The Captain’s team have been the ones to beat in America’s heartland for many years and that trend continued with Josef Newgarden taking yet another win on the 0.8-mile short oval. The Nashville native has won four times at Iowa Speedway with two further second places in IndyCar alone.
Once he scorched past pole sitter Will Power just over 100 laps into the 250, Newgarden was untouchable and lapped everyone but the top five by the chequered flag.
It wasn’t just the number two that impressed as Scott McLaughlin came home second behind his fellow ‘Bus Bro’. Power was fast all day too but a brief graze of the wall hampered his chances.
The only driver who could hold a torch to the three Penske boys was Pato O’Ward, who won the second race at Iowa one year ago. ‘The Ninja’ was third for Arrow McLaren which will please the team who didn’t test here a few weeks ago.
Championship leader Alex Palou made the best of his machine as Ganassi struggled to match Penske as Marcus Ericsson and Scott Dixon also consolidated what they could.
Andretti’s awful day
Andretti Autosport came to Iowa expecting to struggle somewhat compared to the other big three of Penske, Ganassi and McLaren but this was even worse than they could’ve imagined.
The pace just wasn’t there for the Honda-powered outfit and the tone for the day was set by Colton Herta’s 43-second pitstop which was already far too early for a three-stop strategy to work.
That ended the Californian’s chances although his lack of long-run speed probably did that anyway. Romain Grosjean, Kyle Kirkwood and Devlin DeFrancesco were all just battling each other in the teens and couldn’t lay a glove on Ganassi or McLaren, who were both comfortably slower than Penske anyway.
Kirkwood managed to luck out with strategy and a well-timed yellow to get into the top 10 but that is not what Andretti are here to race for.
|1||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske|
|2||Scott McLaughlin||Team Penske|
|3||Pato O’Ward||Arrow McLaren|
|4||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|5||Will Power||Team Penske|
|6||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|7||Kyle Kirkwood||Andretti Autosport|
|8||Alex Palou||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|9||Takuma Sato||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|10||Alexander Rossi||Arrow McLaren|