Sunday, July 21, 2019

After A Long Night, A Dominant Newgarden Finds Victory In Iowa

Photo Credit: Chris Owens



Enduring several hours of severe rain, the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series would finally run 300 laps the short oval of Iowa Speedway. Taking the checkered flag at 2:14 am Eastern time on Sunday morning, Josef Newgarden the Iowa 300 in fantastic style. Crossing the line 2.8527 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Newgarden and his #2 Hitachi sponsored car actually

For 2019, Iowa Speedway and fans successfully lobbied IndyCar to move the race back to Saturday night after three years being held on a Sunday afternoon. Looking forward to a nighttime short track ambiance as well as colder, more comfortable temperatures, weather didn't cooperate with the event as the 300-lap race was originally set for a 7:10 pm Eastern start time. Due to persistent rain and thunder in the Newton, Iowa area, the race was considerably delayed with the green flag being thrown on the 23-car field just 15 minutes before midnight in the Eastern Time Zone. While weather conditions would again disrupt the delayed race and even necessitate another red flag that lasted for 30 minutes, all 300 laps of the NTT IndyCar event were completed.

When the surface of the 0.894-mile oval was finally dry enough for competition, the Iowa 300 race started with Simon Pagenaud on pole. The #22 Team Penske-owned machine recorded a two-lap average speed of 180.073 miles per hour on Friday with Pagenaud positioning himself ahead of teammates Will Power and Josef Newgarden. With the three Chevrolet-powered Team Penske cars demonstrating supremacy in qualifying, the squad were hunting for only their second win on the track (Helio Castroneves' 2017 victory at Iowa Speedway for Roger Penske is also currently his final win in IndyCar).



Photo Credit: Chris Owens



Seemingly maintaining momentum after a conquering performance on the streets of Toronto in last weekend's Honda Indy race leading up to the start of the Iowa 300, the French driver would only lead the first two laps during the night race (the first lap was under caution). Simon Pagenaud would settle for a fourth place result as he continues to make a run for the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series championship. Entering the 12th round, Pagenaud was trailing 39 points behind Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden.

The #12 Verizon car of Will Power took command at the front on lap 3 and would lead in total 49 laps. Power would be removed from contention in the Iowa 300 late when he received a stop and go penalty for an pit entry error concluding in a 15th place finish.

The fastest of the non-Chevrolet powered Team Penske cars in qualifying, Takuma Sato maintained close contact with the front of the field early. The #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team car would pit off sequence with the other lead cars. For the second IndyCar event in a row, a potential of a good finish for Sato was spoiled. On lap 187, Sage Karam in the Carlin Motorsport #31 car collided with the #30 car and would receive a penalty for avoidable contact with Sato. While both cars continued to circulate after the impact, Sato and Karam would ultimately retire from the Iowa 300 before the checkered flag. 

Other strong runs that were not reflected in the final race results came from Santino Ferrucci and Ed Carpenter. Ferrucci drove hard throughout the oval event but the rookie settled for a 12th place finish. A steady oval track ringer, driver/owner Carpenter saw a potential top-five performance go awry when he lost control of his #20 car out of turn two and collided with the wall. Carpenter was unhurt but the lap 264 caution would set up a final run for the IndyCar field in Iowa. The night would actually conclude well for Ed Carpenter as a car owner with efforts of the #21 team machine driven by Spencer Pigot.

In the final laps of the 2019 Iowa 300 after the restart, Newgarden shot forward to a steady lead but the reminder of the top-five was actively contested. Canada's James Hinchcliffe in the #5 car achieved a great restart that allowed him to move past Simon Pagenaud but Scott Dixon's #9 machine on fresher tires would surge to second. With Hinchcliffe taking third place, Simon Pagenaud and Spencer Pigot rounded out the top-five. Alexander Rossi came across the line in sixth place ahead of Zach Veach and Graham Rahal who managed to nurse his wounded #15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car to an eighth place result. Sebastien Bourdais and Tony Kanaan complete the top-ten.

The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series field will compete for their third consecutive weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on for the July 28th Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio race.



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