Josef Newgarden is bracing himself for a “very close fight” through the final four races of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season as he bids for a maiden drivers’ title.

Newgarden took the lead of the championship after back-to-back wins in Toronto and Mid-Ohio, leading a close-knit group of six drivers that are covered by just 58 points.

The American has made a significant impact on Team Penske during his first season with the team, having joined from Ed Carpenter Racing at the end of last year.

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With all three of his teammates - Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves - in championship contention, Newgarden is under no illusions of the challenge he faces if he is to win the title.

However, the fine margins between the front-runners in 2017 is not prompting Newgarden to change his approach at all.

“I think you approach it the same way. You still have to have solid race weekends without any errors or problems,” Newgarden said.

“I think you need to be having solid points finishes. And I think for us, if we can capitalize on more wins, we'll do that. If we have a car capable, if we're as a team of winning the race, then we'll try and still do that. If not, then we'll try and secure as many points as possible.

“For me I don't really approach it differently regardless of the situation, but for sure it is a very close fight, and we'll most likely ,with the way it's been shaking up, come down to Sonoma.

“So [I’m] just trying to stay as close to the lead or extend the lead as much as possible. It’s only going to help at the end of the day when you get to Sonoma.”