NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report - Iowa Race 1

July 18, 2020

Track:    Iowa Speedway
Race:      Iowa INDYCAR 250s - Race 1
Date:      July 17, 2020
No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Start: 2nd
Finish: 5th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 68
Points Position: 4th (-76)

  • It was a frustrating day for Josef Newgarden as he and the No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet shower lots of speed and led laps early, but an untimely caution ended in a fifth-place finish in the first race of a doubleheader weekend at Iowa Speedway.
  • Newgarden’s Chevrolet showed its strengthen early on, taking the lead from Conor Daly on lap 14. That lead grew to more than five-and-a-half seconds by lap 54 as the Hitachi Chevrolet paced the field.
  • On lap 70, he stopped in the pits for fuel and tires in an effort to maintain the speed he had and quickly take advantage of the fuel cycle to regain the lead. By lap 127, he found his way back to leading the field.
  • However, shortly after pitting from the lead, a caution for an incident on the front stretch put the Hitachi Chevrolet a lap down.  However, the speed of his car allowed him to race his way back on the lead lap, but a late caution never came.
  • Despite leading 68 laps during the evening, Newgarden ended his day in the fifth position.

Quote: "The caution was certainly the nail in the coffin. Not to sound too overconfident, but we had the car to beat tonight hands down. It is just bad luck. The yellow coming out when it came out, you can’t predict that stuff. You weigh the pros and cons when you’re trying to go long or trying to go short with your pit windows. I can’t fault my Hitachi guys. I think they did a great job. I had a rocket ship and I’m sad we couldn’t put our car in victory lane because I feel that we had that potential. Like I said, I’m really proud of my guys. They always do a great job for me. We just chalk it up to bad luck tonight. We got to try and make up for it tomorrow. Look, all you can do is go forward. This is racing. Some days the racing gods shine down on you and some days they don’t. And today they definitely didn’t. But that’s how it works. You need to take the good days when you get them and accept the bad days when you have them. So we’re going to try and regroup for tomorrow. But Chevy has done a great job for us. We had the package to beat tonight in my opinion and having Hitachi support us always means the world. We’re going to try again tomorrow and try and get them."
No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Start: 3rd
Finish: 21st
Status: Contact
Laps Completed: 142/250
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 10th (-112)

  • Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet continued their season of strong finishes and nothing to show for it on Friday night at Iowa Speedway.  After starting the first race of a doubleheader weekend in the third position, Power fell victim to an accident with just over 100 laps to go, resulting in a 21st-place finish.
  • Early on the Verizon Chevrolet showed speed, moving into second behind teammate Josef Newgarden before pitting for the first time on lap 70 for fuel, tires and a front wing adjustment to improve his handling.
  • Power slotted into second and eventually fell to third before visiting the pits again on lap 136.  However, problems with Power’s left front tire resulted in an on-track accident, knocking the Verizon Chevy from the event after just 142 laps.
  • Due to the unfortunate finish, Power lost three spots in NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship point standings and is now in the 10th position heading into Saturday’s second event.

Quote: "Yeah, I just got loose and the front end took off and I went into the wall. Not a good feeling. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know what I’m going to do and it’s frustrating. So, so, so frustrating. It’s unbelievable man. I don’t know what to say but fortunate for me and my Verizon Chevy guys we get another shot tomorrow. Man I can’t thank INDYCAR enough for everything they’ve done safety wise with the aeroscreen and halo inside the aeroscreen. You just saw Colton Herta go over the top of someone and they’ve just done a tremendous job. It’s better than any other series that have invented something like it. Just a very good job."
No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 23rd
Finish: 1st - 15th career INDYCAR win
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 83
Points Position: 2nd (-50)

  • Coming off a tough two days last weekend at Road America, Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet overcame a problem in qualifying to go worst to first, winning the opener of a pair of night races at Iowa Speedway on Friday night.
  • Things started bad for Pagenaud on Friday afternoon, with a mechanical problem in the fuel cell kept the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet from taking a time in qualifying, resulting in a 23rd-place starting position.  When the green flag flew, Pagenaud began making quick work of the field, rocketing from 23rd to 15th by lap 12.
  • Knowing they’d have to play pit strategy, team strategist Kyle Moyer called the Frenchman to the pits in a well-timed strategic stop that saw him receive fuel, tires and a front wing adjustment.  When pit stops cycled out, Pagenaud found himself quickly in the top-five.
  • Things got even better for Pagenaud when a timely caution following his second stop of the day trapped several of the other lead cars a lap down.  Shortly after the restart, Pagenaud took the lead away from Pato O’Ward on lap 178.
  • Pagenaud would hold the lead until the checkered flag, holding off Scott Dixon by a half a second.  He led a race-high 83 laps on the night.
  • The win was Pagenaud’s 15th-career NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory and his first of the 2020 season.

Quote: "Wow. This place is tough. But what a night. What a day for us. First of all, amazing group effort from the whole Team Penske group to recover from Road America. We unloaded really well. This morning was really fun. Qualifying was disheartening, but these guys never give up. And that’s what this team is all about. It’s amazing to get the Menards car to be shining here in Iowa is awesome. I’m really proud for John [Menards] and everyone at Menards and Chevy. Obviously we had the horsepower and fuel consumption but most importantly I can’t believe it. I have to rewatch the race. How did I get there? I don’t know but the last 50 laps were certainly a lot of tension. When Dixon is chasing you, you gotta hit your marks. It certainly wasn’t easy with lapped traffic and I knew we had a really good car on long runs. That was really my chance. I was really keeping up with my tires and the behaved really well, the Firestone tires tonight. I was a little worried about the McLaren guys because they pitted for new tires and new tires had so much speed so I was a little worried. In the end, just thanks everyone at Team Penske. And thank everyone who supports us. That was an amazing team effort. Thank you. If I have to do it again, this was certainly a cool win on an oval. Indy will always be the top but this one was pretty cool too."