CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
HY-VEE HOMEFRONT 250 PRESENTED BY INSTACART
TEAM CHEVY RACE NO. 1 POST RACE RECAP
JULY 22, 2023
JOSEF NEWGARDEN CLAIMS FIFTH IOWA SPEEDWAY VICTORY
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN AND PATO O’WARD FILLED ALL-CHEVROLET PODIUM IN RACE NO. 1 OF HY-VEE DOUBLEHEADER
NEWTON, IOWA (JULY 22, 2023) – Josef Newgarden did what Josef Newgarden does at Iowa Speedway – wins. Starting third in the 28-car field for Race No. 1 of the Hy-Vee Doubleheader WEEKEND, the driver of the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet methodically worked his way to the lead on lap 121 and never looked back.
The two-time NTT INDYCAR Series champion chased down his teammate second-place starter Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 XPEL Chevrolet, to claim 2nd in the running order on lap 95 of the 250-lap race. Newgarden then set his sights on pole winner and race leader Will Power, No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet. On lap 121, he made a clean pass on Power on the bottom through turns one and two and jumped out to an almost five second lead.
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren INDYCAR Chevrolet, completed the all-Chevrolet podium. Starting fifth on the grid, O’Ward quickly dispensed with another car and stayed in the battle with the three Team Penske drivers.
Today’s victory is the fifth for Newgarden at Iowa Speedway, the 28th of his career, and jumped to second in the point standings, 98 points behind the leader with six races left on the 2023 schedule.
Power will start on the pole for Sunday’s Hy-Vee ONESTEP 250 with McLaughlin again alongside on the front row. Newgarden will roll off 7th and O’Ward will start from 11th on the grid.
Race No. 2, the Hy-Vee ONESTEP 250 presented by Gatorade is set to start at 2:30 pm ET with live coverage on NBC TV, INDYCAR Radio and INDYCAR. live timing and scoring.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET-RACE WINNER:
LITTLE FRUSTRATION THERE AT THE END, WE COULD TELL, BUT YOU DOMINATED
“Yeah, it was a great day. Look, my team is just…they are unbelievable. They gave me a great car. I show up every weekend and I feel like I have got the best of the best behind me. Team Penske, I am proud to be a part of this team and proud to have partners like Hitachi and Team Chevy. Team Chevy has been really tremendous to us, and they are always working hard, even with our feedback. They always take it and put it to use. I love Iowa and obviously it was a great day, but its tough in INDYCAR. These guys that are about to go a lap down, they always run the leader really hard and that is the name of the game. Its legal, but man it is a little frustrating at times. And it has gotten worse. It was much worse here than I have ever had it. So, I am going to study the tape and I am going to be better tomorrow. Because if that is how its got to be, then I just have to elevate my game for race two.”
THERE WAS A TIME TODAY WHEN YOU WERE DOWN, BUT YOU FOUND A WAY
“Yeah, look, we did not start where we wanted to be and that was right from qualifying. I was so frustrated. We unloaded off the truck pretty much perfectly. Luke Mason did an amazing job with this car, and it was exactly where it needed to be and then to qualify where we did, it was…..I have messed up qualifying here so many times and it never gets easier. I am always so mad with myself that we didn’t get that right. And it was like that at the beginning of the race. It took us literally a stint and a half to get the car just where it needed to be. But once it was comfy, I think it was the car to beat. I really do. We needed to manage it and we did that, and it doesn’t guarantee you anything for tomorrow, I promise you that. Everyone is going to get better, and they already got much better from last year. So, we have to stay on our toes, and maybe we can do another one.
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 XPEL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET-FINISHED 2ND:
I WOULD SAY THERE IS NO SHAME IN LOSING TO A GUY THAT HAS WON FIVE TIMES HERE
“When I saw him coming, I was like ‘ah its on mate’. Hey, Bus Bros was 1-2, so not bad. Really happy for everyone on the Xpel Chevy. The car was great today, and the team gave me a great car. I have to thank Josef, and congrats to him for winning the race, but during the week we sat down together and really went over like everything. And it helped me today. I learned a ton today, I badly want to beat that guy and I am going to be trying everything I can to beat him, but he is the epitome of a great teammate and I appreciate the help he has given me.”
YOU WERE DEFINTELY BEST IN CLASS, SO IS THERE SOMETHING YOU CAN BRING BACK FOR TOMORROW?
“I mucked up one of my in and out laps and got caught with a lap car, so I was a bit slower coming in and I lost a couple of seconds. So, there was all that catch up from there and we got back to sort of there or there abouts, but just really proud of everyone and thankful for everyone at Xpel and at Chevy and everyone that supports me. The Thirsty Threes were ripping, I love that, and can’t wait to come back tomorrow.”
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN INDYCAR CHEVROLET-FINISHED 3RD:
YOU GOT CLOSE AGAIN, WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY TRYING TO CHASE THOSE GUYS?
“I learned that I couldn’t keep up with them today. We didn’t have a strong enough car and I was holding on for dear life on some of those laps. So, it was a tough one and we have got work to do. We have another opportunity tomorrow and we are going to try and maximize that. We have a pretty significant step forward that we have to make if we want to challenge these guys. Specifically in traffic, I felt a little handcuffed as far as where I could place the car.”
IT WOULDN’T HANDLE?
“No, I just could really only use one lane and I couldn’t really get through traffic the way that they could. I think when the tires were a little bit fresher, we weren’t far off, but when you start getting into that dirty air, we just couldn’t do anything. We would just get stuck. I tried multiple times, and I am probably the first guy t
WILL POWER, NO.12 VERIZON 5G TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET-FINISHED 5TH:
YOU WERE UP FRONT, STARTED ON THE POLE BUT BRUSHED THE WALL. WHAT WERE THE CIRCUMSTANCES TODAY?
“I just got a little high. The car in front went up and took the air and boom. It was a pretty square it and I was worried about how much force goes through the suspension. We will probably have to change it tonight.”
THE CAR WAS OKAY AFTER THAT?
“Yeah, I think so. We had more push, but I don’t think it really hurt the car too bad.”
WE KNOW YOU ARE FAST. YOU ARE STARTING ON THE POLE TOMORROW, SO WHAT IS THE GAME PLAN AND DO YOU EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO CHALLENGE NEWGARDEN?
“Yeah, its tough man. It will probably be a slightly different race because everyone gets a bit better, it gets a little hotter and then you have to get through all that traffic. So, yeah, we sort of have to review. I mean, at the end of the day it was just who got through that traffic better. We had a huge gaggle of cars once Josef got me. I mean, he is very good at reading that stuff and he just got me on the inside.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN-SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN-PATO O’WARD
Press Conference Transcript
THE MODERATOR: Joined by now five-time winner here at Iowa Speedway, Josef Newgarden, leading 129 of the 250 laps, driving the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. It’s career win No. 28.
You climb now. You’re 98 points back of Alex Palou of the overall season long championship. More importantly, another win here today. Congratulations.
What came to you there after that first stint and a half or so that you were able to get past Will and stay up front?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It was just unfortunate that we came off the truck so good — Luke Mason did such a great job with this car. I was so happy yesterday, pretty immediately, and then to qualify as disappointingly as we did, I think for us, for our expectation, if you will — it wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t where we thought we should be. I know it’s not where the car should be.
I was really — I’ve done that a lot here. I’ve not qualified where I think we should. That exact problem was sort of the same in the beginning of the race. We were trying to counteract it and didn’t quite get there. It took about a stint, stint and a half, to really get the car where it needed to be.
Then it was great. It was back to sort of the beginning of yesterday. It was just a nice car. Team did a great job as always. They always give me a fantastic car here. You can’t win a race around this place without having the best car in the field, and I feel like we’ve always got that when we show up.
Q. Josef, you were really upset, I remember, last year after qualifying. I believe you were second in both races behind Will to start. Is it the way you drive the track you’re doing wrong or setup?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s a combination. It was mostly setup today, which is not on anybody. I’ll say it’s on me. Like I just didn’t quite know where we needed to be.
I mean, you’re kind of guessing. We were supposed to originally qualify at 8:30. It was going to be a lot colder. So you’re basing the setup around that. Then you have to think about the race. We were also probably a little bit more lean to the race than other people because you’ve just got to choose a little bit.
The temperature is going to keep rising in the race. Do you want the race car to be right, or do you want the qualifying car? And you’re kind of in the middle a little bit. So I don’t think we were fully optimized for qualifying, but I also just didn’t get the balance right.
I would say it’s that. Last year was the same deal. I could have done better personally last year. I didn’t drive hard enough, so I was kicking myself for that. I felt like I drove hard enough today. I just didn’t have the balance I needed. We were pretty upset about it, but we knew we’d have a chance in the race.
We’ve got a great car. We knew that right from the jump. It was just a matter of I felt like we could do more today. Even leaving now, we’ve got a lot of homework tonight to be even better. It was good, but it wasn’t quite good enough. It’s going to need to be better tomorrow is my feel.
Q. Yesterday you were telling us how you went a step beyond being a teammate to Scotty and shared everything about this track, and he was explaining that after qualifying today that you reviewed every lap he made and every lap you made last year. Did you have any regrets about that in the closing laps and knowing he was breathing down your neck at some points during this race?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I mean, I knew he knew everything. I tried to be as transparent as I can with him as a teammate. He’s been — he’s a great member of the team. He’s a good pal. I want to kick his ass as much as anybody. It’s got nothing to do with that, and I’m not giving him any favors necessarily. I just think it’s the right thing to do.
If your teammate wants to learn something, I hope he would give me the courtesy the same way. When he’s got something on me, I want him to teach me it. I think that’s how it should be. You don’t always get that, but I’m happy to teach him what I know.
I look at it that it doesn’t really matter — if he knows exactly what I know, then it’s just going to come down to who’s doing a better job. If he does a better job than me, then he deserves to win. I hope he doesn’t do a better job than me tomorrow, but if he does, he’ll be a deserving winner. Let’s see what happens. He looked really good today. I’m going to probably have to step up a little bit more tomorrow.
Q. In Victory Lane, you were obviously upset with some of the lap traffic today. Pato and Scotty were both in here and shared your concerns about that. Are you going to name any names for us? Anyone you want to call out in particular?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: There’s a lot of people. There’s a lot of people. It’s one thing if you’re leading the race. If you’re leading the race, you’re really within your right. If you’re fighting with people around you, seventh, eighth, ninth place, you’re all fighting. You’re within your right to fight as hard as possible.
I think, the way the rule was written, it’s also legal for them to fight to the death to stay on the lead lap in front of the leader. It is legal. I’m just telling you you’re not making any friends when you do it. There’s 20 laps to go in the race, and I was getting driven like it was literally to the death for the end of the Indy 500. It was just crazy. I couldn’t believe the way people were mirror driving.
I’ve never seen it that bad here. Normally if you’re the leader, you’re not getting a handout, but you’re at least getting the courtesy that you are the leader and you’re about to get lapped. You don’t have to pull over, but just don’t be aggressive and weave in front of the leader, block the leader, chop the leader.
Like there’s just a point where you’ve got to understand that that comes back around. If you do that to someone, I’m going to fence you the next time I see you. If you’re the leader the next time, I am going to do you so dirty if you did that to me.
It’s common sense. Everybody in the paddock knows it, and they’re just — for whatever reason, there’s just people who just can’t get it. You know what, if they can’t learn it by now, they’ll probably never learn. I guess where I’m going with this, you can tell I’m frustrated by it, which a lot of people are. I can’t change people’s behavior. If they’re going to continue to do that, I have to study and figure out how to counteract it because that’s how they’re going to play.
I’m going to assume they’re going to play like that tomorrow, and I’ve got to be in a better position and better equipped handle it.
Q. Scotty said he might go talk to some people tonight.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I’ll go talk to some people too. They need to know. Look, it’s not cool. It’s not cool. If you want to play that game, that’s fine, but you should be thinking long term.
Q. Josef, you said earlier the car was good. Nevertheless do you think the car has enough to win tomorrow?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s definitely in the window, there’s no doubt. The tough thing about Iowa is the window is so tight here. You can have a stint where you’re really good and a stint where you all of a sudden lose a ton of potential and time on the average, and it’s really easy to bounce back and forth between perfect and way off perfect.
I think the car’s in the window. We’ve just got to maybe clean some areas up. I’ve got to get some new tools in my toolkit, figure out how can I arm myself a little bit better for the way everything is flowing nowadays?
Everyone is stronger. It looks like that. Everyone has more maneuverability. Everyone is getting coached by their spotters now on exactly how to race people hard. So it is a tougher game than I think it’s ever been around here.
Our car is capable. We’ve just got to make sure we maximize it.
Q. So much of the history of Penske Racing has been drivers who are great oval drivers like Al Unser and Rick Mears and now yourself. To be in that category, and when you win on an oval race for Team Penske, how special is it?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I don’t really feel differently about it than any other track, to be honest. My goal is to be strong everywhere. It doesn’t matter the discipline or the track type. I want to be good everywhere we show up. If there’s a place we’re not good, it’s number one on my list to figure out. Why aren’t we good here? Why can’t we win this race?
Anything is possible for us and our team, and we need to approach it that way. So just in short, it doesn’t feel different to me, whether it’s Iowa or it’s Toronto or it’s Detroit or Road America. They all matter. You take great pride in being able to work with the team and put a victory together. They’re all difficult.
It’s not easy to win a race in this series, so they all feel the same.
Q. Obviously the goal is to come here tomorrow and win again. How do you feel the prospects are coming out here and getting out the broom?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I was hesitant yesterday to — I feel like everybody — when we walk in here, they just assume, oh, we’re going to be quick. It’s not the attitude that you can have. You just can’t feel like there’s anything given. I think we did a good job today recovering. I was really proud of the team.
To feel disappointed with qualifying and then to just really improve the race car and do a great job today, I’m proud of that, but that doesn’t guarantee tomorrow either. I think Scott’s going to be really good. Pato, he’s going to come back better. I think Will’s going to be strong. You never know who else is going to improve overnight.
I’m focused on being better tomorrow because I’m going to assume that everyone else is going to pick up their game.
Q. Obviously laser focused, and obviously frustrated about the traffic and stuff like that. I don’t know if you feel like you’re putting more pressure on yourself this weekend because of maybe your own expectations and what everyone else is expecting you to do. When you come into this place, it feels like you’re quite pent up at the moment. Is that the pressure you’re putting on yourself for this weekend?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Maybe a little bit. There’s a pressure that’s on us, I know when we show up here. It’s that assumption. It’s the assumption that we’re going to be great just because we should be. We’re the 2 car. We should be really good here.
That’s okay because I think there’s always a pressure that exists. You show up to Indianapolis with Team Penske, and there’s only — there’s only one place that people accept as okay for Team Penske, and that’s winning the race. We deal with those pressures. It’s not like it’s something new.
But I think, more than anything, it’s just been — it’s honestly been a really tough year, like we’ve had some good moments, there’s no doubt. Obviously the 500 was just — it was the best moment for everybody this year. Other than that, it’s been a really tough season, really, really tough. It just feels like one of those grinders again. We grinded last year.
I want to figure out how to get us in a place where we’re not grinding and try to figure it out week to week. I’ve got all the confidence in the world. The tough thing for me is I know the potential of the team, I really do. It’s there. It’s always been there, and I just want us to realize it more.
We’re continually working on that. For me, I’m just a perfectionist, and I think working towards that potential and maximizing it is what you’re seeing from me.
Q. Have you thought about the points at all in terms of what today means for that? And if you allowed yourself to kind of think about that? Or is your focus solely on tomorrow and trying to keep that out of your mind?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yes and no. I’m very aware of it. I’ve seen it climb from the beginning of the season. Alex has had a great run. He’s really had no bad races. I explained this in the past that, when you’re a great driver like Alex and he’s got a great team around him and you don’t have any bad races, that is what happens points-wise. You build up a cushion the way they have.
It’s a tough deficit that we’re in. I’m aware of it. I’m not putting any pressure on this weekend or to the end of the year. It kind of is what it is, right? I can’t control what happens with Alex. I think the odds are higher that he has some bad luck at some point, but that doesn’t mean it’s ever going to come. It just may be a great year for those guys where they don’t ever truly see it, and that’s okay.
I’ve just had to learn over the years that you can’t control these things. You really can’t. I focus on trying to be the best that we can be every weekend. This weekend’s no different. It’s just you’re dealing with that scenario that you brought up that everyone expects us to be really good here and win a couple of races. I know that.
Regardless of that, I just try to make sure we do the best job. We did the best job we could today, and we need to do that tomorrow.
Q. I was going to ask about points as well. Just following up on that, you were 126 out coming in, and now you’re 98 out. You took 28 points off today. Is that a good chunk? If you do that tomorrow, do you feel good about leaving here?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I do. That’s a great chunk. You win another time, what does that put you at, I don’t know, 72? That would be great. That would be great. We’re going to for sure need that.
You can’t spin this any way. I’m not telling myself a story to make myself feel better tomorrow. There’s no doubt we have to win a lot of races, and Alex has to inevitably at some point hit bad luck. It’s just the way this whole thing goes. If that doesn’t happen, then we’re still going to focus on winning races, and hopefully we have a lot of wins on the year and we get close. Or maybe just winning a bunch of races and he doesn’t need the bad luck, and that’s enough to get us the championship.
I have no idea how this is all going to play out, but yeah, tomorrow — they all matter at this point. What is there, six to go? They’re all going to be critical. We can’t afford a bad weekend anymore. He can, but we’ve got to be pretty much perfect, which when it’s like that, it just almost doesn’t matter. Like what’s going to be is going to be. I think a lot of people are in this mindset. They’re just trying to win races.
It’s kind of a good way to go about it because you can’t just take little bites out of him. It’s just not going to work. You’ve got to be hitting it with a hammer and hoping that fate kind of swings back your way. So I hope we get that, but there’s just no telling if that’s going to happen.
Q. Speaking of the hammer, do you feel like you need to hit two nails this weekend? It seems like you’re having trouble celebrating this win because you feel like you’re only half done. Is that accurate?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think that’s very accurate because you’ve got to look at it as a complete result, the two races combined. That’s a very good way to put it. It is not just a single race weekend and then we move on to the next challenge. It is the same challenge two times over.
So we’ve got to go do the job tomorrow, and then once we get done with that, we’ll move to Nashville and start figuring out that problem.
THE MODERATOR: Five-time winner here at Iowa. Go for six tomorrow. Good luck. Josef Newgarden in Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.
That will wrap things up. Next warmup comes up tomorrow morning here at Iowa Speedway.
THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up today’s Hy-Vee Homefront 250 presented by Instacart, podium finishers will be here of course. Josef Newgarden with the win here today. Joined now by Scott McLaughlin in the No. 3 Expel Team Penske Chevrolet, coming home 2nd, second podium of the season, tenth of his career. And also joining us, Pato O’Ward in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet with his fifth podium of 2023 and 18th of his career.
Scott, tell us about race number one here this week and your thoughts.
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: I’m going to get him at some point. I’m very determined. Helluva race. I think the three of us could have easily swept the top three there. Pato did an awesome job. Their cars are just really good through traffic.
What I learned with Josef during the week, during the last couple of weeks, has been huge. It’s a nice little rabbit to chase when he’s out in front. When you can keep up with him, that’s a nice feeling. Gives me a lot of confidence.
Learned a lot for tomorrow. I think we’ve got a really good race car we can sort of evolve with and just get better.
THE MODERATOR: Pato, your thoughts getting back on the podium here at Iowa Speedway?
PATO O’WARD: Solid podium for us today. Just didn’t have anything for the Penskes. We need to take a solid step forward if we want to make them sweat tomorrow.
I just think they were specifically strong getting through traffic. I would just — I’d get stuck. I wasn’t able to place the car where I needed to in order to get by some slow cars.
Obviously happy with it, but considering how much pace we had last year, it’s like where is it?
THE MODERATOR: You guys were catching up quickly to back markers, lap cars, and whatnot. Mentally, what’s that like to go through a couple hours or so where you’re really trying to — weaving in and out of cars and dealing with traffic all day long? Pato?
PATO O’WARD: Usually it’s quite okay. You know who you’re racing. Sometimes you get to some guys, and they’re just not very gentleman-like, I guess, when you’re falling behind.
Yeah, I had some moments in there where it wasn’t all turning left for sure.
THE MODERATOR: 1,502 passes on track, which is the most on record here at Iowa Speedway, INDYCAR sort of tracking that back in 2007. So there’s a lot going on out on the 7/8-mile oval. Take a couple of questions.
Q. Pato, do you have enough time in the warmup tomorrow, and can you do enough to make enough changes to catch up to the Penske guys? They’re incredible.
PATO O’WARD: I have a very clear picture of what we need. We’ve just got to get creative and see how we’re going to find that. Obviously we put our best foot forward coming into qualifying for the race, knowing what we’ve had here in the past, and we think this is going to be working for us.
But we need to take another step if we want to challenge for the win tomorrow.
Q. Scott, you were telling us yesterday that like Josef had opened up the playbook and showed you everything, but you thought there might be some things maybe he didn’t show you. Do you feel like you’ve got a full Monty from Josef?
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I definitely think he’s opened it right up, which is good because I think it’s pushed us all three. Us three were really, really strong during that race, something to be proud of for the team.
Yeah, I was — I’m a little bummed the second to last stint we just didn’t have the balance that I needed. If I had the balance that I had in the last stint and I was able to stay with him, I really feel like we could have been right there with him and made some moves.
When I was catching him towards the end, I was like, oh, it’s going to be a little Texas rerun but other way around. Yeah, didn’t quite get there. He’s very good on this place. He’s got a very good understanding of the car and where he puts it.
Yeah, I think he was getting choked up a little bit. There’s a lot of guys out there that were racing the leader very hard, mirror driving, and just at times it was quite dangerous. Yeah, it is what it is.
Q. That was one of the first things that Josef mentioned in his Victory Lane interview, so I’ll give you guys the opportunity. Are we naming names in terms of who some of these drivers are?
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: Not in the media, but we’ll go see them tonight.
Q. Same question for you both. How was the tire situation, and can you use maybe the tire degradation and change the pressure?
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: My engineer gets paid to figure that out. So I’ll just drive the thing. I think we definitely need a little bit here or there. I think all three cars in Penske have the strengths and weaknesses. So we’ll sort of try and make up a sort of special sauce for tomorrow.
Yeah, I thought they brought a new tire this weekend from Firestone. Feels really good. No vibrations or anything. So that’s really good to start.
Q. Scott, first portion of the race when Will was leading and you tried a couple of times to go underneath him and a couple of times weren’t able to pull it off, was that just basically the strength of his car, or did you run out of room on the track?
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: I think it’s just I probably ran him a little hard. I thought Josef was further back, and then all of a sudden he was ten back, five back, and then passing me. Probably burned my stuff up a little too much, but I had to start going for it.
Definitely felt faster than Will, but it was hard. We were always — one was getting choked up by traffic, and the next, you take one lane, and then that lane in front of you had gone. You can’t just wash up in front of the guy or into the side of them.
It is what it is, but that was probably one part of the race where I felt annoyed with myself a little bit.
Q. Pato, over the last couple of years, it seems like the same guys fighting for the wins and for the victories. How much does it, at least finishing on the podium, validate how good you are here?
PATO O’WARD: Absolutely, it’s one of the places where we come in here and we know that we’ve had a very good past here. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to have the exact same results.
I think today was a little bit of what we had last year, but definitely not as strong. Last year we had, I felt like we were on par with where Josef was, and really what makes you lead or be second in line is usually if you can get them on the undercut or whatever.
Today I definitely felt like I was a bit more on the defensive. I didn’t feel like I was attacking as much, and I couldn’t put the car where I needed to. It was a really, really hard race, probably the hardest Iowa race that I’ve done, just to keep it where we had it.
Q. For both of you, the opening green stint was a very long stint. Were you both surprised at how long that was? Was there ever a thought in your mind around halfway that the race could have gone caution free?
PATO O’WARD: I thought it could have been caution-free for sure. 60-something laps, wasn’t it? I don’t know exactly how much it was, but it was getting pretty gnarly.
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: We said in our strategy meeting the actual probability of yellows is low. There’s not really that many yellows here. We sort of figured it was going to be like that.
Yeah, I was surprised how long that first run to the yellow went, but at least it didn’t throw a curveball fuel-wise. Everyone had to make a stop or two. I don’t know how many stops we made it in, but yeah.
Q. Was it very tough out there physically for the first opening stint for that long? Usually you’re able to take a small breather under yellows but not that much.
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: It was okay. The head pad is a wonderful thing, laying your head on it, and you sort of just go with it.
It’s more mental. It’s just mentally very like — you feel like you’re not blinking for two hours. That’s probably more taxing. I’ll get a good sleep tonight and come back tomorrow.
Q. Scott, just for people that tune in to my podcast and stuff down here in New Zealand, this is the true essence of speedway racing in its purest form on a short track oval like this. Can you just explain what that’s like for you as a driver by comparison to anything else the series comes across?
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: It’s a little bullring. It’s probably one of my favorite ovals. Apart from IMS, it’s probably my favorite just from the perspective of being able to run different lanes and be able to really control your own destiny with your right foot.
It’s not just flat out. It’s not just ripping around. You’ve actually got to really think where you put the car, how hard you drive into the corner. You’ve got to think about looking after your tires at the start of the stint to the end because it’s a really nice bank.
Gateway has a little bit of it, but this one really, really cool and I enjoy having two races here. It also helps when your car is phenomenal like it has been the last few years. Enjoyed it and glad I qualified up front both races.
Q. It’s mentally very tough too concentration-wise because something is happening all the time, there’s no breathing space whatsoever for you.
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: I think it’s probably 30 laps, 15 after the start and 15 after the restart, where we didn’t pass anyone. Like after that, every lap I was passing a car. That’s pretty crazy to think about in an 18-second lap, but it is what it is.
Sometimes then at the end of the stint, you’ve got people that aren’t that quick, but they’re on new tires, so they’re just flying through you like a video game. You feel like a superhero at the start of your stints, that’s for sure. It’s an awesome place for this car, for this series, and I’m glad we’ve got two races, and it’s such a great event.
Q. Well done today. Happy you’re 1-2, but let’s reverse the fortune tomorrow.
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you.
Q. What’s the recovery plan for both you guys? A beer with Kenny Chesney?
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: No, man. I’ll probably have a really cold shower. I’d like a nice bath. I think you boys do that. Yeah, just cool down. It’s not as hot as last year thankfully. And get ready for a big one tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Pato, how are you going to recover?
PATO O’WARD: Eat.
THE MODERATOR: Good plan.
PATO O’WARD: Big meal.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the podium. We’ll see you tomorrow. Scott McLaughlin will start 2nd tomorrow, Pato O’Ward will start 11th.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
CHEVROLET INDYCAR AT IOWA: TEAM CHEVY HY-VEE ONESTEP 250 – NEWGARDEN AND CHEVROLET SCORE DOUBLE VICTORIES IN IOWA
CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
HY-VEE HOMEFRONT 250 PRESENTED BY INSTACART
TEAM CHEVY RACE NO. 2 POST RACE RECAP
JULY 23, 2023
JOSEF NEWGARDEN AND CHEVROLET SCORE DOUBLE VICTORIES AT IOWA SPEEDWAY
Will Power Gave Chevy Second Podium Step with Runner-Up Finish
NEWTON, IOWA (July 23, 2023)
- Josef Newgarden with Chevrolet 2.2 liter V6 power scored back-to-back wins at the Hy-Vee Doubleheader Weekend at Iowa Speedway after starting 3rd on Saturday and 7th on Sunday
- The two victories are 4th and 5th wins of the season for Team Chevy in the NTT INDYCAR Series
- Chevrolet has 11 wins at Iowa Speedway
- Led 212 of the 250-lap race in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet
- Took the lead on lap 31 and led remainder of way except through pit stop exchanges
- Two-time NTT INDYCAR Series Champion scored his 6th win on the .894-mile track
- Win is fifth straight oval track win for Newgarden including 2023 Indianapolis 500
- Equals AJ Foyt in 1964, and Al Unser, Sr. in 1968 and 1970
- Win was 29th victory of his career, tying Rick Mears on all-time-list
- All of Newgarden’s wins were behind the wheel of a Team Penske Chevy INDYCAR
- Newgarden now sits 2nd in the standings, 80 points down to leader with 5 races remaining
- Will Power, No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet, finished 2nd to give Chevrolet two podium positions for Race 2 after scoring a podium sweep in Race 1
- Power started on the pole for both races
- Was credited for leading 30 laps in Race 2 after leading 119 in Race 1
- Of the 5 cars remaining on the lead lap at the checkered flag of Race 2, two were Chevy powered
- Felix Rosenqvist, No 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, finished 4th
- Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 EXPEL Team Penske Chevrolet, finished 5th
- Up next on the 17-race NTT INDYCAR Series schedule is the Streets of Nashville on August 4 – 6, 2023
Josef Newgarden and his No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet team returned to Iowa Speedway with a vengeance scoring victories in both races of the Hy-Vee Doubleheader Weekend.
The wins were 5th and 6th for Newgarden at his favorite short track and the 11th and 12th wins for Chevrolet in the NTT INDYCAR Series at Iowa.
With podium finishes by Scott McLaughlin and Pato O’Ward on Saturday to sweep the podium and a runner-up podium by
Will Power on Sunday, Team Chevy scored 5 of the 6 spots available.
For the second consecutive year, Will Power won the NTT P1 Award for both races to push his career total poles to 70-the most of any driver.
The Series moves on to Streets of Nashville August 4-6.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES):
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET-RACE WINNER:
ON HIS RACE
“For us, we knew we had a great car, and the pressure was there because we wanted to execute on it and make sure it was a great weekend. I am happy now. When you finish the first race, its great to have a doubleheader, but you feel incomplete until you get through today. To be able to come back and do it again, and make our car a little bit better, I am super proud of the team. Luke and the entire group. Chad leading the boys, its just a fantastic effort from everyone. Hitachi has been with most of my victories I think, so to be with them and have them on the car is fantastic. And Team Chevy. We almost got a repeat of that 1-2-3 for Chevy. So, sorry we didn’t get that done but they were phenomenal this weekend.”
YOU SWEPT THE WEEKEND. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU?
“Its very gratifying because I know how good our car is here. When you show up with a car like this, you have the pressure to execute and get the job done. If you don’t get the job done, you feel like you did something wrong. I certainly felt that after qualifying, but to be able to fix that and win a couple of races….its not so much last year that I am thinking of, it’s just purely this year we wanted to execute.”
TALK ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND TAKING THAT TO THE HOMEFRONT IN NASHVILLE
“Look, I will speak about Alex (Palou) again. He is a tremendous competitor and its funny because he is actually my pickleball teammate, so we have a little bit of a relationship. But he is great to run against and is one of the best you are going to find in the world. So, I think what he has done this year, its easy to see why he has gotten the points gap. He’s been tremendous, his team has been tremendous, and I hope that we can close that. We have got to win more races in the 2 car to do it, but there is no doubt that he has been one of the best competitors that you can drive against. I am excited for the rest of the season and who knows what will happen. This is INDYCAR and things can change really quickly. So, let’s stick with it and see how it shapes up.”
WILL POWER, NO.12 VERIZON 5G TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET-FINISHED 2ND:
I AM LOOKING AT THAT FINAL RESTART AND OBVIOUSLY THAT WAS KEY
“Yeah, it was a very good restart. We struggled massively at the beginning and my engineer made a really good change. Taking wing out helped me so much. I had a really fast car, we just needed to pit a couple of laps early so that we could be P2 to Josef and I think we might have had a shot at it. It’s the best car that I have had here, and I was really happy with it and enjoyed the race. Not the first stint though. Man, I was like white knuckling it the whole time, so I am stoked to get the Verizon Chevy to P2. Its pretty tough to beat Josef here, but we will do it one day. We will get him.”
HOW TOUGH IS IT TO JUST BE THE DRIVER AND NOT THE STRATEGIST AND THEY ARE TRYING TO WORK TOWARD THE WIN?
“Yeah, I mean yeah. Those guys have done so well for me over the years, its just tough around here. You have to be real sneaky to call to pit, because if you pit, then everyone will just come at the same time. Yeah, mega day. I was thinking we were going to be struggling to be in the top 10, but it just shows how quickly that stuff can change. Stoked with all the team effort and everything. Bloody great.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST, NO. 6 ARROW MCLAREN INDYCAR CHEVROLET-FINISHED 4TH:
DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE FIGHTING FOR A WIN LATE IN THIS RACE?
“Yes and no. We have been strong here previously and I thought we all had a tough day as a team yesterday. Pato did a mega performance. Today the car was really good. Arrow McLaren and NTT Data, big thanks to them. We turned the car around really good, and we also found ourselves one lap behind at one point. From there on we had two really, really good stints in the middle. The last stint was initially pretty good, then we struggled a little bit at the end. The last restart, I don’t know. I will have to look at it but I felt like Will kind of pushed me up in the marbles and I was very lucky to finish the race because I was full locked and waiting to see where I was going to end up. So, yeah, never been more bummed about a fourth-place finish, but it was a good drive. Those last lap things can end up either way as we saw at Indy. Hell of a day for us and glad we have some momentum going.”
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 XPEL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET-FINISHED 5TH:
WHAT IS THE PHYSICAL TOLL ON THE SECOND HALF OF THE DAY ON AN OVAL DOUBLEHEADER?
“Its more mental than anything. I have no idea how I finished that last stint. I had burned the right rear off and I was just hanging on. It was a Sprint Car there. So, out on the cush and having a lot of fun, but I am happy to bring the XPEL Chevrolet back with two top fives. A podium is not a bad deal. I would have loved to have joined my teammates at the podium today, but we just tried something different, and it didn’t quite work.”
WE HEARD YOU TOWARD THE END ON THE RADIO JUST TRYING NOT TO CRASH. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE AND DID YOU KNOW AS YOU DROPPED BACK THAT IT DIDN’T MATTER AND WASN’T FOR POSITION?
“I had run out of tools. I was fully stiff on my front bar, fully stuffed on my rear bar, and I was all the way to the right in my weight jacker. I had zero tools left and I was just driving this thing. It was fun and I learned a lot and its not fun when you restart with the whole field behind you. But it is what it is, and I am learning every lap around these ovals and what I learned this weekend was huge and I can’t wait to come back here in the future.”
YOU DON’T COME FROM AN OVAL BACKGROUND BUT THIS IS YOUR 13TH OVAL AND YOUR SEVENTH TOP FIVE. WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO GET SO GOOD ON THIS TYPE OF RACING?
“Look, Team Penske builds great cars. They gave us three rocket ships as you saw this weekend. We probably tried a little bit too hard to undercut Josef and Will to get in front of them with that off strategy sort of move that we did mid-race. But yeah, I am very proud of the car that I drive, the people I drive for, and yeah, just very lucky. I count my lucky stars. Just speaking to some of the drivers at intros and they are a little jealous and they are scared to go up against us which is a nice thing about ovals. But there is a lot of respect there for sure.
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN INDYCAR CHEVROLET-FINISHED 10TH:
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RUN TODAY PATO
“I don’t have an explanation on what happened today. We obviously went the wrong way, at least that is what it seems like. Obviously, the guys are going to do a sit down now and see if maybe we missed something in that transfer. But man, just the pure fact that we didn’t end up in an accident with just ourselves or somebody else, feels like a win. It’s just, I don’t know. You come into these weekends knowing usually where you have been in the past and a chance to kind of bounce back. Obviously, today, it feels like we just threw that away. I don’t have an explanation for that, and I don’t think any of us know what or why. It felt like it was the right direction, and as you can tell, I am just confused. Congratulations to Josef, he dominated. Absolutely destroyed everybody. Would have loved to have made him sweat a little bit and fight it out with him like we have in the past. But today was just a miserable day for us.”
ALEXANDER ROSSI, NO. 7 ARROW MCLAREN INDYCAR CHEVROLET-FINISHED 15TH:
ON HIS RACE:
”This was pretty much a lost weekend for us. With it being a doubleheader, double points, we needed to capitalize here, and it just didn’t happen. We were outside the window and just didn’t have the pace we needed to compete. We have a lot to look into before Nashville. We’re all hungry for more than what it showed this weekend.”
CALLUM ILOTT, NO. 77JUNCOS HOLLINGER RACING CHEVROLET-FINISHED 14TH:
“Pretty strong two days for us. 15th yesterday; 14th today. Nine positions gained yesterday; 10 positions today. Yeah, overall car felt great. A lot more comfortable today with the car than yesterday. So we made some big improvements. We just got really unlucky with the yellows. I was the last person for Newgarden’s pass on both of those last yellows and I lost I lost laps because of that. Otherwise, just before that I was fighting with other cars and yeah, it was looking quite good. So a little bit annoying; luck wasn’t on our side at all that sort of stuff. But race was good. And we did the best job we could. I think it was it was promising. So big thanks to the team. Thanks for Chevy. Thanks, Pete are on board with us this weekend. On to Nashville.”
AGUSTIN CANAPINO, NO. 78 JUNCOS HOLLINGER RACING CHEVROLET-FINISHED 26TH:
“Unfortunately, I touched the wall when I picked up the marbles which is a shame because we were really good battling with guys at that moment. I think today we had a car that could have run in top-10, maybe more. So, thanks to my team for the work they always do. Today is learning for me. It was my mistake.”
PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
THE MODERATOR: Joined by Josef Newgarden as well, back with another victory here. Driving the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Obviously sixth win here at Iowa. Fifth straight oval win, which ranks you up there with A.J. Foyt, 1964, the great Al Unser in ’68 and 1970. 29th career INDYCAR SERIES win now, which ties you with Rick Mears on the 13th all-time. Ain’t so bad.
First time the INDYCAR SERIES has had a double-header sweep since Scott Dixon did it in Toronto in 2013. You made it look easy leading 211 of the 250 laps, but I know it wasn’t. Your thoughts about another win here at Iowa?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: By no means easy. I think today was different. As we spoke about yesterday, I felt like today was going to have a different twist, and it did.
I think that’s why you saw the order slightly jumbled in the top ten. Just balance-wise with a hotter track you were getting different reactions from the car, and we needed to keep up with it.
I think the good thing is and the fortunate thing for us is that we have a really good baseline race car here. You know, it’s impossible to win around this place without a great car, and we always have it at this track. At least in recent memory we’ve always had it.
Yeah, it was great day. I feel really happy today. Yesterday felt incomplete. That’s the only way I can put it. When you have a double-header and you feel like you have a great car underneath you, finishing day one it just doesn’t feel finished. Today I feel like we’re done now. We can leave.
I’m much happier today, and really proud of the team. Excited for them. They deserve it. They put in a lot of work, and they deserve the results this weekend.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Josef Newgarden.
Q. You just said it was a different twist today. Does it mean the car was different than yesterday?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, the balance was different today. The tires were wearing out I think more aggressively, or let’s just say they were wearing quicker with the track temp elevated slightly more.
Balance was different. It was more difficult today to manage the front rear axle of the car relative to yesterday. Yesterday if you had one axle going off during the race, it stayed consistently sort of there. You can manipulate it on both ends of the car, but today it was both ends, and you could get yourself in a bad spot on either end of the race car today really quickly. It could flip stint to stint.
I think that’s what made it trickier, and that’s probably why you saw some people moving more today because it was easier to get it wrong, and you just had to be really on top of your tools to make sure that you didn’t let it get away from you.
Q. You talked about it a little bit in post-race on TV just about the satisfaction and relief almost of being able to get through this weekend and not being able to totally celebrate or appreciate yesterday’s win until today’s race was over with. What is that like after you got done talking to us going through your routine, going to bed last night? What emotions, what was that feeling like, that tension of not being able to be totally settled or happy with a great performance that you just had done?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I would say I just felt heightened. Similar to when you haven’t run a race on a normal weekend, you know, you are just heightened the night before.
I’m just focused. I’m focused on what’s going to be different. I watched probably four hours of video last night just figuring out what can be a little bit better, including the whole broadcast.
I just felt kind of on the chip just ready to go, like it’s just not done. It’s half of what the available points are, and so I felt really charged and ready to rock again.
But I wouldn’t say that’s different to a normal weekend. That’s how you feel leading up to a Sunday. So you get through Saturday, and you think, oh, what a great achievement, and it was, but it’s just not done yet. You can reverse everything the next day.
Now I feel good about it. We’re not reversing anything. We did the job, and now we can leave.
Q. Like winning pole on a Saturday, but not feeling like the weekend is totally done?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I think that’s a good way to put it. Winning the pole is a big deal. It helps. Very satisfying, but it’s kind of just half the battle.
I would say even the pole is less than that. It’s probably 25% of the battle. The wins are so much more. Yesterday truly only felt like 50% of the battle.
Q. Going into the final championship stretch of five races with four races on road and street courses. I know you’ve been a little bit up and down with one podium this year I think at Road America, a handful of top tens, but maybe not quite the strength or the consistency as Alex. What do you feel like you guys are going to have to get out of those last couple of races, and do you guys feel like you have that performance and the distance in the car to try and steal this one from him?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think that’s the unknown. We have been a little bit too up and down across the board. We’ve talked about this before.
It’s just, yeah, I don’t think we have the consistency that we want as a team. When you look at every track type, we’re probably bouncing up and down a little bit too much.
There’s no doubt that the ovals, particularly the race package has been very strong for us. It’s hard to complain about our race cars on ovals these days. They’re very, very good.
It’s a complex schedule on the way out. We’ve got to do street course, road course, oval, back to two road courses, and yeah, it is a question mark. We definitely have to elevate our game on where we’ve been the first half of the year. There’s no doubt.
I think that Alex and his crew, they’re in a really good spot. They’ve had what appears to be a pretty consistent program. We’ve got to elevate to their level and just execute.
You just never know what’s going to happen. I think if we can be excellent on the back half of the schedule, then anything is possible.
THE MODERATOR: I have an apology to Graham Rahal, who swept the Detroit double-header in 2017. I was thinking I blamed someone who wasn’t here. Anyway, kudos to Nathan on that one.
Q. You were saying about the four hours of video. What was that made up of? I guess you watched the race broadcast, and was it…
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Just whatever we have. Whatever we record I’m watching or listening to, yeah.
Q. You mentioned in recent memory the car has been good here. You had obviously won races before the Aero screens came in. Do you think there’s any characteristics that the Aero screens introduced into the car, and that’s why you’ve been so good in this period after this?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I wouldn’t say so. I think this is — I think Iowa has stayed so consistent over the last, let’s say, four, five years. It’s the same challenge every time we’re here.
It moves around a little bit, right, year to year depending on temp, track condition, tires. Tire was slightly different this year. There were small differences, but I think the broad equation or the overall problem that you’re trying to solve here has not changed.
I would say other tracks have changed dramatically with the Aero screen. This has not been one of them. The only thing is it’s wearing out more and more. Degradation is just higher every year, but the thing you have to figure out is just the same every year. You know, how do you get the thing consistent?
It doesn’t take much. Everybody is struggling with it. And if you just get fractionally more consistent than the competition, then it can make a massive difference here relative to another track.
Q. I know last year this day was not a good one or anyone around you would want to really think about it or remember it. But emotionally or just personally, does this win today feel — have you thought about that day last year and what this win might mean to kind of correct that a little bit and just what that feels like?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I’m happy it didn’t happen again. You know, it was — to just answer the question, no, I have not thought about it much. I didn’t think about it last year or think that, hey, I want to come here and right the wrong. It wasn’t that sort of situation.
When I think back to it, what pops out in my head is more the work that had to go into make sure they let me stay in the race car the next weekend. That’s what stands out to me.
Obviously the win-loss was disappointing too for many reasons, but I just remember that the week after that, it was a heck of a journey trying to make sure that we were in the car.
But, no, I wasn’t thinking about it. As far as this weekend, the only thing that stands out is that — we talked about it yesterday, but just any person that I talked to, they just assume. They just assume, oh, you’re going to have a great weekend.
I just stay very vigilant with that because there is going to be a year. It’s bound to happen. We’re going to show up here, and we’re not going to be very good.
That’s okay. I’m expecting that to happen. I want to be able to get on top of it when it does hit us, but yeah, that’s the challenge that I think of when I come here.
Q. I guess now you can leave the leather helmet at home that you wore at Indy last year. You whacked 18 more points off the lead. You’re down to 80. If somebody had said to you entering the weekend you can get points lead down to 80, or a deficit, I should say, how would you have felt about that? And five races to go, is it doable?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I mean, I would take it. I don’t know about you, but that’s a positive result I think leaving the weekend.
I would have liked it to reach 50 or 60. That sound better, but that’s not where we’re at, and I think we did a pretty good job given what was in our control this weekend.
I mean, it’s hard not to give kudos to Alex. I think he just did a great job. Clearly we seem to have the upper hand this weekend, and he had a great day today. You know, he maximized what he could, and I think that speaks to what he brings to his program. He maximizes his results. He minimized a loss today. You know, it could have be more, and he just made sure it wasn’t.
He is a tremendous competitor. Did a great job. I wish we gained more, but I’m not going to be dissatisfied with where we brought it to.
Q. Josef, when I asked Alex and Will when they were in here earlier, they told me that in the pre-race meeting that you guys were told with ten to go if there’s a caution, pits would not open with the attempt to try to get a green flag finish at the end. Was that your same understanding, and did you know that, or did that come to mind when that yellow flag came out with ten to go?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah. Yeah, that’s how I understood it too. It seems to be the most fair way to — it’s such a short track.
To procedurally do all the things that they want to do, just to give second, third, and so on place a chance at the end on a restart, I don’t like that, but I think if you’re looking at it from a fairness standpoint, if you’re going to let everyone have pit stops, then you have to — okay, we do that, but then we also have to move all the lap cars.
I don’t think they have enough time on this length of the track. That’s the situation that happened in 2018, and we ran out — we thought we were going to go green, and we pitted, and we didn’t. We just ran out of time.
I think the only way they can really approach this stuff is get the lap cars out of the way, we will go to the restart, and not allow anybody to pit. It’s probably the fairest thing can you do.
I didn’t love it. I would have preferred to keep the lap cars in between. But looking at it from a competitor, I think it’s the fairest way they can approach it.
Q. We’ve had a couple more laps. Say everyone gets a chance to pit and puts on fresh tires, obviously you dominated the race up to that point. Do you feel like you still would have had the car underneath you with the adjustments that you had made and the adjustments some other cars up close to you had made to fend folks off at the end if that had been the circumstance?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: So difficult to say. I have no idea. I would like to think, yeah, we would have been just fine, but this race can change quickly.
The balance can get away from you really fast. I think we managed our balance perfectly at the time we needed to. We needed to do it for 250 laps. If it was longer, it was 300, maybe we would lose out to somebody else, but it’s impossible to say.
Q. Following up on the caution with ten to go — you’re smiling.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Caution with ten to go and I’m smiling?
Q. You’re smiling at me like I’m about to ask something —
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I don’t know what you are about to ask. I’m very curious what you’re about to ask. You’re giving me that cheeky smile, like…
Q. Is the red flag not an option the way it is at the Indy 500 if there is a late caution like that?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Definitely. I will say that procedurally this is what they said they were going to do. They also have the abandonment of procedures, so they could just do whatever they want; right?
I guess saying that, the red flag is the option. Yeah, maybe. Maybe. That’s definitely doable.
I don’t know in this type of — it’s hard to say. I’ll say this. Whatever they were going to do, I’m fine with it. We’ll race, and we’ll figure it out, and we’ll still try and win.
What they did today, we lived with it. I thought it was fair enough, but if they want to do it differently in the future, I’m all game for whatever anybody wants to do. Whatever is going to make everybody happy, that’s what we should be doing. Everybody, every person.
Q. The style of racing, did some of the offenders heed your advice today?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: No, but I think I probably made too much of a stink about it. I was worried about the reverse happening and it just getting worse. It didn’t get worse. It was the same situation as yesterday.
I knew that was probably going to be the case. Like I said yesterday, I was trying to be prepared today on what I could do within my control to manage it.
When you are out there and this stuff is happening, I can’t affect anybody else. The only thing I can do is just be more prepared, and I have felt more prepared today. I was ready for it, and whatever was coming my way, I was just going to handle it as it was.
Q. And your corn field comment after the race about buying a corn field, I mean, I know that they do grow corn in Tennessee, but not quite like in Iowa. But just the fact that this part of the country has done so well for you, and also, you came up driving go-karts at New Castle in Indiana in the Midwest. The whole midwestern thing really works for you.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Bruce, I’m here to invest; okay? I’m ready. I’m going to buy some corn fields. I’m going to start producing for the country and doing my part. It seems like the right thing to do at this point with all the years I’ve spent here. I agree with you.
I really like Iowa. It’s actually a great little place. It’s not super busy out here, but it feels like a big event this weekend is what I’ll say. I think Hy-Vee has done a tremendous job at making this a destination.
I like to say it’s the Field of Dreams of racing. It really is. It’s a cool place to come and visit and spend a weekend, and Hy-Vee has made it an event. So it’s only gotten better from the first time I’ve been here.
Yeah, I’m going to partner with — I’m not even going to say it. I’m going to get myself in trouble. But, yeah, maybe.
Q. To kind of differentiate this race from yesterday’s race, would you rather see it be 300 laps to where it’s a little bit different procedurally, or are you fine with it staying two 250s?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to change the show. I almost think — gosh, I mean, whatever you say it’s going to be unpopular. I almost think you could put a little downforce on the cars again. I’ll just say it. I’ll say it.
I don’t want anyone to change it. I’m pretty happy with it the way it is, but if you really want to help the show, I think you put some more downforce back on the cars. It gets strung out pretty fast here, which is fun. I love it. As a race car driver, it’s a good formula. I would just put more horsepower, make them dig even more. That would be my request.
But if you are trying to appease people, you could probably put a little bit more downforce back on, close it up, and you would still get that degradation on the sort of back one-third of a stint, but just keep the group compressed a little bit longer into a stint is what I think we could do to maybe improve the show, if that’s what we’re looking to do.
Q. Or have one of them be a nice race?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I’m never against a night race. I would run every race as a night race if it was my decision.
Q. Before the race weekend, it was my impression a lot of talk about tire degradation. So how was the whole weekend summarized with the tire situation? Was it worse? Was it bad?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It was slightly worse, yeah, for degradation. And by worse I don’t mean in a bad way. There just was more. I think naturally there was more.
Every year you come here and the track is a little bit older, you’re always going to experience slightly more. It wasn’t night and day different to last year. I would say it’s slightly more, but not night and day. Pretty similar race.
Q. (Off microphone).
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Oh, yeah, no, no, no. I mean, the tire is strong and structurally great. There’s nothing wrong with that.
When it wears out, you just run a little bit slower, but it was very similar it last year. I would say you just have a tiny year-over-year increase.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. Josef Newgarden driving the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, now a six-time winner here at Iowa.
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Wrapping up today’s Hy-Vee One Step 250 here at Iowa Speedway, and for that matter the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend. Again, Josef Newgarden will join us momentarily as will third place finishing driver Alex Palou, but joined now by Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet.
Managing his best finish of the season with a second. It’s his fourth podium of the season, 98th of his career. Will, kind of a long weekend, but you made some points and a couple of good finishes there for you.
WILL POWER: Yeah, good weekend. Two poles, second. I feel like I had the car to really challenge at the end there.
We’re lucky to get the yellow. Probably should have pitted a couple of laps earlier. It probably would have put us in contention. Struggled the first two massively. Like, massively. Massively loose.
Yeah, once we fixed that, we were really strong again. That was really good. Yeah, good day, good day.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Will Power?
Q. You’ve been on rolls before in your career, but you know, tracks that are just Will Power tracks. Will Power is going to win this race, and everybody else is fighting for second. It seems lately Josef has this place figured out. Is it almost exasperating that no matter what you do, he just seems to be that much ahead of everybody?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it is. I obviously look at it very closely. I felt like we actually finally had it once we made those adjustments to run with him.
We came into pits with him, but I had to wait for X and to pit. It was just bad timing on our part to not pit a couple of laps early.
Obviously risks with that, but not much. Here you have a two-lap window to make a yellow.
Just ovals in general, he has won every single oval that he has finished in a long time now, yeah.
Q. Will, do you see him taking a page out of your playbook from last year in making the most of any day?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I think it’s a points lead that’s not completely comfortable. Pretty comfortable to take a bit more risk. Yeah, he has won a championship before. He knows that. He is going to do what he does, which is pretty good.
Q. Can I go back to Will? A question. You just said earlier a minute ago if I understood it correctly that the car was very loose, and it could be fixed. Was there already an indication today in the morning in warmup that the car was loose?
WILL POWER: There was an indication, and we didn’t do enough. Yeah, yeah, it’s nuts how the adjustment just of the front wing how it transformed the car from just horrible to extremely good.
Q. Was curious how it was communicated to you over the radio on those final ten laps and whether you were surprised that the leaders on the lead lap didn’t get a chance to go through pit lane to take tires or anything over that final ten laps of the race?
WILL POWER: You weren’t allowed to take — yeah, you weren’t allowed.
Q. I didn’t know if you guys would have been expecting the pits —
WILL POWER: To open? There weren’t enough laps left so I guess they were thinking. I think they said that in the driver meeting that with ten to go, they’re just going to — kind of it is what it is, which is quite interesting because it’s like — it would have been a big battle if it was new tires. A bit less with the old tires. Kind of close, but it still would have been a fun restart.
Q. Say this happened five laps early, so 15 to go, maybe more time to allow the pits to open and still get a restart, do either of you feel like you had a car to take to Josef on fresh tires with the adjustments you guys have made over the course of the race to challenge him for a win, or would it have still probably been the same or similar results?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I really did. I was right within that last stint going into the pit stop, and I had to wait for Ericsson to pit, so it was going to be interesting.
My car was very, very strong middle to end of stint. And at the beginning, yeah, I had a great restart. Went from I think sixth to third and then just hung back and saved tires and went again and went to second.
Yeah, that’s the first time I actually thought, yeah, I could probably challenge this guy. A little bit last year, yeah, and today. Not yesterday.
Q. Will, you mentioned the Ericsson pit stop. They held you while he went in. How heads-up was that and then to realize, hey, Ericsson is coming in, there are some people that have penalties for unsafe releases. Let’s keep him here and —
WILL POWER: I was watching my mirror because I saw them set up, and I knew that he would be coming, so I sat there watching. There was confusion on the radio that I was, like, not going to have one of these.
It sucks because you just watched three, four — almost three or four seconds tick by. A chunk of time. Like, he came out, and I could hardly see him. I came in the pits right on him, on Josef.
Yeah, that’s the gamble. I just thought we were in a position to take a big risk and pit way early because we’re not really in the championship. Just go for a win. But I’m not on the stand, so I don’t know the situation. I don’t think anyone had pitted at that point, but that would have given us clear in and out and the undercut,