Five drivers who needed to perform at Iowa - review

Before the race, I selected five drivers who I felt needed to have a strong showing at Iowa.

Five drivers who needed to perform at Iowa - review
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
Josef Newgarden, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Penske Racing Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Before this race weekend, I wrote which five drivers I felt needed a good weekend. Now let’s see how they did.

1.) Will Power

Power started the race off in ninth position and was doing well in the race, sitting fourth until his run went sour with seven laps to go.  He got high in turns one and two and tapped the wall slightly.  His car ran off the pace in the final few laps and he wound up finishing 14th, losing the tie for the points lead he had with Helio Castroneves.  Power did well, but at the very end, the results don’t show how good he really was during the race.

2.)  Josef Newgarden

Newgarden started second to last and finished second after a remarkable drive.  What more has to be said?  His team made a great call to pit with 16 laps to go and it shows with him recording the fastest lap of the race.  He went from 11th to second in the last green flag stint, so the decision to take on new tires paid major dividends.

“I think it’s really cool finishing on the podium. Obviously it’s a great job for our whole team, especially after qualifying, we made a bit of an error there. We just did an amazing job tonight. Our team was solid. We had such good pit stops, really good strategy and kept our head in the game the entire way. We didn’t have the best balance all race long, but there were parts when we were really fast. We just kept with it and at the end there, we made it when it counted,” Newgarden said.

3.)  Graham Rahal

Rahal started in 15th and finished seventh Saturday night.  He also took on tires late in the race, but they were scuffed tires, not stickers.  With newer tires, he could have scored a top five finish, but getting up to seventh is clearly a step in the right direction for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

“It was a tough night, we finished 7th and obviously you’re always happy to get it.  It’s my fifth top ten in the seven races I’ve done here, but we need to be better.  I thought this was a race we really could have won, I really did.  I thought that this is a place that we should be able to go up front but from the start of the night the car was extremely loose and [I’m] just happy to bring it home, quite frankly,” Rahal said.

4.)  Helio Castroneves

Castroneves was a solid performer all race long, but fell victim to the other drivers on the newer tires.  He stayed in the top five the vast majority of the night, but fell from third to eighth in the last six laps, but there really wasn’t anything he could do about that.

“We were running in the top three most of the day. Obviously, finishing in the eighth position isn’t where we deserved to finish. But it was a gamble there at the end. We are leaving here with the championship lead and that is what we need to focus on moving forward,” Castroneves said.

5.)  Scott Dixon

Dixon fought within the top five for the vast majority of the race before being passed at the very end by Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay.  Dixon wound up fourth, so he’ll earn a passing grade for Iowa.

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