Newgarden Leads Final Practice At Iowa As Pagenaud Suffers Engine Failure

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Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden in the No.1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet led the way in the final practice session ahead of Sunday’s Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. The Tennessee native set a fastest speed of 176.772MPH.

Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda was second fastest for Andretti Autosport just ahead of his team mate Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda.

Series points leader Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda was fourth fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing with a fastest speed of 174.133MPH with the Iceman ending the session just ahead of pole sitter Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Ed Jones in the No.10 DC Solar Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing ended the session in sixth place.

Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet ended the session in seventh place for Team Penske despite suffering an engine failure which will necessitate an engine change ahead of Sunday’s race.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato in the No.30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda ended the session in eighth place just ahead of Tony Kanaan in the No.14 ABC Supply Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing. Zach Veach in the No.26 Relay Group 1001 Honda rounded out the top ten.

Speaking following his qualifying session, Tony Kanaan said:

It wasn’t very good, we struggled this morning. The track was really slippery, it was hotter right now, this morning it was a little cooler so it was a handful. We went the quickest of what we did all weekend so I guess we did something right. It was kind of nerve-wracking, I’m not comfortable in the car, I haven’t been this uncomfortable in a long time. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Electronics Honda ended the session in 11th place just ahead of his team mate Robert Wickens in the No.6 Lucas Oil Honda.

Matheus ‘Matt’ Leist ended the session in 13th place in the No.4 ABC Supply Chevrolet and speaking following qualifying he said:

Unfortunately we crashed in practice this morning. I’m happy that my guys managed to put the car back together again. They did a great job as they only had three hours but we’re still struggling with the car setup. We have to figure out something faster for tomorrow. We’ll keep working hard and try to race to the front. We’ll have some time to figure out something in the final practice but right now it’s not fun to drive a car like this.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 Luther Automotive Group Honda was 14th. Charlie Kimball in the No.23 Tresiba Chevrolet ended the session in 15th place just ahead of Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves in the No.88 Harding Group Chevrolet. Speaking following qualifying the Colombian commented by saying;

 We just finished qualifying for the Iowa Corn 300. Unfortunately, I think we were on the unlucky side with all the (ARCA) stock cars and Indy Lights cars because we were one of the first cars to qualify. The track is going to progressively get cleaned up by the Firestone Tires, so it’ll get better for the guys going out later. The car was really good in practice, we made some changes, so I think the car is going to be great for the race tomorrow.

Zachary Claman DeMelo in the No.19 Paysafe Honda was 17th fastest just ahead of Carlin Racing’s Max Chilton in the No.59 Gallagher Chevrolet.

Sebastien Bourdais in the No.18 SealMaster Honda ended the session 19th place and speaking about his qualifying he said:

The SealMaster crew did the best they could with just the one hour of practice. Not being able to do the test with Firestone a few weeks back (due to wet track conditions) really hurt us. The car was pushing, then loose, a little bit of everything. I had no grip and the car was bouncing up and down. It’s a shame because we usually find solutions, just not in one hour. We will just have to go back, review the data and see what we can come up with for tomorrow.

Spencer Pigot in the No.21 Chevrolet ended the session in 20th place and speaking following qualifying he commented by saying:

It was definitely tricky. This morning, we had a pretty good run and I was really happy with the Fuzzy’s Vodka car. This afternoon, we just didn’t really have the grip. I was struggling with front grip and also with rear grip on both ends of the track. Hopefully, we can find some more pace tonight.

Ed Carpenter was 21st fastest and speaking following his qualifying session he commented by saying:

It is difficult compared to last year. We are down over 1000 pounds of downforce from where we qualified in 2017. It’s a big difference. We were all running max downforce earlier, but track temp and air temp are both up and a lot of cars are struggling. If you would have said I would have had this lap time going in, I would have thought we’d be starting near the back. Conditions are so different than where they were this morning in practice.

Marco Andretti in the No.98 US Concrete Honda for Bryan Herta Autosport rounded out the order in 22nd place.

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