Fifth Gear: Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend

As uncommon as a doubleheader sweep would have been for Group Penske’s Josef Newgarden – there have solely been two such feats on this sport since 1981 — the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway practically had one thing that’s by no means occurred on this sport: Duplicate podiums.

Till Newgarden’s automotive spun into the Flip 4 wall on Lap 236 of 300, the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 offered by Google was racing towards one other 1-2-3 end led by Newgarden, Pato O’Ward and Will Energy in that order.

O’Ward went on to win the weekend’s 300-lap second race, beating Energy to the end line by 4.276 seconds for his fourth profession collection victory. O’Ward has received on a superspeedway (Texas Motor Speedway in 2021), a avenue circuit (The Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit in 2021), a everlasting street course (Barber Motorsports Park in 2022) and now a brief oval.

The victory additionally introduced O’Ward again into championship competition. He heads to this weekend’s Gallagher Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway street course simply 36 factors out of the collection lead with 5 races remaining. Realistically, six drivers are solidly within the combine for the Astor Problem Cup, with Marcus Ericsson main Energy by eight factors, Newgarden and Scott Dixon by 34 factors and reigning collection champion Alex Palou by 44 factors.

Scott McLaughlin is seventh, 86 factors out of the lead.

O’Ward led the ultimate 66 laps of Sunday’s race to thwart a few of Group Penske’s dominating statistics. Over the previous seven races at Iowa Speedway, Roger Penske’s automobiles have led 1,617 of the 1,950 laps (82.9 p.c), with Newgarden main 920 of them after including 356 laps over the weekend. Except for O’Ward, the non-Penske drivers within the subject mixed to steer 25 laps final weekend.

Newgarden’s Flip 4 incident price him an opportunity to take the collection factors lead, however his teammates gained vital floor. They would be the favorites to win this weekend as Group Penske has received eight of the 12 collection races contested on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile IMS circuit. Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta received the GMR Grand Prix on Could 14.

O’Ward Studying, Enhancing

O’Ward scored his fourth collection win in his fiftieth begin, and he confirmed loads of moxie over the weekend on a observe that calls for persistence and aggression.

The driving force of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet stated finishes of second and first at this brief observe are indicators that he’s turning into a well-rounded driver.

“I imply, I’d hope I’m getting higher – I believe I’m,” he stated, laughing.

“The extra laps you do, you achieve data. I imply, these guys lap circles round me when it comes to data – Will, Scott and Josef. Everytime you’re as much as combat with them, they’re tremendous fast, particularly the Penske (drivers). The Penskes had been extraordinarily, extraordinarily onerous to combat with. All the things needed to go good so as to both (overtake) them on a pit cease trade or (move) them on the observe.”

O’Ward famous that races at Iowa Speedway hinge on having the ability to handle tires, which requires a driver to make use of his head.

“You must be good, not simply in case you’re main, however the chief additionally needs to be good as a result of he’ll undergo site visitors,” he stated. “I believe that’s why the races listed below are so good.”

Ericsson, CGR Pleased with Iowa Finishes

Ericsson completed eighth and sixth within the two races, which might be blended outcomes for a driver main the standings this deep into the season. However the driver of the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda was happy with how his weekend unfolded.

“It’s been an important day,” Ericsson stated of his Sunday efficiency. “Began fifteenth and labored my method as much as, I believe, fourth at one level. Towards the tip we misplaced a little bit of steadiness the final stint and a half. The automotive went to a bit oversteer, and I actually couldn’t sustain the tempo.”

Ericsson stated Chip Ganassi Racing had proven confidence coming into the weekend, however he stated a lot of that was overstated.

“If you happen to would have informed me earlier than the weekend that I’d nonetheless be within the lead I’d have taken that as a result of that is our weakest observe on the calendar and it’s a doubleheader,” Ericsson stated. “So, we had been fairly anxious about it regardless that we placed on the stone face and stated we had been all good. However we had been anxious about this weekend.

“We’re nonetheless forward, so I’m actually pleased about that.”

CGR drivers completed fourth, 5 and sixth within the Sunday race with Dixon (No. 9 PNC Financial institution Chip Ganassi Racing Honda), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 The American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) and Ericsson. Palou was thirteenth within the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. All 4 automobiles completed within the prime 11 of Saturday’s 250 offered by DoorDash.

Milestones Aplenty

Two drivers reached consecutive begin milestones in Sunday’s race. Dixon turned the second collection driver with 300 begins in a row – Tony Kanaan holds the document with 318 – and Graham Rahal achieved 200 consecutive begins. Different prime energetic streaks embody Simon Pagenaud’s 177 and Newgarden’s 163.

Helio Castroneves tied A.J. Foyt for third place on the game’s all-time profession begins record with 369. Mario Andretti (407) and Tony Kanaan (389) lead the class.

The 356 laps that Newgarden led over the weekend helped him move Rodger Ward and Bobby Rahal within the sport’s lap chief record (the class’s statistics date to 1946). Newgarden stands sixteenth total with 3,286 laps led. Amongst energetic drivers, solely Dixon (fourth at 6,505), Castroneves (fifth at 6,073), Energy (eighth at 4,683) and Kanaan (eleventh at 4,077) have led extra. Andretti leads with 7,595.

Up Subsequent: IMS Highway Course

The turnaround time for the following NTT INDYCAR SERIES race can be brief, however a minimum of the Indianapolis-based groups, for which there are a lot of, received’t have far to journey.

Load-in for the Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is Thursday afternoon with the primary follow on the street course Friday at 9:30 a.m. (ET). Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award is at 1 p.m. Each classes air reside on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Community.

Saturday’s motion options the pre-race warmup at 8:15 a.m. with NBC’s broadcast of the 85-lap race starting at midday. NASCAR’s Xfinity Collection follows that race with the Pennzoil 150 on the Brickyard at 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, NASCAR’s Cup Collection levels its second race on the IMS street course, the Verizon 200 on the Brickyard, at 2:30 p.m.

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