Recovering from a brutal crash at Texas, Josef Newgarden was able to win the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 with dominance

_9SG5566-1-2The confetti flies in Victory Lane as Josef Newgarden wins the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway — Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher

Starting from 2nd Place Car 21 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet won the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300. Newgarden was racing with injuries from a crash in Texas Speedway & led the race with 282 laps of 300. 2nd Place Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet, started from 8th place. 3rd Place Car 9 Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, started from 10th place.

16C_1363-1The podium of Josef Newgarden, Will Power, and Scott Dixon with their trophies in Victory Lane following the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway — Photo by: Chris Owens

4th Place Car 22 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, started from pole followed by 5th placeCar 7 Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, started from 9th place. 6th Place Car 98 Alexander Rossi, Honda, started from 17th place followed by 7th place Car 10 Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, started from 6th place. 8th Place Car 11 Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, started from 16th place followed by 9th place Car 5 Canadian James Hinchcliffe, Honda, started from 22nd place. Lastly in the Top 10 was Car 83 Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, in 10th place, started from 5th place.

_9SG4924-1Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden lead the field down the backstretch prior to the start of the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway — Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher

The race had 3 Cautions for 42 laps: 1st Caution on lap 109 for Mechanical: Car 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda in Turn 2. 2nd Caution on lap 179 for Mechanical: Car 2 Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet in Turn 1. 3rd Caution on lap 246 for Contact: Car 8 Max Chilton, Chevrolet in Turn 2.

04CJ0040Graham Rahal, James Hinchcliffe, and Will Power streak across the start-finish line during the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway — Photo by: Chris Jones

The race had 10 Lead changes among 5 drivers: Lap Leaders: Newgarden 1-49, Pagenaud 50-58, Chilton 59-60, Rossi 61-64, Newgarden 65-112, Pagenaud 113, Newgarden 114-181, Pagenaud 182, Newgarden 183-249, Dixon 250, Newgarden 251-300,

04CJ9976Josef Newgarden comes in for tires and fuel on pit lane during the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway — Photo by: Chris Jones

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Pagenaud 409, Newgarden 336, Power 334, Dixon 321, Castroneves 318, Kanaan 306, Rossi 286, Munoz 280, Rahal 275, Kimball 275.

04CJ0177AJosef Newgarden takes the twin checkers to win the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway — Photo by: Chris Jones

Newgarden dominates field to win Iowa Corn 300

NEWTON, Iowa (Sunday, July 10, 2016) – Josef Newgarden put on one of the most dominant clinics in Indy car history, leading a record 282 laps today to win the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway.

The victory was the third of Newgarden’s six-year Verizon IndyCar Series career and first on an oval track. It also vaulted the Ed Carpenter Racing driver three spots into second place in the point standings after 10 of 16 completed races.

Starting the 300-lap race second in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet, Newgarden bolted past pole sitter Simon Pagenaud on the opening lap and never looked back. The only time the 25-year-old surrendered the lead came when he made pit stops for fuel and tires. His 282 laps led are the most ever by a driver in an Indy car race, surpassing the 250 by Ryan Hunter-Reay when he led every lap to win at Milwaukee in 2004.

“It was a lot of fun, mainly because the car was so good,” said Newgarden, who finished second to Hunter-Reay in each of the past two Iowa races. “It would go anywhere, it wasn’t really falling off much. It was fun. In some stints it seemed like a video game. You put on new tires, you catch people at the right point and you could just slice and dice.”

Newgarden sustained a fractured right clavicle and fractured bone in his right hand in a crash during the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway that was suspended by rain June 12 after 71 laps. Still recovering, Newgarden finished eighth at Road America two weeks ago before driving to victory lane today. He trails Team Penske’s Pagenaud – who finished the race in fourth – by 73 points in the championship.

JR Hildebrand substituted in the No. 21 car at the Iowa Speedway test on June 29. Newgarden admitted being nervous over how physically demanding the short oval is, but surprised himself with how he handled it.

“If you have as good of a car as I had today, it makes your race so much easier to drive,” Newgarden said. “I don’t think people should feel like I did some crazy feat. The hand is still a little broken. I was able to use it; it wasn’t too painful. The clavicle feels good with the plate in, was stable. It was a little more uncomfortable than normal around here, but it was doable.”

The victory was also the seventh in the history of Ed Carpenter Racing since its formation in 2012.

“It was a great day for the team,” said team owner/driver Ed Carpenter, who finished 18th in the team’s other car. “We tested here last week, we knew we had really strong race cars. Josef drove excellent, especially with the conditions of his hand hurting.”

Will Power finished in second place, 4.2828 seconds behind Newgarden. Driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Power passed Pagenaud and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon in the final seven laps to collect his third podium finish in as many races – on the heels of his back-to-back wins at Detroit’s Belle Isle-2 and Road America.

“It was good,” said Power, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion who sits third in this year’s championship, 75 points behind Pagenaud. “It took us all day to get to the front, basically. We kind of went really long on the first stint, lost quite a lot of positions there, then slowly made our way back.

“We needed long stints to get back to the front because our car was really good over a long distance. I’m not sure we would have had anything for Newgarden. He was on his own on another planet. Really happy with second, though. Really, really happy.”

Dixon finished third in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet for his 88th career podium finish – moving the four-time series champion into a tie for sixth on the all-time podiums list with Helio Castroneves, Bobby Rahal and Al Unser Jr.

“We spent much of the race just trying to dial the car in, at least the balance, and we had way too much understeer early on,” Dixon said. “It was nice to start the race, was pretty consistent, but fell off a lot towards the end.

“I don’t think anybody really had anything for Josef today. Huge credit to that team. For me, it’s nice to have an Iowa race go somewhat smooth.”

The race on the high-banked 0.894-mile short oval – the 10th Verizon IndyCar Series event at Iowa Speedway – was slowed three times by full-course cautions. Hunter-Reay saw his chances for a third consecutive Iowa win and fourth in five years end when he stopped on Lap 109 with smoke trailing from his No. 28 DHL Honda. Juan Pablo Montoya had a similar ending in the No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet on Lap 179. Rookie Max Chilton brought out the final caution on Lap 246 when he spun exiting Turn 2 in the No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

Castroneves finished 13th in his 321st career Indy car start, moving the Team Penske driver ahead of Al Unser into fourth on the all-time list. Tony Kanaan, who finished seventh, joined Unser in a tie for fifth with 320 career starts.

The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to action July 15-17 for the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto’s Exhibition Place. Verizon P1 Award qualifying airs live at 1:30 p.m. ET July 16 on NBCSN. The 85-lap race on the 1.755-mile street circuit airs live at 3 p.m. July 17 on CNBC with a re-air at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Serralles wins Indy Lights race

Felix Serralles (Carlin) passed Zach Veach (Belardi Auto Racing) as the two battled through lapped traffic to take the lead on the 99th of 100 laps and went on to win the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race at Iowa Speedway. It was Serralles’ second win of the season.

Championship leader Ed Jones (Carlin) finished third.

16C_1055-1Josef Newgarden streaks down the backstretch during the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway — Photo by: Chris Owens

“What They’re Saying” from the Iowa Corn 300

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet): “The DeVilbiss Chevy was running so well today. We struggled a little bit in qualifying because we couldn’t get a clear assessment on the assimilations there, but we knew that we had a strong car for today’s race and I really thought we had a shot at the win. As we adjusted the car, it was getting better and better. So, obviously disappointed with how things ended. Again, I just want to thank DeVilbiss, Chevrolet and Verizon for supporting us and we’ll look ahead to better results in Toronto.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Hitachi Chevrolet was a top-five car here at Iowa Speedway, especially after we made some changes in the third pit stop. However, we got caught under the caution, unfortunately. We couldn’t catch a break and we tried everything to stay out and every time we stopped the caution came out. It was not a good day for us after that, but we can’t give up. We have to move on and look forward to Toronto.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I think we can be pretty pleased with that. To start shotgun on the field and end up in the top 10 without really any lucky breaks or lucky yellows. It was just on pace, we had quick stops from the guys and stayed out of trouble. There weren’t a lot of cautions or a lot of guys going out today, so we kind of just had to race our way up there. Big credit to the No. 5 crew and everybody on the Arrow Electronics team. The car was good all weekend, other than that issue with qualifying obviously, so it sucked to start back there but to be able to work our way back up showed the strength that we have. Obviously congrats to Mikhail (Aleshin) with his top five, it was a great day for the SPM team.”

MIKHAEL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda): “Fifth is definitely a decent result and really good for the whole team. The guys did an amazing job to put the SMP Racing car together overnight after some technical issues we had yesterday. The car was pretty good to drive compared to most of the field. We were moving up in position constantly during the race, and I was pretty patient. I knew that we were going to be up there, but at the same time. I knew that we had to be aggressive with some things. Overall, we put everything together today and P5 was definitely good.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was definitely a character-building day for us and the Gallagher team. It was a learning experience with all the lapped cars and wave-arounds. The car was good and I was trying to keep up with the changes I could make. We had a vibration of some sort and I spun. We wanted to get out and continue and get the maximum laps and experience we could.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Considering how the weekend started it was pretty dang good. We were in a hole as of Friday so we had a wholesale change for the race today. So it took us a little while to get the balance closer – but we had too much understeer and fell off a lot towards the end. It almost seemed like (Josef) had another set of wings on that car – huge credit to him and everybody at the team there. They did a helluva job. I knew all day that he was running very fast, but it wasn’t until the end that I got up to the pointy end of the field. I kind of hurt my race toward that latter part there – I was trying to keep up with Josef and burned the front tires up.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet): “I think we had a top-three car for sure, but things just wouldn’t go our way today. We had some issues with our power and then that last stop really hurt us when we came in a littler earlier than we expected we’d have to and the yellow came out two laps later. Those situations are frustrating, but you just can’t control them. The No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet was obviously faster than seventh-place considering how much we were running up front with (Scott) Dixon and (Will) Power.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “It was a very average day although the result was pretty decent considering we started 16th. The Hydroxycut Chevy machine was way too slow. We went conservative on the downforce and had way more downforce than anyone else. Overall we just weren’t competitive pace-wise. We got a little lucky, although we created some of our luck. We stayed out late on many stints, which was the result of running a lot of downforce so we were taking pretty good care of the tires. We were getting passed early, but we passed a couple of cars toward the end of the runs. There was just no speed in the car, which is always frustrating when you are behind the wheel. On top of that I stalled the car on the last pit stop. I am not quite sure what happened there. So it was just a tough day at the office, but the Team Hydroxycut – KVSH guys did a good job and we got some decent points.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a really good run. I think we had a very good long run car. We had people come back to us at the end of the stint so I was very happy that it went full green there at the end. That allowed us to get up to second. I’m just stoked to finish well at Iowa. It was tight racing cause those two guys I was racing against are guys we’re definitely racing in the championship. Obviously I didn’t want to get passed but I wanted to get by them. They’re very trustworthy drivers and very good to race with.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “We’d been struggling here in Iowa but we tested here and it helped. We tried a different philosophy which brought some different ideas so we’re getting better results. The team is making real progress.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Mi-Jack/RLL Honda): “It was a frustrating day. We were really hard on the tires; they were vibrating like nothing I have ever experienced before. It was vibrating so bad that I couldn’t hold onto the steering wheel any longer near the end of the stint so we had to pit earlier than we wanted. We have to reboot and come back stronger at Toronto.”

CONOR DALY (No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda): “Today was not what we expected at all, the car was beyond difficult to drive. As much as we tried to work on it to fix it, the problem seemed to be deeper than what we could adjust so the safest thing to do was to retire the car. I’m confident we’ll be able to do our homework and come back stronger.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “It was a tough day for us. We’ve had races where we don’t finish where we want to, but we’re confident that the car we have during the race has the potential to be better and we see the progress. Today was just one of those races where we’re just trying to make it to the finish. It’s racing, we have those days. We’ll look to see why we struggled so much, particularly on our tire life and then take it from there and learn.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “It was a great day for the team. We tested here last week, we knew we had really strong race cars. Josef (Newgarden) drove excellent, especially with the conditions of his hand hurting. I really felt like one of us would win, and there was a really good chance both of us would be here (on the podium). Didn’t know we would have quite the dominant day that Josef had, but we needed to get back in victory lane for the team, for Chevrolet. It’s good to contribute some points for Josef and the No. 21 entry. Second in points right now, so we are in a really good position there. We just have to keep doing the same thing we are doing, and keep rounding into form. Hopefully next race we will have two of them on the podium.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet): “I’m just so happy for Iowa. I love coming here and happy we’ll be here for the next two years. We’ve got great support from all these people. I love staying in Des Moines and getting to race at this awesome racetrack. It’s one of the best for INDYCAR. I’m just so elated that we were able to get that oval win. We’ve been so close finishing second here twice the last couple of years and second at other ovals but this team, they got it done. They gave me an amazing car and made it easy on me. I could go anywhere with the thing so it made it easier with everything I was dealing with. I’m just so happy for Fuzzy’s Vodka. They do such a great job. It’s just a privileged to be here with these guys. Thanks to Firestone for giving us the ability to race these guys like we do. We could just hang in a little bit better than everyone else it felt like.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a great day overall for the Menards Chevy. We had a really good car at the start and unfortunately we ran an adjustment pretty quickly when the track changed with the Firestone rubber coming down halfway through the race. We ended up having to deal with what we had. We just didn’t have enough pace at the end to contend for the win. So, fourth today I think is a great day, honestly. I’m very pleased with second in Phoenix and fourth here. Our short oval program has improved massively compared to last year. I’m proud of everyone at Team Penske and the 22 team did a fantastic job again.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “Man, that was the longest race of my career in INDYCAR. We struggled a lot for grip. I didn’t have any confidence in the car. We were just chasing the car the whole race, changing and never could get the balance in the car. We have to now think about Toronto. This was a tough race for the whole team.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): “Another disappointing result. I had to come from the back and it was hard to pass. We gave it all we had. We took a risk on strategy, which of course didn’t pay off – so here we are with a 14th-place finish.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “It [the engine] just popped without warning but that was the least of our problems today. That was the most out of shape I think we have ever been. I’m not really sure. We’re going to have to look at it. I couldn’t get out on my own way out there on a track that I absolutely love and that this team has historically been so good at. It just goes to show you that you can never get ahead of yourself. You always have to keep working. You always have to find a way to be faster. We came here for a test and it was a pretty productive test and had some hard times there but wow this was really bad today. It was something I just couldn’t find a solution to. We tried some significant changes. Not huge but significant ones trying to settle the rear. My big problem was I could not get around a car at all. If I got around a car it felt like I lost two thousand pounds of downforce. On mid to late tires I was just skating around on top of the track like I had no wings on the car. It was amazing. I had never felt anything like that.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Stuff didn’t fall our way today – we got caught out by yellows twice but the car was pretty quick especially on old tires. If we’d been a little more fortunate with the timing of these yellows, I think we’d have been in the top 10. It’s a shame we couldn’t catch a break but the car performed well today.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet): “Overall it was a really fighting day for the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team. The pit stops were solid all day – I think we made up time every time we came into pit lane. I really appreciate the work they’ve done all weekend, and really all year. The car wasn’t great to start with, but we just kept making it better. We slid back early and had to fight almost our whole race from a lap down. It was really just a fighting day and happy to add another solid top-ten finish.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda): “Starting 17th made our life hard. I think we were unlucky in terms of the yellows when they came out because our strength today was in the second half of our tire life. We had really, really good tire life and everyone else was struggling. We were able to stay out but we were never able to take advantage of that. None-the-less a good result from where we started and we’re looking forward to Toronto.”

NEWTON, Iowa – Results Sunday, July 10, 2016 of the Iowa Corn 300 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 0.894-mile Iowa Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, car, driver, aero kit-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (2) Car 21 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 300, Running
2. (8) Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet, 300, Running
3. (10) Car 9 Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 300, Running
4. (1) Car 22 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 300, Running
5. (9) Car 7 Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 300, Running
6. (17) Car 98 Alexander Rossi, Honda, 299, Running
7. (6) Car 10 Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 299, Running
8. (16) Car 11 Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 299, Running
9. (22) Car 5 James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 299, Running
10. (5) Car 83 Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 299, Running
11. (13) Car 14 Takuma Sato, Honda, 298, Running
12. (15) Car 26 Carlos Munoz, Honda, 298, Running
13. (3) Car 3 Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 298, Running
14. (19) Car 27 Marco Andretti, Honda, 298, Running
15. (14) Car 41 Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 298, Running
16. (12) Car 15 Graham Rahal, Honda, 297, Running
17. (18) Car 19 Gabby Chaves, Honda, 293, Running
18. (7) Car 20 Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 284, Running
19. (4) Car 8 Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 274, Running
20. (11) Car 2 Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 179, Mechanical
21. (21) Car 18 Conor Daly, Honda, 141, Mechanical
22. (20) Car 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 105, Mechanical

Race Statistics
Winners average speed: 143.330 mph
Time of Race: 1:52:16.3613
Margin of victory: 4.2828 seconds

Fastest Lap: 179.481 mph (17.9317 seconds) on Lap 265 by 21 – Josef Newgarden
Fastest Leader Lap: 179.481 mph (17.9317 seconds) on Lap 265 by 21 – Josef Newgarden
Verizon P1 Award ($10,000): Simon Pagenaud (34.6334 seconds, 185.855 mph)
Bonus Awards: Josef Newgarden ($30,000), Will Power ($20,000), Scott Dixon ($15,000), Simon Pagenaud ($11,000), Mikhail Aleshin ($10,000), Alexander Rossi ($9,000), Tony Kanaan ($8,000), Sebastien Bourdais ($6,000), James Hinchcliffe ($5,000), Charlie Kimball ($4,000), Takuma Sato ($3,000), Carlos Munoz ($2,000)

Next Race: July 15-17 Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto’s Exhibition Place

Graphics & Photos Courtesy of Indycar

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