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Josef Newgarden scores another dominant win at Iowa Speedway

by racedaysaeditor | Posted on Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Josef Newgarden celebrates after winning the Iowa Corn 300. Photo by Chris Owens

 

Courtesy of the NTT IndyCar Series

NEWTON, Iowa – The hour of day at Iowa Speedway was different, but the domination by Josef Newgarden was not. And this time, he won the Iowa 300.

Josef Newgarden. Photo by Joe Skibinski

For the fourth time in five years, Newgarden led the most laps in the race at the NTT IndyCar Series’ smallest track. Last year, he led 229 of the 300 laps but settled for a fourth-place finish. This time he went to victory lane by leading 245 laps in Team Penske’s No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet.

In 2016, Newgarden led 282 laps in an Ed Carpenter Racing car – he won that race — and in 2015 he led 111 laps and finished second.

Newgarden capped this victory, his fourth of the season and the 14th of his career, at 2:14 a.m. ET due to a pair of rain delays.

Josef Newgarden. Photo by Joe Skibinski

RESULTS: Iowa 300

The start of the race was delayed four and a half hours due to severe weather, including lightning and heavy rain. The green flag finally waved at 11:45 p.m. ET.

A brief shower at 12:12 a.m. ET led to a red flag at Lap 55. Newgarden was leading then, having passed teammate Will Power amid traffic in Turn 1.

Newgarden admitted being sour after qualifying third Friday behind his teammates, polesitter Simon Pagenaud and Power. But he regrouped and refocused, channeling that energy to getting the car ready to race.

Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden and James Hinchcliffe. Photo by Chris Owens

“I’m much happier tonight, I can tell you that,” Newgarden said. “I was really a little bit frustrated yesterday just because I knew we had a pole-winning car. We didn’t put it together. It’s competitive.”

The victory allowed Newgarden to extend his series points lead to 29 over Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, who finished sixth. Newgarden lapped Rossi on Lap 185, although Rossi battled back to make it interesting for a few laps.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon finished second for the fifth time this season in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda after falling a lap off the pace early in the race. The recovery came as a result of smart pit strategy initiated by the crew – they gave him new tires on Lap 268 — and it keyed Dixon’s 45th career second-place finish. The five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion has now finished first or second in 90 of his 316 career starts (28.4 percent).

The start of the Iowa Corn 300. Photo by Stephen King

It was quite the comeback.

“Huge credit to the team,” Dixon said. “They (left) me out pretty long before the last caution. It enabled us to stay on the lead lap, get that lucky yellow, get new tires. (We) had a good restart, were able to (pass) some cars. … We were actually probably going to be happy with a top 14 or 15 (finish), so that was pretty stellar.”

Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe, who won last year’s race, finished third in the No. 5 Arrow Honda. The top-three finish was his first since this race a year ago.

“For all the fans that stayed out, weathered the storm – literally – huge thanks,” Hinchcliffe said. “I think it was well worth the wait. Hopefully everybody that did come and stayed for the race enjoyed the show. It felt pretty exciting from where we were sitting.”

Cars going three wide at the Iowa Corn 300. Photo by Chris Owens

To watch today’s race highlights, visit https://youtu.be/JDTU25xXCw4.

Next up is the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Rossi won last year’s race in convincing fashion, but recent history suggests there will be a different winner. The past six races have seen six different drivers reach victory lane, including Dixon, who in 2014 won for a record fifth time on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course.

The race will air July 28 on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network at 3:30 p.m. ET.

 

‘What They’re Saying’ from Iowa 300

TOP 10 FINISHERS:

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “Let me thank the fans that stayed. I’m sorry it took so long, but glad we got it in tonight. We can’t help the weather. My guys were awesome on the Hitachi car. Team Penske, Team Chevy, I can’t thank them enough. We had three fast cars. I wanted to be the fastest. We succeeded tonight. The car was great. You had to be good in traffic, and we were pumped for the guys. They worked really hard. It was nice to have it under the lights. I think if the weather didn’t come, we weren’t going to be under the lights. We just have to keep going. It’s early. This helps tonight, but it’s never enough. You never have enough points. We just have to stay on top of it.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I just have to thank the team. We just tried to go long on that last long run, and luckily, we caught the yellow and it kept us on the lead lap, and there were only nine cars on the lead lap. Honestly, (to be) second…I thought we would be 22nd. Tonight, we just burnt up the tires quickly and both myself and the No. 10 really struggled. I can’t thank everyone enough on the PNC Bank team. The strategy was great. We didn’t quite get the win, but oh my gosh, that’s crazy, but I’ll take it.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “We started inside the top five, which was good. Had a lot of really good battles on track; we raced really hard with Spencer (Pigot), which was a lot of fun. There was a lot of close calls out there. The cars changed a lot as the track kind of rubbered in. Went loose, push, it was a little bit of everything; dirty air, clean air. The second lane came in nicely at the end, so the racing was good. I want to thank everybody at Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, the No. 5 car was stout – it’s nice to be back on the podium. Big time thanks to the fans for staying out here through the weather; I hope you guys enjoyed the show.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “I think Josef (Newgarden) was tremendous tonight, to be honest. We had a great car, just too much understeer all race long. We were in trouble with that, so quite frankly, that is the pace we had, I think. (Scott) Dixon did a great job with tires at the end. I think we got the best out of tonight.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “It was a tough race, as always. With it cooling down, it was tougher to make passes as everyone had a little bit more grip. It just speaks to how well the car was handling tonight. The No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet was really good, I can’t thank the guys enough from rebounding from qualifying. At times, we were really strong. That last restart, I couldn’t get up to speed as quick as some of the guys. We’ll have to see where we can improve there, but overall, a good recovery. I am very happy to get back into the top 5.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “Tonight was a hit. We knew this was going to be a hard one for us and it was. We got as many points as we could and that kind of became the name of the game from there on. From where we knew we were yesterday, I think the team did a good job of maximizing what we had. This is one tracks where we are missing something to the competition.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “Tonight was relieving in a little way, but there’s still a lot more to be done. I can’t thank my Gainbridge crew enough. We had a puddle of fuel in our pit box after we pushed out to the grid. They identified exactly what it was and worked extremely quick and got me back to the grid with the 10-minute call to get suited and strapped in. Really, this is for them. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have had tonight. It was one of those where you had to be the most aggressive person to get the spots. I think we had one restart towards the end of the race where I dove to the inside of (Turn) 3 and I thought our race was over then. Luckily, I came together with my teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and he kind of saved both us because it was such a tight corner. That is the way short track racing is – you are going to be wheel to wheel here and there.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 One Cure Honda): “We had a pretty good night going for most of the night. We had a little bit of a struggle early on with the balance. We had a lot of understeer early in the race, but I think we fought pretty hard tonight. We had an engine issue for the last 100 laps or so. When we tried to get by (Alexander) Rossi was when it started to appear. It was something with the injectors or left-side header, but we were losing power. As people could see, on the last restart we just got run over. We had no power. The guys did an amazing job with the pit stops and that last pit stop was awesome. Our luck will change at some point. Mid-Ohio is next week and I’m excited to go home.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “We came here with a goal to finish in the top 10 and I think it was a good day for us despite a couple mistakes we made during the race. We still managed to finish in the top 10, so good day, good start. Still have a lot of work to do though.”

REMAINDER OF FIELD (ALPHABETICAL):

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda): “It was a nightmare of a night for us. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but we think we picked up some debris during that first yellow. The car was just never right after that – a real handful. We tried a few things, but just couldn’t get it back. Thanks to the guys for doing all they could. We’ll come back swinging next weekend.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “I am really disappointed. The No. 20 Autogeek Chevrolet was strong tonight. Even though we started so far back, we made our way through the field more than once. To have our race end this way is very frustrating. A job well done by Spencer Pigot for getting ECR another top 5 at Iowa.”

CONOR DALY (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “I’ve never finished a race at Iowa, so it’s cool to have a car and the confidence to do what we were doing out there tonight. We were fighting in a really good spot with the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. We were up there quite a ways, and realistically, would’ve liked to have been in the top 10 and probably should’ve been in the top 10. We took a gamble there at the end with tires and the No. 19 car definitely jumped that last restart, which sort of messed things up for us. It is what it is and I’m just super happy to get through another weekend like we did and make progress. This place is just so hard and our result is a testament to the team and how hard we’re working together.”

MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I think most of the race was pretty good, the Arrow car was really competitive again today. I had a really good car underneath me. The first stint was really good, we were moving up through the field before the red flag. Then I think at some point in the middle of the race, I was struggling a bit, getting stuck behind slower cars, which put me a bit out of sync, so I lost a couple of positions there. The second half of the race, again, we were super strong and going in the right direction for a solid top-five finish. Unfortunately, I made a mistake at pit entry and we got the stop-and-go penalty, which ruined the chance for a top five or even a fight for a podium. It’s very disappointing when we had such a good car. Again, I learned a lot out there, made a lot of passes, a lot of good battles, so that was really fun, just really disappointed to not get a result out of it.” 

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): “I think for my first short oval, it was definitely a tough one for us. I do believe that we had some of the best moves of the race, especially on some of the restarts. We had a super solid car in the first stint. But for the rest of the stints, towards the end of them, the No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing car was just really loose and really hard to drive. From there, I kind of struggled to keep it on the track in Turns 3 and 4, so we just managed what we could until the end.” (About the start of the race): “At the start, Pancho (Carter, spotter) said that it was possible to pass three rows here and he wasn’t telling lies. Everybody went low and checked up and no one was in that third lane and I wasn’t afraid of possible weepers, probably because I’m too new. I just kept my foot in it, passed a lot of cars and made my way forward.”

COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda): “Very disappointing day for the No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing team. We had a pretty good run throughout most of the race, but not enough to run with the front guys. We did have enough to finish in the top 10 again, except we had a half shaft break with twenty laps to go. It sucks a lot. There’s nothing we can do to heal this, except look forward to racing again at Mid-Ohio, which is my favorite track in North America.” 

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We just missed it entirely on setup tonight. We took a bit of a gamble for the DHL car and we came up empty handed. We started off really loose and then had to do whatever we could to dial out front grip. From there, it was just survival. It was a big swing and a miss – not the night in Iowa we were looking for.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 31 SmartStop Self Storage Carlin Chevrolet): “This is a tough one to take for sure, especially being one of the fastest cars on track tonight. I felt really good yesterday with our qualifying effort and how good the No. 31 SmartStop Carlin Chevrolet felt in practice last night. The car just felt really smooth and consistent. Obviously, it’s never fun to wait around for a delay, but I was extremely focused and ready to race tonight. Unfortunately, I made an error early in the race that we were thankfully able to recover from, but we couldn’t bounce back after the late race issue with (Takuma) Sato. I just couldn’t avoid getting into him with how quick that closing rate was when he got up into the gray. I’m absolutely gutted for SmartStop Self Storage and the entire Carlin team – I really wanted to be able to give them both the result that they deserve. The No. 31 crew did everything they absolutely could to get me back out both times tonight and they’ve been solid all weekend.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “I think from where we started the weekend, it was a pretty good race. I passed some cars and we had a decent pace, just a matter of fact of tires and strategy and feel, but we didn’t quite catch on that. At least we finished this one and I think we did a great job doing that, and also a good job for Tony (Kanaan) finishing P10. Also, I think it’s a huge improvement from last year and also from the last oval at Texas where I had a lot of problems with handling the car, so I think that was a positive for us. Of course, P16 isn’t where we want to finish, but at least we finished just two laps down.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I went just a bit wide getting onto pit road and then you get into the marbles. Once you get your tires dirty, it is almost impossible to drive and I really had no chance. It was an unfortunate end to a pretty strong day for the No. 12 Verizon Chevy team. We jumped out to the lead early before Josef (Newgarden) got around us. He was very strong tonight, but we definitely had a podium tonight before the pit road penalty.”

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It was a long race in the PNC Bank car. I thought it was a good experience for my first short oval though. Even though we didn’t have a great race, we kind of got in the wrong place at the wrong time with Sage (Karam) spinning in front of us. We’ll learn from this and come back stronger.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “We had a good start, but the balance was not really what we needed, so we had to stop a little bit early in the sequence, but it was working out OK. Ultimately, we got hit from behind and had so much damage. I tried to hang in there, but ultimately couldn’t do it. I’m sorry for the boys who did a great job and all the fans that remained tonight. It was a shame. Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and Will (Power) were side-by-side and I was directly behind. I had to back off a little bit and it was all under control, but unfortunately, the guy behind maybe couldn’t see it.”

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