Josef Newgarden Wins at Iowa

Mother Nature kept everyone guessing on Saturday night in Newton, Iowa. Severe storms couldn’t prevent Josef Newgarden from dominating at Iowa Speedway. They merely delayed the inevitable, as the green flag finally fell around 11:45 PM ET. Nearly 30 minutes later, more rain brought out the red flag after 55 laps of action. By then, Newgarden had taken the lead and would not relinquish it other than cycling through pit stops throughout the remainder of the event.

For the fourth time in the last five years, Newgarden led the most laps in the race. He led 245 laps this year, bringing his total to 868 over the past seven Iowa races. Only one other driver has led more than 300 laps here. It was the fourth victory of the season for Josef, who stretched his lead in the championship to 29 points over Alexander Rossi.

Iowa 300 Box Score

Scott Dixon finished in 2nd place, which shouldn’t be surprising, only that it was. Dixon was a lap down in 16th position late in the race, but managed to make a run at Newgarden in the closing laps. It is the fifth runner-up finish for the defending series champion this season. He has now finished in 2nd place 45 times, to match his 45 career wins. James Hinchcliffe collected another Iowa podium after winning this race last year.

Pole sitter Simon Pagenaud struggled early in the race, but settled in as things moved on. The Penske driver held on to finish in 4th, keeping him squarely in the title fight. After 13 races at Iowa, there still has never been a race winner from pole position. Spencer Pigot rounded out the top five, in what was shaping up to be a fantastic day for the ECR team.

Rossi managed to hold onto 6th place, as he finished just ahead of his Andretti Autosport teammate Zach Veach. It was a much needed result for Veach, who has been in a sophomore slump this season. Graham Rahal was battling engine gremlins in his No. 15 RLL machine for much of the race, but managed to finish in the 8th spot. Sebastien Bourdais had a very quiet race, but came away with a 9th place result in his Honda machine. Tony Kanaan rounded out the top ten, in what was ultimately a very satisfying finish for the AJ Foyt Racing team.

Santino Ferrucci started 12th and finished 12th, but his race was anything but steady. The Rookie was making sensational moves through the field, mostly taking the high line around just about everyone. Both Dale Coyne Racing drivers were having good performances, but Ferrucci definitely had more thrills and excitement.

After starting on the front row and taking the lead early, it looked as though Will Power was well on his way to ending his winless drought this season. A mistake coming onto pit lane hurt him with less than 40 laps to go, as he finished 15th tonight. Ryan Hunter-Reay has won here three times, but he struggled from the drop of the green flag, and ended up finishing in 17th. Colton Herta was looking forward to Iowa, but the Harding Steinbrenner crew didn’t seem to have a car capable of battling at the front of the field. They also had a half shaft break with 20 laps remaining in the race.

Ed Carpenter was running solidly inside the top five all night, but lost control of his No. 20 machine on Lap 264, which ended his race. Takuma Sato and Sage Karam made heavy contact on Lap 187 when Sato had to check up in Turn 4. Karam didn’t have time to react, and got into the back of the Japanese driver.

The next race on the schedule is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 28. NBC will provide coverage for the event, which begins at 4 PM ET on Sunday.

Photos courtesy of IndyCar

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Driver Quotes

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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.”

MARCO ANDRETTI: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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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