IndyCar: 3 overreactions (and 3 truths) following the 2024 season opener

The 2024 IndyCar season is officially underway, with the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida getting things started on Sunday afternoon.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, IndyCar
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, IndyCar / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
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Not an overreaction: Josef Newgarden is the championship favorite

Josef Newgarden started the year listed second behind reigning champion Alex Palou in the championship odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, which is giving fans a $150 bonus for placing a successful $5 bet, and no driver has won two titles in a row since Dario Franchitti won three in a row from 2009 to 2011.

Newgarden still won four races last year, even as he matched his worst ever championship finish as a Team Penske driver of fifth (2017 to present). And of course, he is the reigning Indy 500 winner.

Newgarden is the series' undisputed top oval driver, winning four of five oval races last year. The fact that the 2024 schedule consists of seven ovals, something that has never been true during the 33-year-old's career before, already boded well for him.

The fact that he just dominated on a street circuit after taking his first pole since 2022, and did so in a race that saw Roger Penske's team take three of the top four spots, is an ominous sign for everyone else.

This is a team that did not win a single street race a year ago, when Newgarden finished a whopping 226 points behind champion Alex Palou in road and street course races. Yet they were in a class of their own on Sunday afternoon.

Newgarden now has 10 wins since the start of the 2022 season. Nobody else has more than six.