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IndyCar Iowa: Newgarden beats McLaughlin in Penske 1-2

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden won the first race of the Iowa Speedway double-header on Saturday afternoon, seeing off the challenge of his team-mates.

Newgarden worked his way past fellow Penske drivers Scott McLaughlin and poleman Will Power to grab the lead just before half distance of the 250-lap race.

That proved to be the key move, with Newgarden staying out front for his first win since the Indy 500 in May – and to keep up his 100% record on ovals this year.

Power led the field to green, leading team-mates McLaughlin and Newgarden. Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) held fourth, with Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport) and Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren) duelling straight away for fifth, with the latter grabbing the spot by lap 3.

Dixon attacked Newgarden for third on lap 5, but the six-time champion soon had the charging O’Ward all over him, the Mexican getting ahead after a dozen laps. Behind O’Ward, Alex Palou (Ganassi) got the hammer down and rose to fifth by lap 30, bringing the battling David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing) and Marcus Ericsson (Ganassi) forwards too.

Dixon and Herta fell back, clearly struggling with their tires, and it was so bad for Herta that he made his first stop on lap 41. To make matters worse, his right-front wheelnut got crossthreaded and he lost four laps.

By the one-fifth distance mark, Power led McLaughlin by half a second, with Newgarden 2s further back. O’Ward was best of the rest, ahead of Palou, Malukas, Ericsson and Dixon.

O’Ward was the first of the leaders to pit on lap 58, with Power, McLaughlin and Newgarden stopping three laps later, allowing Palou to lead for a lap before he pitted too.

Power cycled back to the front, still clear of McLaughlin, with Newgarden slipping back by 5s in third but happy with the changes they made in the pitstop. O’Ward held a distant fourth, with Ericsson and Ganassi team-mate Takuma Sato moving up to fifth and sixth, as Palou dropped back to ninth after the first round of stops. Dixon was another tumbler, now a lap down in 15th.

McLaughlin attacked Power for the lead on lap 83, as they came up to lap Romain Grosjean’s 12th-placed Andretti car. Newgarden then joined in the lead battle, grabbing second from McLaughlin on lap 95 as the Penskes lapped the cars at the bottom end of the top 10.

Newgarden began to attack Power on lap 101, but he had to be careful of the lurking McLaughlin as the Penske trio continued to dominate by almost 10s. Newgarden got another run as Power toiled to lap seventh-placed Alexander Rossi (McLaren), who had surged up from 20th on the grid.

Newgarden grabbed the lead from Power on lap 121, after the Aussie slipped up the track in Turn 2. The second round of pitstops unfolded right on the stroke of half distance, with Newgarden rejoining ahead of Power. Ericsson briefly jumped up to third, having pitted early, but McLaughlin soon dealt with him on fresher rubber, and O’Ward also passed the Swede by lap 131.

Early leader Power began to struggle on this stint, dropping to fourth on lap 145 after glancing the wall exiting Turn 4. That gave Newgarden – who had now lapped everyone up to sixth place – a 6.5s lead over McLaughlin, with O’Ward a second further back but closer to the leaders than he’d been for a while.

That became irrelevant when the first caution of the race flew, for Graham Rahal hitting the Turn 4 wall far harder than Power and breaking the right-front corner of his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car. “Legitimately the worst car I’ve ever driven on an oval,” he reported. “A major rethink is needed overnight.”

Earlier strategy gamblers Ericsson and Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti) had their prayers answered, and were now ensconced in fifth and sixth respectively, and the yellow also meant that the five cars behind them (Palou, Rossi, Dixon, Sato and Grosjean) got their lap back.

The race restarted on lap 167, with Ericsson jumping ahead of Power immediately. O’Ward attacked McLaughlin, but couldn’t make it by, while Power repassed Ericsson. The race quickly settled down, however, with some fuel saving reducing the pace to keep strategy options open with the finish in sight.

Newgarden extended a 7s lead over McLaughlin, who in turn was well clear of O’Ward, who had Power, Ericsson, Kirkwood, Palou and Dixon on his tail. The leaders made their final pitstops from lap 208, rejoining in the same order up front, but Ericsson muscled past Power to take fourth with 39 laps to go. Meantime, Dixon got ahead of Kirkwood for sixth, as Palou slipped back to eighth.

McLaughlin got the gap to Newgarden down to less than 2s on the final stint, but the leader was managing his gap and minding the traffic (he lapped everyone up to fifth) – despite a few nervous moments in the closing laps.

O’Ward finished a distant third, ahead of Ericsson, Power and Dixon and Kirkwood. Points leader Palou finished a lap down but will view eighth as a decent result for damage limitation.

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph Pits Points Retirement
1 United States J. Newgarden Josef Newgarden Team Penske 2 250 1:33'40.4758   145.311 4    
2 New Zealand S. McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Team Penske 3 250 +3.3755 3.3755 141.981 4    
3 Mexico P. O'Ward Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 250 +9.6072 6.2317 142.311 4    
4 Sweden M. Ericsson Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing 8 250 +14.6385 5.0313 153.435 4    
5 Australia W. Power Will Power Team Penske 12 250 +22.4025 7.7640 141.241 4    
6 New Zealand S. Dixon Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 9 249 +1 Lap 1 Lap 148.536 4    
7 United States K. Kirkwood Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport 27 249 +1 Lap 0.4064 148.049 4    
8 Spain A. Palou Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 249 +1 Lap 1.1368 143.910 4    
9 Japan T. Sato Takuma Sato Chip Ganassi Racing 11 249 +1 Lap 4.6104 145.706 4    
10 United States A. Rossi Alexander Rossi Arrow McLaren 7 249 +1 Lap 0.6044 148.238 4    
11 France R. Grosjean Romain Grosjean Andretti Autosport 28 249 +1 Lap 10.8443 147.687 4    
12 United States D. Malukas David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing 18 248 +2 Laps 1 Lap 142.610 4    
13 Sweden F. Rosenqvist Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren 6 248 +2 Laps 13.3595 151.730 4    
14 Brazil H. Castroneves Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing 06 248 +2 Laps 5.1889 142.770 4    
15 United Kingdom C. Ilott Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing 77 247 +3 Laps 1 Lap 144.193 4    
16 Argentina A. Canapino Agustin Canapino Juncos Hollinger Racing 78 247 +3 Laps 0.4370 143.925 4    
17 Netherlands R. van Kalmthout Rinus van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing 21 247 +3 Laps 10.9717 148.154 4    
18 United Kingdom J. Harvey Jack Harvey Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 30 247 +3 Laps 4.8909 140.938 4    
19 United States C. Herta Colton Herta Andretti Autosport 26 246 +4 Laps 1 Lap 143.474 4    
20 Denmark C. Lundgaard Christian Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 45 246 +4 Laps 1.2736 143.935 4    
21 United States C. Daly Conor Daly Meyer Shank Racing 60 245 +5 Laps 1 Lap 143.591 4    
22 Canada D. DeFrancesco Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Autosport 29 245 +5 Laps 7.6238 149.967 4    
23 United States R. Hunter-Reay Ryan Hunter-Reay Ed Carpenter Racing 20 244 +6 Laps 1 Lap 139.913 4    
24 United States E. Carpenter Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing 33 243 +7 Laps 1 Lap 138.344 4    
25
R. Robb Ray Robb Dale Coyne Racing
51 242 +8 Laps 1 Lap 144.700 6    
26 United States S. Ferrucci Santino Ferrucci A.J. Foyt Enterprises 14 241 +9 Laps 1 Lap 133.281 5    
27 Denmark B. Pedersen Benjamin Pedersen A.J. Foyt Enterprises 55 235 +15 Laps 6 Laps 134.594 5    
28 United States G. Rahal Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 15 149 +101 Laps 86 Laps 116.928 2   Accident

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