As we prepare for the start of the 2021 IndyCar season, take a look at 25 of the greatest drivers who have ever competed in the series.
Who are the greatest 25 drivers ever to compete in IndyCar and other levels at the top of American open-wheel racing? Here’s our list as of the start of the 2021 season.
NOTE: Drivers from all eras considered.
Top IndyCar drivers of all-time: #25 – Josef Newgarden
I can’t ignore Josef Newgarden simply because “he hasn’t been around long enough” or some other ridiculous excuse. What he has been able to do over the last few seasons has earned him a spot on this list, even over several other deserving drivers from last century who aren’t listed. There’s only room for 25.
First of all, Newgarden is here for far more than “potential”. He went from “next” to “now” several years ago, and he has only gotten better. In his first season with Team Penske, he won the 2017 championship, and he added a second title in 2019.
While he didn’t win the 2020 title, he came very close to overcoming a massive points deficit to do so, and he rightfully believed that the 2020 season was actually his best. He reached 18 wins before turning 30 in December.
No, he still hasn’t won an Indy 500. But I’d be surprised if we can say that for much longer, and if we end up being able to, he is well-positioned to become the greatest IndyCar driver never to win the race.
Yes, I know Michael Andretti is basically the undisputed king of that list. But Newgarden already has twice the number of championships Andretti did, and he appears to just be getting started.
If Newgarden doesn’t end up with at least three more championships before his career is over, I’d be surprised. He has everything he needs to jump into the top 10 on this list within the next few years.