Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hitachi Chevrolet is one step closer to securing his second NTT IndyCar Series championship after he took victory in the rain delayed Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night. The Tennessee native who started the race from the front row alongside polesitter Simon Pagenaud came home just ahead of defending series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.
The race had been delayed due to extreme weather from rain to thunder and lightening and speaking following the race Newgarden, who is now 29 points ahead of Alexander Rossi said:
Let me thank the fans that stayed. I’m sorry it took so long, but glad we got it in tonight. We can’t help the weather. My guys were awesome on the Hitachi car. Team Penske, Team Chevy, I can’t thank them enough. We had three fast cars. I wanted to be the fastest. We succeeded tonight. The car was great. You had to be good in traffic, and we were pumped for the guys. They worked really hard. It was nice to have it under the lights. I think if the weather didn’t come, we weren’t going to be under the lights. We just have to keep going. It’s early. This helps tonight, but it’s never enough. You never have enough points. We just have to stay on top of it.”
Scott Dixon came through the field from eighth place on the grid to finish the race in second place and as a result maintained his fourth place in the championship and is still under the 98 points behind championship leader Newgarden and speaking following the race he said:
I just have to thank the team. We just tried to go long on that last long run, and luckily, we caught the yellow and it kept us on the lead lap, and there were only nine cars on the lead lap. Honestly, (to be) second…I thought we would be 22nd. Tonight, we just burnt up the tires quickly and both myself and the No. 10 really struggled. I can’t thank everyone enough on the PNC Bank team. The strategy was great. We didn’t quite get the win, but oh my gosh, that’s crazy, but I’ll take it.”
Last year’s race winner James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Electronics Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports started the race from fifth place and came home in third place to score his first podium of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season. Speaking following the race, the Mayor of HinchTown commented by saying:
We started inside the top five, which was good. Had a lot of really good battles on track; we raced really hard with Spencer (Pigot), which was a lot of fun. There was a lot of close calls out there. The cars changed a lot as the track kind of rubbered in. Went loose, push, it was a little bit of everything; dirty air, clean air. The second lane came in nicely at the end, so the racing was good. I want to thank everybody at Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, the No. 5 car was stout – it’s nice to be back on the podium. Big time thanks to the fans for staying out here through the weather; I hope you guys enjoyed the show.
Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet started the race from pole position and ended the event in fourth place and speaking following the race he said:
I think Josef (Newgarden) was tremendous tonight, to be honest. We had a great car, just too much understeer all race long. We were in trouble with that, so quite frankly, that is the pace we had, I think. (Scott) Dixon did a great job with tires at the end. I think we got the best out of tonight.
It was a great night for Spencer Pigot in the No.21 AutoGeek Chevrolet as he came through the field from 19th place on the grid to finish the race just ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda and speaking following the race, Pigot said:
It was a tough race, as always. With it cooling down, it was tougher to make passes as everyone had a little bit more grip. It just speaks to how well the car was handling tonight. The No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet was really good, I can’t thank the guys enough from rebounding from qualifying. At times, we were really strong. That last restart, I couldn’t get up to speed as quick as some of the guys. We’ll have to see where we can improve there, but overall, a good recovery. I am very happy to get back into the top 5.”
Rossi commented on his day saying:
Tonight was a hit. We knew this was going to be a hard one for us and it was. We got as many points as we could and that kind of became the name of the game from there on. From where we knew we were yesterday, I think the team did a good job of maximizing what we had. This is one tracks where we are missing something to the competition.”
Zach Veach in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda came from 20th on the grid to finish in seventh place just ahead of Graham Rahal and Sebastien Bourdais.
Speaking following the race, Veach said:
Tonight was relieving in a little way, but there’s still a lot more to be done. I can’t thank my Gainbridge crew enough. We had a puddle of fuel in our pit box after we pushed out to the grid. They identified exactly what it was and worked extremely quick and got me back to the grid with the 10-minute call to get suited and strapped in. Really, this is for them. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have had tonight. It was one of those where you had to be the most aggressive person to get the spots. I think we had one restart towards the end of the race where I dove to the inside of (Turn) 3 and I thought our race was over then. Luckily, I came together with my teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and he kind of saved both us because it was such a tight corner. That is the way short track racing is – you are going to be wheel to wheel here and there
Graham Rahal in the No.15 One Cure Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing commented saying:
We had a pretty good night going for most of the night. We had a little bit of a struggle early on with the balance. We had a lot of understeer early in the race, but I think we fought pretty hard tonight. We had an engine issue for the last 100 laps or so. When we tried to get by (Alexander) Rossi was when it started to appear. It was something with the injectors or left-side header, but we were losing power. As people could see, on the last restart we just got run over. We had no power. The guys did an amazing job with the pit stops and that last pit stop was awesome. Our luck will change at some point. Mid-Ohio is next week and I’m excited to go home
Sebastien Bourdais in the No.18 Team SealMaster Honda for Dale Coyne with Vasser Sullivan Racing came home in ninth place while it was a great night for AJ Foyt Racing as Tony Kanaan in the No.14 ABC Supply Chevrolet rounded out the top ten and speaking following the race he said:
We came here with a goal to finish in the top 10 and I think it was a good day for us despite a couple mistakes we made during the race. We still managed to finish in the top 10, so good day, good start. Still have a lot of work to do though.
Marcus Ericsson in the No.7 Arrow Electronics Honda finished the race in 11th place for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and speaking following the race he said:
“I think most of the race was pretty good, the Arrow car was really competitive again today. I had a really good car underneath me. The first stint was really good, we were moving up through the field before the red flag. Then I think at some point in the middle of the race, I was struggling a bit, getting stuck behind slower cars, which put me a bit out of sync, so I lost a couple of positions there. The second half of the race, again, we were super strong and going in the right direction for a solid top-five finish. Unfortunately, I made a mistake at pit entry and we got the stop-and-go penalty, which ruined the chance for a top five or even a fight for a podium. It’s very disappointing when we had such a good car. Again, I learned a lot out there, made a lot of passes, a lot of good battles, so that was really fun, just really disappointed to not get a result out of it.”
Santino Ferrucci in the No.19 Cly Del Honda for Dale Coyne Racing came home in 12th place and speaking following the race he said:
I think for my first short oval, it was definitely a tough one for us. I do believe that we had some of the best moves of the race, especially on some of the restarts. We had a super solid car in the first stint. But for the rest of the stints, towards the end of them, the No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing car was just really loose and really hard to drive. From there, I kind of struggled to keep it on the track in Turns 3 and 4, so we just managed what we could until the end.” (About the start of the race): “At the start, Pancho (Carter, spotter) said that it was possible to pass three rows here and he wasn’t telling lies. Everybody went low and checked up and no one was in that third lane and I wasn’t afraid of possible weepers, probably because I’m too new. I just kept my foot in it, passed a lot of cars and made my way forward.
Conor Daly in the No.59 Gallagher Chevrolet for Carlin Racing came home in 13th place and speaking following the race he said:
I’ve never finished a race at Iowa, so it’s cool to have a car and the confidence to do what we were doing out there tonight. We were fighting in a really good spot with the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. We were up there quite a ways, and realistically, would’ve liked to have been in the top 10 and probably should’ve been in the top 10. We took a gamble there at the end with tires and the No. 19 car definitely jumped that last restart, which sort of messed things up for us. It is what it is and I’m just super happy to get through another weekend like we did and make progress. This place is just so hard and our result is a testament to the team and how hard we’re working together.”
Felix Rosenqvist in the No.10 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing finished the race in 14th place just ahead of Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet for Team Penske.
Speaking following the race the Swede said:
It was a long race in the PNC Bank car. I thought it was a good experience for my first short oval though. Even though we didn’t have a great race, we kind of got in the wrong place at the wrong time with Sage (Karam) spinning in front of us. We’ll learn from this and come back stronger.”
Will Power commented by saying:
I went just a bit wide getting onto pit road and then you get into the marbles. Once you get your tires dirty, it is almost impossible to drive and I really had no chance. It was an unfortunate end to a pretty strong day for the No. 12 Verizon Chevy team. We jumped out to the lead early before Josef (Newgarden) got around us. He was very strong tonight, but we definitely had a podium tonight before the pit road penalty.”
Mathues Matt Leist in the No.4 ABC Supply Chevrolet came home in 16th place just ahead of Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport. Speaking following the race he said:
I think from where we started the weekend, it was a pretty good race. I passed some cars and we had a decent pace, just a matter of fact of tires and strategy and feel, but we didn’t quite catch on that. At least we finished this one and I think we did a great job doing that, and also a good job for Tony (Kanaan) finishing P10. Also, I think it’s a huge improvement from last year and also from the last oval at Texas where I had a lot of problems with handling the car, so I think that was a positive for us. Of course, P16 isn’t where we want to finish, but at least we finished just two laps down.”
Ryan Hunter Reay commented saying:
We just missed it entirely on setup tonight. We took a bit of a gamble for the DHL car and we came up empty handed. We started off really loose and then had to do whatever we could to dial out front grip. From there, it was just survival. It was a big swing and a miss – not the night in Iowa we were looking for.
There were five retirements from the race. Colton Herta in the No.88 GESS Capstone Honda commented saying:
Very disappointing day for the No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing team. We had a pretty good run throughout most of the race, but not enough to run with the front guys. We did have enough to finish in the top 10 again, except we had a half shaft break with twenty laps to go. It sucks a lot. There’s nothing we can do to heal this, except look forward to racing again at Mid-Ohio, which is my favorite track in North America.”
Marco Andretti in the No.98 US Concrete Honda commented saying:
It was a nightmare of a night for us. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but we think we picked up some debris during that first yellow. The car was just never right after that – a real handful. We tried a few things, but just couldn’t get it back. Thanks to the guys for doing all they could. We’ll come back swinging next weekend.”
Ed Carpenter who spun out of the race commented by saying:
I am really disappointed. The No. 20 Autogeek Chevrolet was strong tonight. Even though we started so far back, we made our way through the field more than once. To have our race end this way is very frustrating. A job well done by Spencer Pigot for getting ECR another top 5 at Iowa.
Sage Karam in the No.31 Smart Stop Self Storage Chevrolet for Carlin Racing commented on his night saying:
This is a tough one to take for sure, especially being one of the fastest cars on track tonight. I felt really good yesterday with our qualifying effort and how good the No. 31 SmartStop Carlin Chevrolet felt in practice last night. The car just felt really smooth and consistent. Obviously, it’s never fun to wait around for a delay, but I was extremely focused and ready to race tonight. Unfortunately, I made an error early in the race that we were thankfully able to recover from, but we couldn’t bounce back after the late race issue with (Takuma) Sato. I just couldn’t avoid getting into him with how quick that closing rate was when he got up into the gray. I’m absolutely gutted for SmartStop Self Storage and the entire Carlin team – I really wanted to be able to give them both the result that they deserve. The No. 31 crew did everything they absolutely could to get me back out both times tonight and they’ve been solid all weekend.”
Takuma Sato commented on his day saying:
We had a good start, but the balance was not really what we needed, so we had to stop a little bit early in the sequence, but it was working out OK. Ultimately, we got hit from behind and had so much damage. I tried to hang in there, but ultimately couldn’t do it. I’m sorry for the boys who did a great job and all the fans that remained tonight. It was a shame. Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and Will (Power) were side-by-side and I was directly behind. I had to back off a little bit and it was all under control, but unfortunately, the guy behind maybe couldn’t see it.”
Newgarden’s victory was his fourth of the season and he won;t have long to wait to get back on track as the Honda Indy 200 at Mid Ohio takes place next weekend.