Josef Newgarden is the top driver for Team Penske in the points standings, sitting in third place behind two representatives of Chip Ganassi Racing.

Despite winning at Texas and dramatically taking his first Indy 500 victory in May, Newgarden still sits over 80 points behind Palou in the top position.

Marcus Ericsson sits between the two in second, and the CGR’s other full time driver Scott Dixon is lurking in fifth.

Everywhere the two-time champion turns, he’s having to battle against Ganassi drivers at the front of the field. And at this point in the season, they appear to collectively be the biggest threats to his hopes of a third title.

Speaking before the event at Mid-Ohio, Newgarden relayed what he feels makes the team so hard to beat.

“They’ve definitely been consistent,” Newgarden told Motorsportweek.com. “As a team, they’ve been good everywhere.

“You see all their cars fast when they show up at tracks. That’s always a great indicator of strength, and they’ve had strength at pretty much every track type.

“They’re going to be tough to beat across the year. We’ve just got to continue to elevate our game try to match them and be better. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”

When asked if he would be able to overcome the large 81-point deficit that he currently has to Palou, Newgarden was decisive in his answer.

“Hell yeah! We might as well pack up and go home if we can’t, right?”

With just over 50 points available at any given weekend, it will take some strong performances by Newgarden, and some missteps by Palou and CGR, if he is to make good on his prediction.

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