NEWTON, Iowa. — After coming up short for the pole to his teammate Will Power in qualifying that morning, Josef Newgarden took control early and dominated the HyVee Deals 250 at Iowa Speedway Saturday afternoon.
It’s Newgarden’s fourth win of the season and his fourth ever at Iowa Speedway.
“This was a long game day,” Newgarden said. “I was disappointed after qualifying. I just hate losing. I knew we had the car to win today. This is one of my favorite tracks, so to win here is always really special.”
It was a hot day in Newton, at times pushing 100 degrees ambient.
Newgarden took the lead early from his Power, but the racing was short-lived at the beginning as Jimmie Johnson spun out after having started 15th.
However, the spin technically help Johnson out as after the restart he started at the back of the field, but pitted during that time putting him on an alternate strategy.
After the rest of the field pitted as planned, Johnson shot to the lead and led several laps before having to pit.
A caution for Felix Rosenqvist bunched the field back up and put everyone back on the same strategy. Regardless, Johnson battled his way through the field and ran in the top ten all day, battling for the top five a handful of times.
As the laps wounded down, Newgarden felt constant pressure from Power, as well as championship leader Marcus Ericsson, as well as Pato O’Ward.
O’Ward passed Power for second with 50 laps to go and mounted a challenge for the lead. But, as the race reached it’s climax, Negarden got around lap traffic a little better than O’Ward, allowing him to open as much as a six-second lead over OWard.
Newgarden, despite severe tire fall-off, cruised to victory. It’s his 24 career win in the NTT IndyCar Series.
“I was pushing Josef in the end, but in the end, we didn’t have it,” said Pato O’Ward who finished second. “We’ll see what we can make work tomorrow. P2 is really good for where we are in the championship.”
Will Power came home in third and is also third now in the championship standings.
The win is huge for Newgarden’s championship hopes as it vaulted Newgarden from fourth to second in the point standings, just 15-points back of Newgarden.
“We’ve been in the game, just not where we want to be in the game,” Newgarden said of the championship fight. “We need more consistency. We’ve always been good, but we need to better.”
The starting lineup will be the same tomorrow as Race 2 of the doubleheader at Iowa continues with the HyVee Salute To Farmers 300.