Josef Newgarden Wins at Iowa

When Josef Newgarden strapped into his Ed Carpenter Racing machine at Road America two weeks ago, many people were amazed. The fact that he could get back in the car just days after breaking his shoulder and some bones in his hand was incredible. His 8th place finish there was treated almost like a victory. Today though, he got to experience the real thing. In what can only be described as one of the most impressive performances of the last few years, Newgarden dominated the entire race, and earned his first win of the 2016 season. It’s the third career win for Newgarden, who led 282 of the 300 laps at Iowa Speedway.

The last two years at Iowa had been good for Newgarden, as he finished runner-up both times. Today he did one better, as he put on a clinic in front of the rest of the field. His margin of victory over Will Power was 4.2828 seconds, but it might as well been 4 hours. By the time Lap 100 rolled around, Newgarden had lapped every driver except for Simon Pagenaud, who was in second place. Scott Dixon joined Newgarden and Power on the podium on Sunday. Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin rounded out the top five.

Iowa Corn 300 Box Score

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Alexander Rossi had an impressive performance, coming from 17th starting position to finish 6th. The ovals don’t seem to have given the Indianapolis 500 winner any pause. Tony Kanaan was strong all weekend, and came home in 7th place. Sebastien Bourdais quietly had a great day, finishing 8th after starting in the 16th spot. James Hinchcliffe started last on Sunday, and drove himself to a 9th place finish. Charlie Kimball rounded out the list of top ten finishers.

While a couple of Penske drivers had a top five finish, it was a disappointing day for two others. Helio Castroneves started 3rd, but ended up 13th on Sunday. Juan Montoya’s day ended with a mechanical failure on Lap 179. In his three starts at Iowa, Montoya has finished 16th, 24th, and now 20th. Team Penske must wait another year for a chance at their first win at Iowa Speedway in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Though his driver/teammate won the race, Ed Carpenter struggled on Sunday. He started in 7th, but quickly faded, finishing in 18th position. Graham Rahal also had a forgettable day, as he started in 12th and slipped back to finish 16th in the race.

The 282 laps that Josef led on Sunday set a new all-time IndyCar record. The previous mark (250 laps) was set by Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2004 at Milwaukee. Speaking of Hunter-Reay, it was a weekend to forget for he and the Andretti Autosport team. Their success at Iowa is well documented, particularly Ryan’s, as he has finished 1st, 2nd, 1st, and 1st in his last four Iowa starts. On Saturday he spun early in practice, then qualified in 20th position. Today his engine literally went up in flames, and his day ended with a 22nd place result.

With the win, Newgarden propelled himself to second place in the championship standings, 73 points behind Pagenaud. Still, a big hit is coming for Josef and the team when the race at Texas resumes without them. Castroneves fell three spots in the standings today, with his disappointing finish.

The series will now head north of the border for the Honda Indy Toronto on July 17. The street race in Toronto, Ontario always has a special vibe to it, with breathtaking scenery all around. The race will air at 2:30 PM ET on CNBC.

Race Photos via IndyCar

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Driver Quotes

Juan Montoya: “The DeVilbiss Chevy was running so well today. We struggled a little bit in qualifying because we couldn’t get a clear assessment on the assimilations there, but we knew that we had a strong car for today’s race and I really thought we had a shot at the win. As we adjusted the car, it was getting better and better. So, obviously disappointed with how things ended. Again, I just want to thank DeVilbiss, Chevrolet and Verizon for supporting us and we’ll look ahead to better results in Toronto.”

Helio Castroneves: “The Hitachi Chevrolet was a top-five car here at Iowa Speedway, especially after we made some changes in the third pit stop. However, we got caught under the caution, unfortunately. We couldn’t catch a break and we tried everything to stay out and every time we stopped the caution came out. It was not a good day for us after that, but we can’t give up. We have to move on and look forward to Toronto.”

James Hinchcliffe: “I think we can be pretty pleased with that. To start shotgun on the field and end up in the top 10 without really any lucky breaks or lucky yellows. It was just on pace, we had quick stops from the guys and stayed out of trouble. There weren’t a lot of cautions or a lot of guys going out today, so we kind of just had to race our way up there. Big credit to the No. 5 crew and everybody on the Arrow Electronics team. The car was good all weekend, other than that issue with qualifying obviously, so it sucked to start back there but to be able to work our way back up showed the strength that we have. Obviously congrats to Mikhail (Aleshin) with his top five, it was a great day for the SPM team.”

Mikhail Aleshin: “Fifth is definitely a decent result and really good for the whole team. The guys did an amazing job to put the SMP Racing car together overnight after some technical issues we had yesterday. The car was pretty good to drive compared to most of the field. We were moving up in position constantly during the race, and I was pretty patient. I knew that we were going to be up there, but at the same time. I knew that we had to be aggressive with some things. Overall, we put everything together today and P5 was definitely good.”

Max Chilton: “It was definitely a character-building day for us and the Gallagher team. It was a learning experience with all the lapped cars and wave-arounds. The car was good and I was trying to keep up with the changes I could make. We had a vibration of some sort and I spun. We wanted to get out and continue and get the maximum laps and experience we could.”

Scott Dixon: “Considering how the weekend started it was pretty dang good. We were in a hole as of Friday so we had a wholesale change for the race today. So it took us a little while to get the balance closer – but we had too much understeer and fell off a lot towards the end. It almost seemed like (Josef) had another set of wings on that car – huge credit to him and everybody at the team there. They did a helluva job. I knew all day that he was running very fast, but it wasn’t until the end that I got up to the pointy end of the field. I kind of hurt my race toward that latter part there – I was trying to keep up with Josef and burned the front tires up.”

Tony Kanaan: “I think we had a top-three car for sure, but things just wouldn’t go our way today. We had some issues with our power and then that last stop really hurt us when we came in a littler earlier than we expected we’d have to and the yellow came out two laps later. Those situations are frustrating, but you just can’t control them. The No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet was obviously faster than seventh-place considering how much we were running up front with (Scott) Dixon and (Will) Power.”

Sebastien Bourdais: “It was a very average day although the result was pretty decent considering we started 16th. The Hydroxycut Chevy machine was way too slow. We went conservative on the downforce and had way more downforce than anyone else. Overall we just weren’t competitive pace-wise. We got a little lucky, although we created some of our luck. We stayed out late on many stints, which was the result of running a lot of downforce so we were taking pretty good care of the tires. We were getting passed early, but we passed a couple of cars toward the end of the runs. There was just no speed in the car, which is always frustrating when you are behind the wheel. On top of that I stalled the car on the last pit stop. I am not quite sure what happened there. So it was just a tough day at the office, but the Team Hydroxycut – KVSH guys did a good job and we got some decent points.”

Will Power: “It was a really good run. I think we had a very good long run car. We had people come back to us at the end of the stint so I was very happy that it went full green there at the end. That allowed us to get up to second. I’m just stoked to finish well at Iowa. It was tight racing cause those two guys I was racing against are guys we’re definitely racing in the championship. Obviously I didn’t want to get passed but I wanted to get by them. They’re very trustworthy drivers and very good to race with.”

Takuma Sato: “We’d been struggling here in Iowa but we tested here and it helped. We tried a different philosophy which brought some different ideas so we’re getting better results. The team is making real progress.”

Graham Rahal: “It was a frustrating day. We were really hard on the tires; they were vibrating like nothing I have ever experienced before. It was vibrating so bad that I couldn’t hold onto the steering wheel any longer near the end of the stint so we had to pit earlier than we wanted. We have to reboot and come back stronger at Toronto.”

Conor Daly: “Today was not what we expected at all, the car was beyond difficult to drive. As much as we tried to work on it to fix it, the problem seemed to be deeper than what we could adjust so the safest thing to do was to retire the car. I’m confident we’ll be able to do our homework and come back stronger.”

Gabby Chaves: “It was a tough day for us. We’ve had races where we don’t finish where we want to, but we’re confident that the car we have during the race has the potential to be better and we see the progress. Today was just one of those races where we’re just trying to make it to the finish. It’s racing, we have those days. We’ll look to see why we struggled so much, particularly on our tire life and then take it from there and learn.”

Ed Carpenter: “It was a great day for the team. We tested here last week, we knew we had really strong race cars. Josef (Newgarden) drove excellent, especially with the conditions of his hand hurting. I really felt like one of us would win, and there was a really good chance both of us would be here (on the podium). Didn’t know we would have quite the dominant day that Josef had, but we needed to get back in victory lane for the team, for Chevrolet. It’s good to contribute some points for Josef and the No. 21 entry. Second in points right now, so we are in a really good position there. We just have to keep doing the same thing we are doing, and keep rounding into form. Hopefully next race we will have two of them on the podium.”

Josef Newgarden: “I’m just so happy for Iowa. I love coming here and happy we’ll be here for the next two years. We’ve got great support from all these people. I love staying in Des Moines and getting to race at this awesome racetrack. It’s one of the best for INDYCAR. I’m just so elated that we were able to get that oval win. We’ve been so close finishing second here twice the last couple of years and second at other ovals but this team, they got it done. They gave me an amazing car and made it easy on me. I could go anywhere with the thing so it made it easier with everything I was dealing with. I’m just so happy for Fuzzy’s Vodka. They do such a great job. It’s just a privileged to be here with these guys. Thanks to Firestone for giving us the ability to race these guys like we do. We could just hang in a little bit better than everyone else it felt like.”

Simon Pagenaud: “It was a great day overall for the Menards Chevy. We had a really good car at the start and unfortunately we ran an adjustment pretty quickly when the track changed with the Firestone rubber coming down halfway through the race. We ended up having to deal with what we had. We just didn’t have enough pace at the end to contend for the win. So, fourth today I think is a great day, honestly. I’m very pleased with second in Phoenix and fourth here. Our short oval program has improved massively compared to last year. I’m proud of everyone at Team Penske and the 22 team did a fantastic job again.”

Carlos Munoz: “Man, that was the longest race of my career in INDYCAR. We struggled a lot for grip. I didn’t have any confidence in the car. We were just chasing the car the whole race, changing and never could get the balance in the car. We have to now think about Toronto. This was a tough race for the whole team.”

Marco Andretti: “Another disappointing result. I had to come from the back and it was hard to pass. We gave it all we had. We took a risk on strategy, which of course didn’t pay off – so here we are with a 14th-place finish.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay: “It [the engine] just popped without warning but that was the least of our problems today. That was the most out of shape I think we have ever been. I’m not really sure. We’re going to have to look at it. I couldn’t get out on my own way out there on a track that I absolutely love and that this team has historically been so good at. It just goes to show you that you can never get ahead of yourself. You always have to keep working. You always have to find a way to be faster. We came here for a test and it was a pretty productive test and had some hard times there but wow this was really bad today. It was something I just couldn’t find a solution to. We tried some significant changes. Not huge but significant ones trying to settle the rear. My big problem was I could not get around a car at all. If I got around a car it felt like I lost two thousand pounds of downforce. On mid to late tires I was just skating around on top of the track like I had no wings on the car. It was amazing. I had never felt anything like that.”

Jack Hawksworth: “Stuff didn’t fall our way today – we got caught out by yellows twice but the car was pretty quick especially on old tires. If we’d been a little more fortunate with the timing of these yellows, I think we’d have been in the top 10. It’s a shame we couldn’t catch a break but the car performed well today.”

Charlie Kimball: “Overall it was a really fighting day for the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team. The pit stops were solid all day – I think we made up time every time we came into pit lane. I really appreciate the work they’ve done all weekend, and really all year. The car wasn’t great to start with, but we just kept making it better. We slid back early and had to fight almost our whole race from a lap down. It was really just a fighting day and happy to add another solid top-ten finish.”

Alexander Rossi: “Starting 17th made our life hard. I think we were unlucky in terms of the yellows when they came out because our strength today was in the second half of our tire life. We had really, really good tire life and everyone else was struggling. We were able to stay out but we were never able to take advantage of that. None-the-less a good result from where we started and we’re looking forward to Toronto.”

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