Penske’s Josef Newgarden has driven a flawless race at Iowa Speedway to claim a convincing win from pole position while Scott Dixon ensures he maintains his championship lead by holding onto another Top-5 finish.
After yesterday’s horror crash in which an errant wheel bounced off the aeroscreen of his Chevrolet-powered car, Will Power picked up a much deserved podium finish, the first of his tumultuous 2020 season.
Incumbent IndyCar champion Newgarden led from the green flag while Scott Dixon, who started 18th, had moved onto the fringe of the top 10 after the opening lap.
Newgarden only took 20 laps to catch lap traffic on the 0.8-mile oval but had established a two-second margin to teammate Power who was engrossed in a battle of his own for second with Conor Daly who had shown a strong turn in pace this weekend.
Daly would eventually yield third position to Pato O’Ward on lap 57 as several drivers made their first pitstop.
Newgarden responded a lap later and maintained his lead over Power which had extended courtesy of the one-lap undercut on fresh tyres.
The first half of the race was surprisingly clean and it was not until lap 114 until the first caution came out when Ed Carpenter stalled after he tagged the outside wall, pitching the series veteran into a spin.
The caution allowed Dixon to make a free pitstop in which he re-joined down in 11th while IndyCar race officials decided to clean the marbles off the circuit which had built up over the opening stint.
It meant the restart did not arrive until lap 126 with Newgarden leading O’Ward and Power who then relinquished the spot to a hard-charging Graham Rahal.
O’Ward looked to put a move on Newgarden off the restart but quickly had his progress hampered when he encountered lap traffic before eventually making his way to pitlane on lap 173.
But tragedy struck for the young Mexican racer as his Arrow McLaren SP pitcrew failed to properly secure the right-rear wheelnut and forced the team to drag the car back for repairs.
The consequence of the lacklustre pitstop could have been more dire if it weren’t for the race’s second caution to come out a lap later when Ryan Hunter-Reay collected the wall while departing pitlane.
Dixon had wrestled himself into eighth at the restart as a composed Newgarden continued to lead the field, this time with Power in tow ahead of Daly, Rahal and yesterday’s race winner Simon Pagenaud.
Daly’s early stop came back to haunt the Carlin racer as he was called into pitlane for a splash of fuel less than 30-laps from the chequered flag.
Newgarden checked out a crossed the line 2.78s ahead of Power for his first race triumph of the season, leading all but 36 of the 250-lap race.
Power hung on for second ahead Rahal with Pagenaud and Dixon rounding out the Top 5.
The Kiwi now holds a 49-point buffer over Pagenaud at the head of the standings as the series now enters a three-week hiatus before the next round from Mid-Ohio on August 8.
|12||Pato O’Ward||-1 lap|
|13||Conor Daly||-1 lap|
|14||Alex Palou||-1 lap|
|15||Felix Rosenqvist||-2 laps|
|16||Charlie Kimball||-2 laps|
|17||Rinus VeeKay||-2 laps|
|18||Santino Ferrucci||-3 laps|
|19||Colton Herta||-3 laps|
|20||Zach Veach||-3 laps|
|21||Takuma Sato||-3 laps|
|22||Ryan Hunter-Reay||-72 laps|
|23||Ed Carpenter||-138 laps|