The Corn Country King keeps IndyCar title fight alive with Iowa double

Josef Newgarden swept the double-header weekend to narrow the gap to Alex Palou

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IndyCar desperately needed someone to close in on Alex Palou before he ran away with the title, and Josef Newgarden delivered.

The ‘King of Corn Country’ has been supreme at Iowa Speedway ever since he arrived in the series and he took his fifth and sixth wins at the 0.8-mile short track over the course of the weekend.

Newgarden quickly took the lead with an awesome double-pass on his Team Penske teammates Will Power and Scott McLaughlin and never looked back after that, dominating the whole race.

Power made the most of a very late restart to claim second with Palou, who was anonymous for much of the race, in third with a smart move.

Felix Rosenqvist pressured Newgarden until the final restart when he got wide into the marbles and dropped to fourth while McLaughlin hung on with dead tyres for fifth as the rest ended a lap down.

Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon at IndyCar 2023 Hy-Vee Homefront 250 Presented by Instacart | Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

“We knew we had a great car and the pressure was there because I think we wanted to execute on it and make sure it was a great weekend,” Newgarden told NBC Sports after the race. 

“I’m happy now. When you finish the first race, it’s great to have a doubleheader, but you just feel incomplete until you get through today. 

“And to be able to come back and do it again, and I think make our car a little bit better. I’m so proud of the team.

“I’m excited for the rest of the season. Who knows what will happen. This is IndyCar things change really quickly. So let’s stick with it.”

The luckiest of lucky escapes

It was Lap 157 and it seemed like the race was settling down but out of nowhere, an extremely scary moment for several of the drivers on track.

Sting Ray Robb’s rear tyre came loose from his Dale Coyne Racing car and rolled into the track and the rapidly oncoming traffic. The likes of Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly did a remarkable job to avoid it as it bounced from the track to the infield.

Replays showed that the tyre changer didn’t give the OK to the lead mechanic which sent Robb on his way and the wheel nut that should have been on his car was stranded in pitlane.

IndyCar took arguably too long to throw the yellow but luckily, nobody made contact with the rogue tyre but it could have been an enormous accident and Dale Coyne Racing can expect heavy punishment for such an unsafe release.

Pos.DriverTeam
1Josef NewgardenTeam Penske
2Will PowerTeam Penske
3Alex PalouChip Ganassi Racing
4Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren
5Scott McLaughlinTeam Penske
6Scott DixonChip Ganassi Racing
7Colton HertaAndretti Autosport
8David MalukasDale Coyne Racing
9Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi Racing
10Pato O’WardArrow McLaren

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