Note: This is part of a series of NTT INDYCAR SERIES team previews for the 2023 season.
Starting Lineup: Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet), Scott McLaughlin (No. 3 DEX Imaging Chevrolet), Will Power (No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet).
2022 in Review: It’s always an unfulfilled season for Team Penske when it doesn’t win the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, the main annual goal of team owner Roger Penske. But by all other measures, last year was a huge success for the legendary organization fielding three cars. Power won his second career series championship, holding off Newgarden as both drivers delivered excellent drives in the season-ending race, the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Power’s victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear gave him 41 career race wins, pulling him within one of Michael Andretti for fourth place on the sport’s all-time list. That day, Power drove from the 16th starting position, tying the furthest he’s come to victory in his career. Power’s season also featured a record-setting 68th career pole, which he won at the season-ending race. Power won the pole for four of the season’s final seven races to catch and surpass Mario Andretti’s all-time career mark (67 poles). Power, like Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, completed all 2,268 laps during the season. Newgarden won five races, including three on oval tracks, one on a street circuit (his first at Long Beach) and one on a permanent road course, earning the $1 million bonus from the new PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge. Finally, there was McLaughlin’s breakout season. In his second season as a full-time series driver, he won the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding from the pole, the first of his three race victories. He also won the Honda Indy 200 Presented by the All-New 2023 Civic Type R at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Grand Prix of Portland to finish fourth in the final standings.
New for ’23: Consistency is largely the name of the game at Team Penske, but Newgarden will again have a new race engineer, his third in as many seasons. Luke Mason, a former Carlin Racing performance engineer who held the same role with Newgarden’s car last year, follows Gavin Ward and Eric Leichtle in leading the No. 2 car.
Keep an Eye on This: It probably can’t be done, but Newgarden still believes he can win 10 races in a season. Beating his teammates must be his first priority, and it won’t be easy as they combined to win nine of the 17 races last season (Newgarden five, McLaughlin three, Power one). Only two drivers in the sport’s history have won 10 races in a season: A.J. Foyt in 1964 and Al Unser in 1970.
Little-Known Fact: The recent announcement that Verizon is continuing its partnership with Team Penske wasn’t a surprise, but its longevity with Power’s car is reaching legendary status. Power has driven a Team Penske car in 222 events since the start of the 2009 season, and Verizon has been the primary sponsor for all but five of them. Four of Power’s six starts in 2009 carried the livery of Penske Truck Rental.