Fifth Gear: Iowa Speedway Non-public Check

Iowa Speedway is again on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule this season after a one-year hiatus, so 19 drivers took benefit of a personal take a look at Monday, June 20 on the .875-mile oval to organize for the 250 offered by DoorDash on Saturday, July 23 and the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 offered by Google on Sunday, July 24.

Official occasions and speeds weren’t launched, however listed here are 5 takeaways based mostly on media experiences and social media site visitors from the take a look at:

Penske Stays Dominant at Iowa

Crew Penske has dominated NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing at Iowa since 2017, with victories in 4 of the 5 races throughout that span.

It doesn’t seem like that pattern will change subsequent month, based mostly on testing Monday.

Crew Penske’s Josef Newgarden, Will Energy and Scott McLaughlin have been the three quickest among the many 19 drivers who turned laps in morning and afternoon classes. Newgarden led within the morning session, whereas McLaughlin was tops within the afternoon with a time simply shy of two-tenths of a second slower than Newgarden’s general finest.

Penske swept the Iowa doubleheader with Simon Pagenaud and Newgarden the final time the collection raced there, in 2020, which was with the present spec of automobile, together with the aeroscreen. So, don’t be shocked to see a repeat July 23-24.

Afternoon Delight

Testing was break up into morning and afternoon classes Monday at Iowa. Each races of the July 23-24 doubleheader will take the inexperienced flag within the afternoon, so a glimpse on the afternoon outcomes might current a clearer crystal ball about who might be quick when factors are on the road.

McLaughlin was quickest within the afternoon in his No. 3 Crew Penske Chevrolet regardless of this being his first expertise on the monitor. Following McLaughlin have been Energy’s No. 12 Verizon Crew Penske Chevrolet and Takuma Sato’s No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda fielded by Dale Coyne Racing with RWR. Newgarden was fifth within the afternoon session, lower than two-tenths behind McLaughlin.

Temperatures within the afternoon snuck simply previous the 90-degree mark, circumstances that might be repeated subsequent month. So, morning or afternoon, Penske might be robust to high at Iowa.

Lundgaard Studying Shortly

It wasn’t a shock to see Sato among the many main Penske trio within the afternoon portion of the take a look at. He’s a two-time Indianapolis 500 offered by Gainbridge winner, in any case, and his “no assault, no probability” model squeezes loads of pace on ovals.

However rookie Christian Lundgaard in all probability raised some eyebrows by clocking in fourth general through the afternoon session in his No. 30 Fleet Price & Care Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Lundgaard was the quickest rookie within the afternoon by practically two-tenths of a second.

A robust efficiency by Lundgaard within the Iowa races might carry the spirits and expectations at RLL, which has a finest end of seventh (twice) this season by Graham Rahal. There all the time appears to be one rookie every season who connects with oval racing rapidly, and RLL hopes this 12 months’s mannequin is Lundgaard.

Ericsson Hanging Robust

Marcus Ericsson has used a double-points victory within the Indianapolis 500 offered by Gainbridge and regular finishes elsewhere to construct a 27-point lead within the race for the Astor Problem Cup this season.

A part of his success story is powerful efficiency on ovals. Ericsson got here to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES from the oval-free System One, however he’s been one of the best driver this season within the two roundy-round races. He completed third behind Newgarden and McLaughlin within the XPEL 375 on March 20 at Texas Motor Speedway and gained Indy.

Ericsson was seventh quickest general throughout Iowa testing Monday afternoon, when circumstances in all probability have been most just like what drivers will expertise within the doubleheader July 23-24. He was about three-tenths of a second behind McLaughlin’s main tempo, so there’s work to do.

However Ericsson was quickest of the 4 Chip Ganassi Racing automobiles within the afternoon session, so it seems he’s in good condition for extra oval success subsequent month.

Working Time beyond regulation

Iowa Speedway is a basic bullring, simply seven-eighths of a mile. An entire lap in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES automobile solely takes about 18.5 seconds, so it’s not unusual to see massive lap counts throughout testing on the monitor.

However even by these requirements, drivers and groups labored at a brisk tempo Monday, with triple-digit lap counts all around the board.

Energy was the busiest driver, turning 282 laps. The 2 races might be 250 and 300 laps, respectively.

All three Crew Penske drivers every turned greater than 200 laps Monday, dialing in setups. Energy is second within the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship standings, 27 factors behind chief Ericsson. Newgarden is third, 32 factors out of the lead.

However Newgarden is the motive force of the second within the No. 2 PPG Crew Penske Chevrolet, with three victories this season. No different driver has multiple.

Newgarden additionally has three profession INDYCAR SERIES victories at Iowa, tied with Ryan Hunter-Reay for probably the most collection victories on the monitor. Secure to say your complete area can have its collective eye on the surging Joe New at Iowa.

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