Josef Newgarden’s second place finish at the 45th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach adds to his robust start of his 2019 NTT IndyCar Series campaign.

The 28-year-old from Hendersonville, Tennessee has claimed three podiums this year on the strength of a win at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Following that is are two seconds – one coming in today’s race at Long Beach and another coming at the Circuit of the Americas. His only finish outside the top three was a fourth at Barber and he now finds himself 28 points ahead of Alexander Rossi heading into the Month of May.

Newgarden acknowledged that fortune falling his way has been essential to his strong start.

“We've had certainly a lot of good fortune this year compared to last year,” he said. “We haven't had any yellows go away from us. Seemed like last year every other race towards the end of the season, we couldn't get the strategy right, we couldn't get the breaks when we needed them.

“This year it seems to be flowing pretty easily. We're not getting odd yellows or mix-ups that put us back those couple places. It's been very solid.”

His second-place finish at Long Beach was the result of smart tactics rather than flat out pace. With race winner Alexander Rossi holding the upper hand most of the day, strategery was Newgarden’s only hope to pick up position.

The critical moment for the 2017 series champion came on the first round of pitstops when he stayed out three extra laps. That allowed him to make up time and overtake second and third place runners Scott Dixon and Will Power.

The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet hung on to second place the remainder of the day as Rossi took the win.

“Today was really a nice race, really well-executed by the boys,” he said. “They did a good job. We'll take a P2. Alex was too quick. Him and Andretti did a great job. Congrats to them for the win. Just a little bit short. We'll try to find that performance for the next race.”

Next on Newgarden’s agenda is the IndyCar Grand Prix and the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. History is not in his favour at the GP as he has yet to score a top ten at the 2.439-mile infield road course.

His results in the 500 have been better in recent years with three top tens coming in the last four years with the highest being a third in 2016. With essential two races ahead at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Newgarden doesn't plan on letting his guard down.

“Just have a solid race," he said. "We probably should have finished second there last year, but I made a mistake last year. Just don't do that and you'll be fine."

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