Bridesmaid No More: Josef Newgarden Powers His Way to Iowa Corn 300 Victory Despite Injury
Win in Iowa the most dominant in INDYCAR history
NEWTON, Iowa (July 10, 2016) – After finishing second the past two years at Iowa Speedway, Josef Newgarden dominated the field in the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 to record his first career win on an oval.
At Lap 100 of 300, Newgarden had lapped up to second place with two-thirds of the race remaining. Fortunately for the competition, the first caution of the race flew just a few laps later, putting more cars back up on the lead lap, but nobody had enough to overpower the still-recovering Newgarden.
He led 282 of the 300 laps, breaking the record for most laps ever led in an IndyCar race. The previous record was Ryan Hunter-Reay’s 250-lap mark at Milwaukee.
“Man, it’s hard to not get emotional after these things! I have a great team with Ed Carpenter Racing,” said Newgarden. “This is so cool. Thanks to everyone in Iowa. I love this place.
“Love coming to Iowa. Love the fans here. Love running Indy cars around this place. I hope we come back here for many, many years.”
The last time the 25-year-old driver of the Ed Carpenter Racing No. 21 Chevrolet was on an oval course, he was being dragged upside down against the asphalt of Texas Motor Speedway after a scary crash with Conor Daly. But on Sunday, Newgarden raced through his injuries at “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet” to take his first checkered flag since Toronto last year.
Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud was the Sukup “The First in the Field” driver and led the field to the green flag but Newgarden pulled around him on the outside of Turns 1 and 2 to take the lead before the end of the first lap.
The only thing that could slow him from then on was the caution flag, which flew just three times. The first two was for engine detonations for Ryan Hunter-Reay and Juan Pablo Montoya, while the last one came out when Max Chilton spun on the backstretch.
Some drivers such as 2010 Iowa winner Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves, who had been running up front, were hurt by the caution flags, having visited Pit Road under green flag conditions shortly before the yellow flag waved.
Scott Dixon made a late charge in the final quarter of the race, but didn’t have enough for Newgarden. In fact, Dixon and Newgarden both found themselves pushed back by Will Power in the closing laps, who finished second ahead of Dixon.
After getting out of his car, Newgarden sang the praises of his team and machine, admitting that “my right hand was killing me,” but emphasizing that it didn’t matter when he’d had a car as good as the one under him. The win moved him up from fifth to second in the points standings.
Two-time reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 champion Hunter-Reay was not meant for a fourth win in this weekend at Iowa Speedway. After struggling with handling issues, the No. 28 suffered an engine failure on Lap 105, ending the day early for the Andretti Autosport DHL team.
“It [the engine] just popped without warning but that was the least of our problems today,” said Hunter-Reay. “My big problem was I could not get around a car at all. If I got around a car it felt like I lost two thousand pounds of downforce.”
Next up for Iowa Speedway is NASCAR K&N Pro Series Casey’s General Stores 150 presented by Vatterott College and NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250 on July 29-30.