Newgarden avoids opening lap crash at Portland

PORTLAND, Oregon — IndyCar points leader Josef Newgarden dropped to the back of the field at the start of Sunday's race at Portland International Raceway to avoid a multi-car crash in the opening turn.

Newgarden had a poor qualifying effort for the penultimate race for the season and started 13th, in the middle of a dicey pack of cars all jockeying for track position at the drop of the green flag. As expected, the course became clogged, and an aggressive move by Graham Rahal triggered a multi-car accident.

Among those collected were Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammates James Hinchcliffe and Conor Daly, who was in a rare live tryout for that seat next season.

All four of the championship contenders avoided the accident. Newgarden began the race with a 38-point lead over Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud.

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