Josef Newgarden took the first swing in the first of an NTT IndyCar Series’ doubleheader feature at Iowa Speedway after winning the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 on Saturday, July 23.
The two-time IndyCar champion from Hendersonville, Tennessee, led twice for a race-high 208 of 250 laps and managed to retain the top spot through a 76-lap dash to the finish to both carve his way through lapped traffic and hold off a hard-charging Pato O’Ward to claim his fourth victory of the 2022 IndyCar season along with his fourth victory at Iowa.
With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Saturday, Will Power earned his 65th IndyCar career pole position after earning the top starting spot with a pole-winning lap at 178.199 mph in 18.0607 seconds. Joining him on the front row was teammate Josef Newgarden, who posted his best qualifying lap at 177.782 mph in 18.1031 seconds.
When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Power rocketed with an early advantage ahead of Newgarden through the first two turns while Pato O’Ward challenged Conor Daly for third place. Following the completion of the first lap, Power’s No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara-Chevrolet was out in front by a second over teammate Newgarden while Daly fended off O’Ward and Scott McLaughlin in third place.
Through the first 10 scheduled laps, Power remained out in front by one-and-a-half seconds over teammate Newgarden followed by Daly, O’Ward and McLaughlin while David Malukas, Rinus VeeKay, Jack Harvey, Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist were in the top 10. Romain Grosjean was in 11th ahead of Alex Palou, Jimmie Johnson, Colton Herta and Takuma Sato while Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Devlin DeFrancesco, Alexander Rossi and Simon Pagenaud were scored in the top 20.
Seven laps later and with the leader Power approaching lapped traffic, the first caution of the event flew when Jimmie Johnson got loose and spun his No. 48 Carvana Dallara-Honda in Turn 4. During the caution period, 11 competitors, including Johnson and Ed Carpenter, pitted while the rest led by Power remained on the track.
When the event restarted under green on Lap 23, Newgarden launched his No. 2 Hitachi Dallara-Chevrolet to the lead entering the first turn while Power settled in second ahead of O’Ward, Daly and McLaughlin.
By Lap 35, Newgarden was out in front by more than three-tenths of a second over teammate Power followed by O’Ward, Daly and Marcus Ericsson while McLaughlin, VeeKay, Malukas, Herta and Rosenqvist occupied the top 10.
At the Lap 50 mark, Newgarden continued to lead by eight-tenths of a second over teammate Power while O’Ward’s No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara-Chevrolet trailed by more than a second in third place. Colton Herta and Ericsson were in the top five while McLaughlin, Helio Castroneves, VeeKay Rosenqvist and Jimmie Johnson were in the top 10. By then, names like Conor Daly, Simon Pagenaud David Malukas and Jack Harvey pitted under green.
At the Lap 60 mark, Newgarden surrendered the lead to pit along with O’Ward, McLaughlin, Palou, VeeKay, Romain Grosjean, Takuma Sato, Marcus Ericsson, McLaughlin and Alexander Rossi. During the following lap, Power also pitted along with Herta, Rosenqvist, Dixon and Ilott.
Once the first cycle of green flag pit stops concluded as Johnson, who led a handful of laps, pitted on Lap 80, Newgarden reassumed the lead as he was out in front by more than three seconds ahead of O’Ward while Power, Ericsson and Herta occupied the top five.
Through the first 100 scheduled laps, Newgarden was leading by nearly six seconds over O’Ward while Ericsson overtook Power for third place. McLaughlin was in fifth ahead of Dixon, Johnson, VeeKay, Rosenqvist and Herta while Castroneves, Ilott, Palou, Grosjean and Rossi were in the top 15.
Four laps later, Johnson, who pitted on Lap 80 for fresh tires, carved his way into the top five after overtaking teammate Dixon and McLaughlin on the track. Meanwhile, Newgarden remained as the leader by more than six seconds over O’Ward. In addition, Conor Daly pitted his No. 20 Bitnile Dallara-Chevrolet while running inside the top 20.
Another seven laps later, the caution flew when Felix Rosenqvist, coming off his maiden podium result with Arrow McLaren SP at Toronto, slipped sideways and backed his No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara-Chevrolet into the Turn 1 outside wall as he became the first competitor to retire. During the caution period, the leaders led by Newgarden pitted and Newgarden retained the lead after exiting his pit stall with the top spot ahead of O’Ward, Ericsson, Power, McLaughlin and Johnson. During the pit stops, trouble ensued for Colton Herta, who encountered a clutch issue to his No. 26 Gainbridge Dallara-Honda and could not exit his pit stall. By the time he returned to the track, he lost six laps to the leaders.
When the event restarted on Lap 123, Newgarden took off with the lead while Ericsson muscled his No. 8 Huski Chocolate Dallara-Honda into the runner-up spot. Power would also overtake O’Ward for third place.
At the halfway mark on Lap 125, Newgarden was ahead by four-tenths of a second over Ericsson and Power while O’Ward, McLaughlin, Johnson, Dixon, VeeKay, Palou and Ilott were in the top 10.
Two laps later and as Power and O’Ward battled for third place, the caution returned due to debris reported on the track.
When the event returned to green flag conditions on Lap 133, Newgarden retained the lead following another strong start. Through the backstretch, however, Ericsson launched his attack on Newgarden for the lead. During the following lap in Turn 3, both nearly made contact as Newgarden managed to remain as the leader. Another three laps later, Power gained a huge run on Ericsson entering the backstretch to assume the runner-up spot as Newgarden led by nearly half a second.
With 100 laps remaining, Newgarden continued to lead by three-tenths of a second over teammate Power followed by Ericsson, O’Ward and McLaughlin. Behind, VeeKay and Johnson battled for sixth in front of Palou, Grosjean and Dixon. Rookie Christian Lundgaard was in 11th ahead of Callum Ilott, Castroneves, Devlin DeFrancesco and Alexander Rossi while Graham Rahal, Jack Harvey, rookie Kyle Kirkwood, David Malukas and Daly occupied the top 20.
Ten laps later, the battle for the lead ignited between Team Penske’s Newgarden and Power after Newgarden, who briefly lost his momentum while making his way around the lapped car of Simon Pagenaud, had Power settling right behind his rear wing. Meanwhile, O’Ward trailed by more than a second in third place while Ericsson and McLaughlin settled in the top five.
On Lap 164, the caution returned when Ed Carpenter spun and wrecked his No. 33 Alzamend Neuro Dallara-Chevrolet against the outside wall through Turns 1 and 2. During the caution period, the leaders led by Newgarden pitted as Newgarden retained the lead upon exiting his stall first followed by teammate Power, O’Ward, McLaughlin, Alex Palou and Jimmie Johnson. During the pit stops, Rossi and O’Ward nearly collided on pit road as O’Ward was exiting his pit stall while Rossi was trying to enter his.
With 76 laps remaining, the race proceeded under green. At the start, Newgarden continued to lead ahead of teammate Power while Alex Palou overtook O’Ward on the outside lane in Turn 1 to move into third place. As O’Ward attempted to challenge Palou to reclaim the final podium spot, Palou kept his green No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Dallara-Honda ahead of O’Ward’s No. 5 entry as he went to work on Power for the runner-up spot.
With less than 60 laps remaining, Newgarden remained as the leader by four-tenths of a second over teammate Power followed by Palou, O’Ward and Johnson. Meanwhile, McLaughlin, who was having a strong run towards the front, was two laps behind the leaders following issues during the previous restart as he pitted to address a loose right-rear wheel on his No. 3 Freightliner Dallara-Chevrolet.
Down to the final 50 laps of the event and with the leaders approaching lapped traffic, Newgarden was leading by half a second over teammate Power while Palou, O’Ward and Johnson retained their spots in the top five. VeeKay settled in sixth ahead of Grosjean, Dixon, Ericsson and Graham Rahal.
Ten laps later, Newgarden stabilized his advantage to nearly eight-tenths of a second over teammate Power. Meanwhile, O’Ward was back in third ahead of Palou while VeeKay worked his way back into the top five ahead of Johnson.
Another 15 laps later, Newgarden stabilized his advantage to nearly six-tenths of a second over the new runner-up competitor: O’Ward. Power settled back in third followed by Palou and VeeKay while Johnson, Grosjean, Dixon, Ericsson and Rahal were in the top 10.
With 15 laps remaining, Newgarden extended his advantage to more than a second over O’Ward as Power, Palou and VeeKay settled in the top five. Meanwhile, Johnson fell back to eighth ahead of Rahal and Ericsson while Grosjean was up in sixth in front of Dixon.
Down to the final 10 laps of the event, Newgarden continued to lead by more than two seconds over O’Ward as the top-10 competitors stabilized their positions on the track.
With five laps remaining, Newgarden stretched his lead to less than six seconds over O’Ward as VeeKay was up in fourth in between Power and Palou.
When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Newgarden remained as the leader by more than six seconds over O’Ward. Despite carving his way through lapped traffic, Newgarden was able to cycle his way back to the finish line under cruise control and claim his fourth checkered flag of the 2022 IndyCar season.
In addition, Newgarden claimed his 24th NTT IndyCar Series career victory, the seventh of the season for Team Penske and first since winning at Road America in June. By winning at Iowa for the fourth time in his career, he also became the all-time winningest competitor at Iowa in the IndyCar Series. In terms of the championship battle, Newgarden now trails points leader Marcus Ericsson by 15 points as he retains his hopes of contending for his third IndyCar title.
“It was pretty nice and easy out there,” Newgarden said on NBC. “It felt cool today. This car was good. I was surprised at how hard these guys were pushing on these restarts. This was a long game day and I think O’Ward definitely looked like was the toughest competitor all day to beat. I’m really proud of our team. I was disappointed after qualifying. I hate losing and I felt like we had enough to get the job done, and we didn’t. It motivated me. I knew we had the car here today to win this race and in front of this great crowd. This has been a great event and it’s one of my favorite tracks, so to be able to win here again, it’s always very special.”
“We’re in the [title] fight,” Newgarden added. “We’re relatively there. We just got to figure out how to have more consistency. It’s either winning or going sideways on our weekend. I know we can do better than this. I just know consistently, we can do better than what we’ve been doing, but we’ll get there. I always got faith every weekend I show up with Team Penske.”
O’Ward muscled his way to a strong runner-up result after finishing no higher than 11th during his three previous IndyCar starts while Will Power collected his fifth podium result of the season by finishing third.
“I was pushing Josef at the end,” O’Ward said. “We didn’t quite have it, but I have to say the car was really good. We didn’t really start off as strong, but we kept making the car better and better every single stint. There at the end, I just think we took a little bit out of [Newgarden]. Getting by Will [Power] and getting by Alex [Palou] and getting by the lappers to try and catch [Newgarden]. We’ll see what we can make better for tomorrow, but the car was really good. A P2 is really good for where we are in the championship and for our weekend. It’s good to be here. I’m excited for tomorrow.”
“I was really stoked to finish third,” Power said. “To hang on like that. Man, the tires were so gone at the end. It was crazy. It’s kind of fun like you’re sliding these things a lot. It was a good effort for our Chevy Verizon 5G car. Another top three [finish]. I look back on those as bad days. Good day.”
Rinus VeeKay and Dixon finished in the top five while Alex Palou, Grosjean, Ericsson, Graham Rahal and Christian Lundgaard completed the top 10 on the track. Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson, who led 19 laps, made a strong recovery from his early spin to finish 11th after spending the majority of the event in the top 10.
“That last run, we just went so far [that] I burned the right-rear tire off the car,” Johnson said. “But still, a very strong performance. Super happy for everybody here at Chip Ganassi Racing. Thankful for the support from Carvana, American Legion, everybody on this program. It was really a lot of fun today to be up there racing. [I] Had the outside lane working a lot of those restarts. Making up spots. Racing had with the regulars up front. It was a lot of fun.”
There were four lead changes for three different leaders. The race featured four cautions for 33 laps.
With his top-10 result, Marcus Ericsson continues to lead the standings by 15 points over Josef Newgarden, 22 over Will Power, 33 over Alex Palou, 38 over Scott Dixon, 59 over Pato O’Ward and 93 over Scott McLaughlin.
1. Josef Newgarden, 208 laps led
2. Pato O’Ward
3. Will Power, 23 laps led
4. Rinus VeeKay
5. Scott Dixon
6. Alex Palou, one lap down
7. Romain Grosjean, one lap down
8. Marcus Ericsson, one lap down
9. Graham Rahal, one lap down
10. Christian Lundgaard, one lap down
11. Jimmie Johnson, one lap down, 19 laps led
12. Callum Ilott, one lap down
13. Alexander Rossi, one lap down
14. David Malukas, one lap down
15. Kyle Kirkwood, one lap down
16. Helio Castroneves, one lap down
17. Devlin DeFrancesco, one lap down
18. Jack Harvey, one lap down
19. Conor Daly, one lap down
20. Dalton Kellett, three laps down
21. Takuma Sato, five laps down
22. Scott McLaughlin, six laps down
23. Simon Pagenaud, six laps down
24. Colton Herta, eight laps down
25. Ed Carpenter – OUT, Contact
26. Felix Rosenqvist – OUT, Contact
The second NTT IndyCar Series event of the weekend at Iowa Speedway is scheduled to occur on Sunday, July 24, at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.