Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Report

Race:                   Iowa INDYCAR 250s – Race 2

Date:                   July 18, 2020

No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Start: 1st – 11th-career INDYCAR pole
Finish: 1st – 15th-career INDYCAR win
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 214
Points Position: 3rd (-53 pts)

Notes:

  • It was a big day for Josef Newgarden and the No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet team, as the defending NTT INDYCAR Series Champion started on the pole, led the most laps and won his third-career race at Iowa Speedway to mark a Team Penske weekend sweep, following Simon Pagenaud’s win in last night’s first race of the doubleheader.
  • As the race began, Newgarden showed he had one of the fastest cars in the field as he led the first 57 laps of the event before being called to the pits by strategist Tim Cindric for fuel and tires.  He quickly regained the lead on lap 63. 
  • Battling a bit of understeer, Newgarden continued to run out front and stretch his lead to nearly five seconds before returning to the pits once again on lap 106.  He would find himself in the lead once again on lap 120.  
  • For the remainder of the race, Newgarden would only relinquish the lead during pit cycles.  He retook the top spot on lap 189 and never looked back, cruising to his third Iowa victory by nearly three-seconds over teammate Will Power. 
  • Newgarden’s win advanced him to third in NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship points as the series takes a two week break before returning to action at Mid-Ohio in early August.

Quote: “It feels really good. I don’t know what we have to do to keep the bad luck off of us but hopefully this is the start. Our guys did an amazing job yesterday. I was so disappointed for them. I was angry for them because I felt like they had the winning car. They put in the work but they just weren’t able to get rewarded for it. So I was so determined to come back today. I think everyone was so determined to come back today to the track and have a really good race. And we just ran hard. We ran hard all day. I am so proud to be powered by Chevrolet. I feel like we had the package to beat. Fuel mileage, durability, and we had the power. And to have Hitachi back on, I think they gave us that good luck charm. So thank you to Hitachi. Thanks to everyone at Team Penske back at the shop. I’m just thrilled we were able to get this monkey off our back. I don’t think I have been here on pole before. So I was sitting here thinking we can do that. I don’t know why we can’t convert from pole. Just kind of a silly stat I guess. I knew we had speed. I felt totally confident. You know when Tim [Cindric] is on my stand and I have my guys doing pit stops, I have complete confidence we can run any race we go into so that stat wasn’t bugging me. It would have been nice if we could have had a couple of finishes where we thought we should have been. Like at Road America we had a winning car that Saturday. I wasn’t able to secure that. I knew we needed a win and we need another one to come again soon. We need to be able to put consistent finishes on the board.”

No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 2nd
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250/250
Points Position: 5th (-102 pts)

Notes:

  • Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet team walked away from Saturday night’s second race of the Iowa Speedway doubleheader feeling redeemed, turning his season-long bad luck around by earning a second-place finish and moving up five positions in the point standings.
  • In what was a relatively and much welcomed “uneventful” night for Power, the former series champion raced inside the top-three all night long.  Following leader and teammate Josef Newgarden to the pits on lap 58, the Verizon crew made a front wing adjustment as he continued to try and close the gap on Newgarden.
  • Much of the evening, battling traffic proved to be the toughest challenge for the Australian driver. 
  • Power used strong pit stops and good strategy to keep his Chevrolet near the front of the field.  After falling back to third behind Pato O’Ward, he took advantage of a mistake on pit road by O’Ward to slot into second and once again chase down Newgarden.
  • In the end, the Verizon Chevrolet had nothing for his teammate, but did collect his second running-up finish of the 2020 season.  His podium finish also allowed him to climb to fifth in NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship point standings. 

Quote: “It feels good. We just had a solid day. I just want to thank Verizon and Chevy for all of their support. I would have loved to have the win of course.  I’m glad for once we actually get a good result out of it. Solider on, man. I’m exhausted – it’s so bloody hot in these cars man. I’m going to look forward to trying to have a good rest of this season. I don’t know what it is I have to do to have normal races like Dixon and Pagenaud.  Excited to have a good finish tonight though.”

No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Start: 23rd
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 2nd (-49 pts)

Notes:

  • Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet followed up his win on Friday night by completing another come-from-behind run on Saturday night at Iowa Speedway, finishing in the fourth position after once again starting 23rd
  • Unlike Friday night, Pagenaud’s move through the field was slowed on Saturday, and he only jumped from the 23rd to 21st position in the opening laps.
  • However, similar to how he won on Friday night, Pagenaud and the Menards team elected a different pit strategy from the other Team Penske Chevrolets and team strategist Kyle Moyer called Pagenaud to the pits earlier than most of the leaders. 
  • The ability to get tires earlier than everyone else and have clear track position allowed him to crack the top-10 – in eighth.
  • The remainder of the night saw Pagenaud continue to hit pit road early to try and gain track position.  As the 250-lap race wound down, Pagenaud found himself crossing the checkers in the fourth position. 

Quote: “It was a tough, dramatic weekend, but we prevailed. I want to thank Team Penske, Menards and Chevy for giving me the horsepower going forward. We weren’t quite as hooked up today. I think we might have gone the wrong way with an adjustment during a pit stop and from there we had to do quick pit stops so we didn’t make any changes. Maybe we didn’t have the outright pace but overall first and fourth is pretty good when we started last in both races. I’m pretty pleased with our results. It seems like the championship is shaping up so it’s pretty exciting right now. It’s satisfaction from a preparation standpoint. We just showed everyone in the paddock that you have to count on us no matter what happens. That’s the mark of a championship team. That’s what you want to do. That’s what you want to show every weekend. You want people to fear you. I’m pretty sure they feared us today. We’ll regroup again and go to Mid-Ohio. And be strong from there.”