Newgarden Extends Championship Lead With Iowa Victory

From Lap 49 on, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was the class of the field at Iowa Speedway once the Iowa 300 finally got underway after an extensive delay for inclement weather.

Newgarden led 245 of the race’s 300 laps and sped to the finish line with a 2.9-second advantage over five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon who made a late-race charge from the sixth position after taking fresh tires under caution. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe completed the podium marking his best finish of the season.

What it means: Newgarden entered the race weekend at Iowa with a slim four-point advantage over primary championship challenger Alexander Rossi. Newgarden not only gained 50 points for his victory, he also earned three bonus points — one for leading a lap and two for leading the most laps. Rossi finished in the sixth position, allowing Newgarden’s championship lead to swell from four to 29 points heading into the final five races of the season.

Simon Pagenaud, third in the title fight, finished fourth and dropped to 58 points back while Dixon’s second-place finish minimized his points loss placing him 98 points in arrears of Newgarden.

Background: The history of Indy car racing at Iowa doesn’t favor the pole sitter and this held true in 2019 when Pagenaud lost the lead on the first green-flag lap.

  • Newgarden’s victory marked his second at Iowa. His previous win at the track in 2016 was even more dominant with 282 of 300 laps led.
  • James Hinchcliffe, also a two-time winner at the 0.894-mile oval, backed up his prior success with a podium finish.

Difference makers: While the race might have seemed straightforward for winner Newgarden, other drivers put on shows of their own.

  • Despite never having won at Iowa, Dixon’s late-race taking of fresh tires gave him an extraordinary run through the field.
  • Rookie Santino Ferrucci found the high line early and made up multiple positions in spectacular fashion more than once.
  • Lapped traffic — always an issue at Iowa — provided opportunities for passing while caution periods bunched up the field and advantaged those with strong restarts.
Karam SmartStop Carlin Chevrolet retired Iowa
Sage Karam was involved in two of three on-track incidents, the second of which prompted his Carlin Chevrolet to be retired from the race. | Photo: Jamie Sheldrick / Spacesuit Media

Incidents: After an almost five-hour delay for heavy rain and lightning, the race began under two laps of yellow and was subsequently punctuated by four yellow flags and one red flag.

  • Sage Karam was involved in two separate incidents that brought out yellow flags. He spun in Turn 4 on Lap 16 and made contact with Takuma Sato in the same turn on Lap 186.
  • Track conditions brought out a caution period on Lap 51 that quickly turned into a 27-minute red flag for moisture.
  • Ed Carpenter spun and made right-side contact in Turn 2 with 37 laps to go. He was later checked and released from the infield care center and is cleared to drive.

Results: 2019 Iowa 300

Next on track: The series will return to action Sunday, July 28 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for a 90-lap race. It will air on NBC at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Ben Hinc
Ben Hinc
Ben's executive editor title is purposefully broad to encompass the bottomless list of roles he fills for The Apex, which includes webmaster, graphic designer, quality consultant and writer. Ben's technical background and progressive media distribution approach set The Apex apart technologically and philosophically.

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