Josef Newgarden Wins Iowa Race 2

After Chip Ganassi’s team swept the doubleheader last weekend at Road America, it was only fitting that Team Penske matched that with a sweep of their own this weekend at Iowa. After Simon Pagenaud’s come-from-behind win last night, it was Josef Newgarden that dominated on Saturday night. Newgarden earned his first victory of the season by leading 214 of the 250 laps. It was his 15th career win, and his third win at Iowa, where he has dominated. Since the 2015 race, he has led 1,149 laps and never finished worse than 6th place. Team Penske has won four of the last five races at Iowa.

Penske also secured their first 1-2 finish since the 2017 race at Sonoma, as Will Power rebounded from a gut punch on Friday night. It was the second podium of the year for Power, who has been up-and-down all season. Graham Rahal also got his second podium of the year, breaking up an all-Penske podium as Pagenaud finished 4th on Saturday night. Championship leader Scott Dixon continued his stellar season with another top-five finish.

Iowa IndyCar 250s Race 2 Box Score

While Friday night featured some crazy moments in the race, tonight’s event was much more calm and clean. The only exceptions were Ed Carpenter tapping the outside wall when he got out of the groove, and Ryan Hunter-Reay spinning while leaving pit lane for the second straight night. Hunter-Reay was able to save it and drive away yesterday, but tonight he was not able to continue. It was been a dreadful season for the three-time Iowa race winner, as he sits 14th in the championship standings after six races.

The Andretti Autosport team has struggled as a whole this season, from top to bottom. Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta still have yet to lead a lap, and Hunter-Reay led just one during pit stop sequences tonight. Their seven drivers (Rossi, Hunter-Reay, Herta, Zach Veach, Marco Andretti, Jack Harvey, and James Hinchcliffe) have led a total of 8 laps this season.

Oliver Askew followed up his podium finish on Friday with a 6th place result on Saturday. Harvey earned a solid 7th place finish for Meyer Shank Racing, Rossi came home in 8th, and Marcus Ericsson recorded yet another top-ten finish to continue his strong season. Marco Andretti rounded out the top ten on Saturday. Tony Kanaan had a much better result tonight than he did yesterday, as the veteran made his final oval start before the Indianapolis 500.

Looking at the championship standings after six races, Dixon holds a 49-point lead over Pagenaud, with Newgarden 53 points back. Pato O’Ward sits in 4th place, with Power and Rahal tied for 5th place. Rossi has climbed back up to 10th place but is still 126 points out of the lead. As teams and drivers prepare for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 next month, the season will officially be halfway over.

After a hectic five races in 15 days, the series will have a few weeks off before the next race. The next event on the schedule is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on August 9. NBC Sports Network will provide coverage for the event, which begins at 12:30 PM ET on Sunday. This will be the final event before practice and qualifying for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Photos courtesy of IndyCar

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Driver Quotes

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: “It feels really good. I don’t know what we have to do to keep the bad luck off of us, but hopefully this is the start. Our guys did an amazing job yesterday. I was so disappointed for them. I was angry for them because I felt like they had the winning car. They put in the work, but they just weren’t able to get rewarded for it. So, I was so determined to come back today. I think everyone was so determined to come back today to the track and have a really good race. And we just ran hard. We ran hard all day. I am so proud to be powered by Chevrolet. I feel like we had the package to beat. Fuel mileage, durability, and we had the power. And to have Hitachi back on, I think they gave us that good luck charm. So, thank you to Hitachi. Thanks to everyone at Team Penske back at the shop. I’m just thrilled we were able to get this monkey off our back. I don’t think I have been here on pole before. So, I was sitting here thinking: ‘We can do that. I don’t know why we can’t convert from pole.’ Just kind of a silly stat, I guess. I knew we had speed. I felt totally confident. You know when Tim (Cindric) is on my stand and I have my guys doing pit stops, I have complete confidence we can win any race we go into, so that stat wasn’t bugging me. It would have been nice if we could have had a couple of finishes where we thought we should have been. Like at Road America, we had a winning car that Saturday. I wasn’t able to secure that. I knew we needed a win and we need another one to come again soon. We need to be able to put consistent finishes on the board.”

WILL POWER: “It feels good. We just had a solid day. I just want to thank Verizon and Chevy for all of their support. I would have loved to have the win, of course. I’m glad for once we actually get a good result out of it. Soldier on, man. I’m going to look forward to trying to have a good rest of this season. I don’t know what it is I have to do to have normal races like (Scott) Dixon and (Simon) Pagenaud. Excited to have a good finish tonight, though.”

GRAHAM RAHAL: “The Hy-Vee car came in third, and I think we actually had the best car on track tonight. We passed a ton of cars. It was just hard at the end when Will (Power) was driving on the same line as me. It was difficult up high to get the grip to go by. Thanks to Hy-Vee for coming on board this weekend and thanks to Honda; the motor was a rocket. We’re proud to be powered by Honda. It was a great run right there and just a good rebound for our team after starting in the back. I’m super excited with P3, and we’re moving up in the championship. The entire team worked awfully hard. And even better, we raised $24,900 for Turns for Troops with United Rentals this weekend, which is awesome.”

SIMON PAGENAUD: “It was a tough, dramatic weekend, but we prevailed. I want to thank Team Penske, Menards and Chevy for giving me the horsepower going forward. We weren’t quite as hooked up today. I think we might have gone the wrong way with an adjustment during a pit stop, and from there we had to do quick pit stops, so we didn’t make any changes. Maybe we didn’t have the outright pace, but overall first and fourth is pretty good when we started last in both races. I’m pretty pleased with our results. It seems like the championship is shaping up, so it’s pretty exciting right now. It’s satisfaction from a preparation standpoint. We just showed everyone in the paddock that you have to count on us no matter what happens. That’s the mark of a championship team. That’s what you want to do. That’s what you want to show every weekend. You want people to fear you. I’m pretty sure they feared us today. We’ll regroup again and go to Mid-Ohio and be strong from there.”

SCOTT DIXON: “I think we knew this weekend was going to be one of our biggest challenges in terms of race weekends. We haven’t been as strong at Iowa as we’ve been at other tracks. We worked on it and tried some things and learned a lot, and we were able to work our way up and get a good result for the PNC Bank car.”

OLIVER ASKEW: “You can’t complain about two top 10s and especially my first podium. After yesterday, it was hard to sleep with all the adrenaline. Just had to focus and get back to it today. Really proud of Arrow McLaren SP, Chevrolet and everyone on this team. I know Pato (O’Ward) had a really good shot at a podium and a win there, so definitely on the right track. Two podiums in two race weekends for us. We have quick fast cars and looking forward to the next few races to keep the momentum going and really have a good run at the rookie of the year championship. All in all, a great weekend. A big thanks to everybody that showed up tonight and the fans watching at home.”

JACK HARVEY: “I thought that was a really solid weekend for Meyer Shank Racing. If you would have said before this weekend we’d have two seventh-place finishes and two top 10s in qualifying, we’d have taken that, for sure. I’m so proud of everyone at Meyer Shank Racing who have had constant and relentless determination to have a good season. We’re just going to keep rolling with our momentum into the bossman’s home race at Mid-Ohio in a few weeks.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI: “Everyone hung in there, and the AutoNation / NAPA guys were awesome in the pits again, which is so great and such a reward for their hard work this offseason. Couldn’t have done that without them. Rob (Edwards) had a good strategy call to get us back on the lead lap. Ultimately, I think it was an OK day considering where we started. I think we were a little bit worse in some places than yesterday and a little bit better in some places. I think, ultimately, we just had an eighth-place car, so that’s the way it went. We’ll keep marching forward.”

MARCUS ERICSSON: “I thought we had a good day. We made some good improvement overnight in the Huski Chocolate car and then again in practice. We definitely made some gains and were looking good for a top five tonight. We got a bit unlucky with the yellows and lost the positions we had gained with our pace. I was happy with the way I drove and got to make some good overtakes. But that’s racing, and sometimes that happens with the yellows. We were up there again and in the mix, collecting points and finishing races. We’ll build on this again tonight and hopefully get up to the front very soon.”

MARCO ANDRETTI: “We had a drama-free race tonight. I think this is our first one of 2020 without something going bad on our car. I think we should probably have about four top 10s by now, but we just have to play it where it lies and just try to build from here. We can’t really look at points at this point. We just have to focus race by race, and Indy is a championship in itself. If we can build even more confidence through Mid-Ohio, it will be even better.”

ED CARPENTER: “I caught a group of guys that were stacked up two-wide in front of me. I had Charlie (Kimball) on the inside, and I just went into Turn 1 a little too hard. I got more understeer than I thought, got up into the marbles and couldn’t get it back. I am so disappointed that I made that mistake. The U.S. Air Force Chevrolet was really hooked up tonight. We struggled so much last night but felt like we really showed something tonight. I’m not sure what hurts worst, the poor performance last night or messing up a good result tonight. On to the next one.”

CONOR DALY: “Tough night for us. The No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet was really strong all race, and even after we came out on the wrong side of Ed’s (Carpenter) yellow, we were still pushing up at the front, running pretty consistently in the top three. We made a strategy call there at the end to stay out under the yellow and wait to take tires until about 35 to go. Unfortunately in tonight’s race, it just wasn’t the right strategy, and we didn’t move forward like we thought we would. I’m gutted for the team because the car was great and had serious podium potential, but we just had some bad luck. Obviously, I’m still feeling good about our pole from yesterday, but it would’ve been really nice to come away with a top-three finish this weekend.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI: “The SealMaster Honda was really good tonight. I think we had a top-10 car. It was a good rebound from yesterday’s race. We had a fantastic start. I think we had the wrong strategy and caught the yellows at the wrong time. It put us a lap down and from there we were chasing it, trying to get it back and never could with the way the race unfolded. Now I’m just looking forward to Mid-Ohio and having a good result.”

COLTON HERTA: “It was a pretty disappointing day. We just didn’t really have the pace today. We went loose, and around here if you make a small mistake in setup, it just bites you badly, and we saw that. I think we had some high parts to the weekend, and unfortunately we ended on a low. But fortunately we have a lot of time to go through everything before Mid-Ohio and make sure we are ready for that race.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: “I was looking to make up a lot of track time on that out lap, and I short-shifted out of second gear, knowing that first (gear) was my problem last night. I got on it in second, and it just came around. I almost caught it – but almost doesn’t count. It sucks. The guys on the 28 team certainly don’t deserve that. We had a rough night. We were hanging on, but we were at least P6, P7. We were really looking forward to getting the ball rolling here for the season. It’s been one thing or another, and obviously this is down to me. It’s unfortunate. DHL and AutoNation, they all deserve results and we are working on it. I was just pushing 110 percent and just asked a little too much of it there.”

TONY KANAAN: “All in all, I think it was a positive weekend for us. We definitely have a much more competitive car. We’ve been running in the top 10 every single race with one of these cars, so really happy. Very emotional weekend for me yesterday giving the command. It was kind of like, I never had done that, so it was kind of mixed feelings and it was really cool to do it, but also it’s something really coming to an end. Today we had a great race. We ran in the top eight all day long. The tire strategy we played a little bit of a gamble, and it worked, so I was really happy. I was a lot more comfortable today in the car. You know, doing this race is like one weekend, four weekends off … it’s kind of weird to me. I’ve done 17 races in a row for 23 years, so I think this is a good lead for Indy. We’re going to have a normal ‘Month of August’ in Indy, so I’ll be in the car every day, so hopefully we’ll go for the big win because that’s what my boss wants. Thanks to Bryant, Firestone, Chevy and the whole Foyt team for the opportunity. Let’s go to Indy!”

CHARLIE KIMBALL: “Another tough night here at Iowa Speedway for the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet. The guys did a great job in pit lane – they’ve done that all year. It’s nice to rely on that coming down pit lane to pick up tires and spots, but we just struggled a little bit. I struggled with grip. I struggled with balance. Felt like I drove pretty hard, but we had a lot to learn and a lot to look at heading into the next race at Mid-Ohio and the big one at Indy.”

PATO O’WARD: “Yesterday, I think we started off the weekend well. In the second race, the best way to sum it up is ‘what could have been.’ We had the pace; we were strong. I made up positions to be fighting at the front. In the end, it was not meant to be for us, but we’re going to continue pushing to finish strong at Mid-Ohio.”

ALEX PALOU: “We started closer to the front than last night, and unfortunately I didn’t have a good start. I lost a lot of positions, but once we settled in, I think we had a really strong car. We were able to pass some guys, which we didn’t do as much yesterday. I also started passing cars on the outside, which was pretty cool. I also didn’t do that in the first race. So, I’ve definitely learned a lot the last couple of nights and was more comfortable, for sure. We improved a lot, so I’m happy. The car was better, I was better. It’s just a shame about the result. The last yellow cost us a lot. Overall, I really enjoyed racing on a short oval. The next time I come here it will be a bit calmer, and I’ll know to expect. There was a lot to learn, but I really liked racing here.”

FELIX ROSENQVIST: “It was a tough race, and we just really struggled with balance and grip. We were really loose a few timesl and it was just one of those days you’re glad to get the NTT DATA car back in one piece and work on it for next time.”

TAKUMA SATO: “I had a massive handling problem. The car was very loose. We had to come back to the pits for an extra, emergency pit stop to reduce the seven turns of front wing, down, which is something unusual. We haven’t looked at the car yet to see if there was something wrong, but it was a tough, long night. Congrats to Graham (Rahal). He did a great job for the 15 team.”

ZACH VEACH: “Honestly, this is maybe the toughest weekend in INDYCAR I’ve had in my career. This is a place where we have always been pretty strong, and we just didn’t have it when we rolled off this weekend. We struggled with the car all through practice, qualifying and the race on the first day. We tried to make a Hail Mary today, going back to a setup we knew was good last year, and it just didn’t give us what we were looking for, so we were just stuck struggling today, as well. It’s just frustrating. These ovals, you can only go as quick as your car goes. It’s just tough. I want to thank my Gainbridge crew for sticking with it. They worked insanely hard this weekend to give me a good car. With these tight schedules, when you unroll with something that isn’t great, it’s hard to make it better in a short amount of time.”

RINUS VEEKAY: “Yesterday, the car felt amazing. I could pass whenever I wanted, and tires would stay good for a long time, at least 80 laps. I struggled with that tonight. I just didn’t have the pace to charge through the field. Still, we were doing well, closing back in on the top 10 after a bad start. Then, at the second pit stop, the car got down on the ground with three wheels on it. We had trouble restarting the car and lost about three laps. That was a bummer. We are very unlucky at the moment, but let’s hope it will switch around soon. Mid-Ohio is coming up soon, and that’s been a good track for me. I’ve won races and had a very good test with ECR last year, so I can’t wait to try again there.”

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