NEWTON, Iowa. — Josef Newgarden started further back on Sunday than he did on Saturday when he won the first race of a doubleheader at Iowa Speedway, and the same result was to be for the second race.
It took Newgarden just 31 laps to go from seventh to first in the HyVee OneStep 250 and he never relinquished the lead leading 212 of the race’s 250 laps to get his fourth win of the season.
Newgarden made it look easy all day long as he held off attack after attack for the race lead from both teammates and non-teammates, although he will testify to the contrary.
“By no means easy,” he said after the race. “I think today was different. As we spoke about yesterday, I felt like
today was going to have a different twist, and it did.”
Newgarden’s Penske teammates started in the from two rows, with Will Power starting on pole just as he did in the first race on Saturday. He and Scott McLaughlin quickly caught the back of the field and began lapping cars on the tail end. This allowed Newgarden to move through the cars ahead of him and he’d gather the lead while Power and McLaughin battled for P1 while trying the navigate lap traffic.
A simple move to the inside of both and he’d grab the lead and never let go.
The win was not a certainty though as a caution came out with just 10 laps to go as Ryan Hunter-Reay sideswiped the outside wall in Turn 4 causing him to slow. Newgarden would see a six-second lead evaporate, bunching himself up with a competitive Felix Rosenqvist who was in second.
On the restart, Negarden sped away, but some hard racing between Will Power and Alex Palou forced Rosenqvist wide and he’d finish fourth. The battle was most beneficial for Palou.
As Newgarden streaked away for the win, Palou moved from fifth to third, claim five more points that he will need as Newgarden’s win narrowed Palou’s championship lead even more than it had on Saturday.
Still, Newgarden widdled Palou’s lead down to just 80 points after entering the weekend down 117.
“I don’t know about you, but that’s a positive result I think leaving the weekend,” Newgarden said. “I would have liked it to reach 50 or 60. That sounds 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. it’s hard not to give kudos to Alex. I think he just did a great job.”
The win keeps Newgarden undefeated on ovals this season having won at Texas, the Indianapolis 500, and both races at Iowa. He could make it 5-for-5 with a win at Bommarito later this season.
Newgarden will have an opportunity to close the gap even more as the series heads to the streets of Nashville, his hometown, in a couple of weeks.
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