Race Weekend Central

Josef Newgarden Dominates 1st Round of IndyCar Iowa Doubleheader

Josef Newgarden entered Saturday’s (July 23) Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 the favorite and left the winner. Was it ever going to be anyone else? Leading 208 laps out of 250, Newgarden claimed a dominant fourth win of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season and the fourth of his career at Iowa Speedway to move within 15 points of leader Marcus Ericsson in the championship standings.

It came down to a battle in lapped traffic inside of 30 to go, but Newgarden never gave up control. In the end, the American driver delivered a crushing victory by a margin of more than six seconds over Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward and more than twenty seconds ahead of third-place Will Power.

“I was disappointed after qualifying, I just hate losing,” Newgarden told NBC after the race, “it motivated me. I knew we had a car here today to win this race… [Iowa] is one of my favorite tracks, so to be able to win here again, it’s always very special”

O’Ward reflected on a strong performance that came up just short, saying, “I was pushing Josef there in the end. We didn’t quite have it, but I have to say the car was really good. We didn’t start off as strong but we kept making the car better and better every single stint… P2 is really good for where we are in the championship.”

Power started the race from his 65th career pole position after earning both of this weekend’s NTT P1 awards. He led the opening 22 laps until Newgarden seized the lead with a lightning-fast restart.

Moving forward early were the Chip Ganassi Racing teammates of Jimmie Johnson and Ericsson, both drivers making two- and three-wide moves in the outside lane. 

On lap 17, Johnson spun at the exit of turn 4 to bring out the first caution of the afternoon. Sharp driving from the seven-time NASCAR champion kept his No. 48 Honda out of the SAFER barrier and on the lead lap. Johnson restarted on fresh Firestones, albeit outside the top 20. 

Then Johnson became a one-man highlight reel, scything through the field and comfortably inside the top 10 when the leaders made their first green-flag pit stops. Johnson stayed out, holding the lead until making his second stop of the day on lap 80 and handing the lead back to Newgarden.

But Johnson wasn’t done.

With far newer tires than everyone else on the track, the No. 48 was the fastest car on the track and Johnson worked his way back towards the top five. His run was cut short by the afternoon’s second caution, for Felix Rosenqvist‘s hard crash on lap 110.

While Johnson faded late to 11th, the other Ganassi wildman made the big moves on the restart. Ericsson ran up on leader Newgarden. Though he’d made the most speed on the high side, a crossover move on the backstretch put Ericsson to the inside, and the two ever-so-slightly scraped wheels on the exit of turn 4. 

Both kept their cars pointed in the right direction, and Newgarden maintained the top spot while Ericsson faded, letting Power, O’Ward and others through.

Another caution for Ed Carpenter’s crash stacked the field back up for a restart on lap 175, and Alex Palou‘s No. 10 came alive, threatening Newgarden and Power for the lead before settling into third. 

From there it was a race of tire management to the end of the hottest IndyCar race on record since Fontana 2015, with Newgarden followed home by O’Ward, Power, Rinus VeeKay and Scott Dixon. Palou finished the afternoon sixth, followed by Romain Grosjean in his first career Iowa start in seventh and Ericsson in eighth place. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing duo of Graham Rahal and rookie Christian Lundgaard put in strong performances to finish ninth and 10th.

Two rising stars Colton Herta and Scott McLaughlin lost top-five running positions on pit road. While Herta moved towards the front early after pitting under caution, the Andretti Autosport driver lost six laps with a transmission problem, dropping the young Californian out of contention by lap 115. A loose right-rear wheel brought McLaughlin to pit road on the lap 175 restart. He finished 22nd at the finish.

IndyCar Race Results for Saturday’s Race at Iowa

The Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 will complete the IndyCar Iowa doubleheader, airing tomorrow (Sunday, July 24) at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

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