Photo credit: AltDriver

Josef Newgarden hopeful for NASCAR Cup Series start

LEBANON, Tenn. -- Tennessee native Josef Newgarden has achieved a significant amount in a racing career that includes two Indy 500 victories and two IndyCar Series championships. However, he continues to eye another racing opportunity.

"I'd love to drive a Cup car at some point," said Newgarden, who served as an honorary VIP at Sunday's Ally 400. "I used to go to Bristol races as well when I was a kid.

"Bristol has always been like, very high on my list. (Nashville) and Bristol were probably the two that I went to the most to see Cup races."

Newgarden races full-time for Team Penske, an organization fielding multiple Cup Series entries. He is technically teammates with Ryan Blaney, Austin Cindric, and Joey Logano.

It would seem that a crossover between IndyCar and NASCAR would be natural, but Newgarden has not had the opportunity to test his skills in a stock car. Chasing championships in IndyCar is simply the bigger priority for him and Team Penske.

"It's very difficult to get a 'yes' on some of these extracurricular activities," Newgarden said. "And I wish I could do more. I really do. I'm focused in on my IndyCar program. I've been able to branch out a little bit this year.

"Running the Daytona 24 with the Porsche team was really a big treat for me and I showed up at a good time. We were able to win that race. I've just slowly tried to introduce the opportunities to do other stuff, but it's tough."

Newgarden does not know if he will ever get the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Cup Series car for his first start in NASCAR. He remains hopeful but also acknowledges the hurdles he would have to overcome.

That being said, he already has a dream scenario. Newgarden would like to compete in both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, a feat Kyle Larson failed to complete this season due to heavy rainfall in two different states.

"Any racer loves to run multiple forms of motorsport," Newgarden said. "It's just difficult to do nowadays. Some people get programs put together, and I think Kyle probably has the most fluid. He's kind of everywhere and he does the most of anybody.

"But yeah, from my side, I don't know if I'll ever be able to put that together. But if I can, I would. I would love to run The Double one day."