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Flashback: Patty’s interview with Josef Newgarden and his animal rescue story

Long before Josef Newgarden won the Indy 500, he had his heart won over by none other than a shelter cat.

Today, Patty Spitler reflects on meeting and interviewing Newgarden in 2013, sharing stories about her interview with him and how Newgarden, a “big animal lover,” rescued a kitten during the Grand Prix in Baltimore, Maryland.

Newgarden shared with Patty that during his time in Baltimore, he volunteered for the “Show Your Soft Side” anti-animal abuse campaign, where he posed with a kitten from the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

Even after the campaign was over, Newgarden tells Patty he wasn’t able to get the cat off of his mind. “I didn’t adopt him right away, but I knew I wanted to adopt him,” Newgarden said.

Newgarden talks about working with the Baltimore Animal Rescue Center, simply asking them if they could “work something out” so he could adopt the cat. With a lot of help from unexpected places, including help from Honda and Southwest Airlines, Newgarden was reunited with the cat in Nashville.

Patty joked with Newgarden, saying after he wins several 500s and retires, he could add a couple of dogs to the mix.

Newgarden excitedly agreed. “Absolutely. You know, winning a couple Indianapolis 500s and getting a couple dogs – that sounds like a great plan.”