he described often needing time to decompress at home following a busy race week filled with people.
“I just lay there and stare at a white wall,” he said.
Newgarden certainly has been at INDYCAR’s forefront since winning his first series championship Sept. 17 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The Team Penske driver has done a host of interviews in New York, San Francisco, Nashville, Indianapolis and Austin, Texas in an effort to celebrate that title.
Newgarden, 26, is INDYCAR's youngest champion in nearly a decade, which led to Tuesday’s interview session being built around twenty-something journalists. Students from Wabash College, Ball State University and DePauw University were among those in attendance.
Newgarden spoke to his love of movie directors, fashion and video games, stressing that he appreciates when athletes are “relatable.” Being naturally introverted is an example of that.
“I try to be relatable,” he said.