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Josef Newgarden makes Team Penske debut in test at Road America


It didn’t take long for Josef Newgarden to get into the swing of things with Team Penske.

Newgarden, who officially joined the Penske Verizon IndyCar Series team last week (replacing Juan Pablo Montoya), took part in his first test with his new team Monday at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Newgarden led off the day with a photo posted on Twitter below. His first run was in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet, the same livery as was run in Sonoma.

The entire Team Penske contingent of Newgarden and his new teammates – reigning IndyCar series champion Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Helio Castroneves – were among several teams that took part in the test. Pagenaud and Castroneves didn’t waste time welcoming him with some good natured social media posts.

The test was a closed event, and Newgarden did issue a statement about how the day went (via Team Penske):

“It was a great day,” Newgarden said. “There is so much to learn, but I think that’s a two-way street. I need to learn the Penske way, but I also think there are some things I can bring to the table from my experiences at ECR (Ed Carpenter Racing). The car was a little different from what I was used to, but that’s all part of the process.

“The setups for these cars can be very different from one to the next and there are different ways to drive the car. I learned a lot about how my teammates drive the car and why they do it that way. The feedback is incredible with these guys and the amount of data is amazing with four cars. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to get back out there with them. We’ll continue learning as a group throughout the offseason and be ready to go (for the 2017 season opener) in March at St. Pete.”

Newgarden will be back behind the wheel Thursday as the sole Team Penske driver taking part in a Firestone tire test at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois (near St. Louis) in preparation for IndyCar’s race return to the track next August.

Follow @JerryBonkowski