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Newgarden ends strong Iowa weekend with Saturday night victory

Josef Newgarden and Team Penske won Saturday’s Iowa INDYCAR 250. It was the second part of a doubleheader for the NTT IndyCar Series around the 7/8th-mile Iowa Speedway in Newton.

It was another night under the lights at Iowa for the stars of the 2020 IndyCar Series campaign, and for the second straight night, the clear car to beat was apparent to be Josef Newgarden. His Hitachi Chevrolet for Team Penske led 214 of the 250 laps Saturday night, and went on to score the victory, the 15th in his IndyCar career.

Newgarden’s victory is his first of the 2020 season — in fact, it’s his first since the Iowa weekend one season ago — and the second for Team Penske in the now six-race season.

Two crashes occurred Saturday night – both for single car accidents. Ed Carpenter brushed the outside wall in turn 2 in the midst of green flag pit stops after 112 laps.

Ryan Hunter-Reay hit the inside wall and bent his front tire exiting the pit lane on lap 179. The incident for RHR was bizarre enough as is, but according to his Andretti Autosport crew, he did the same thing during Friday night’s race, but did not have significant damage to his DHL Honda. Both drivers climbed out of their cars under their own power and were released from the care center.

The ending of Saturday’s race marked the end of an endurance stint for the teams, drivers, crews and all personnel close to the IndyCar Series. The race marked the fifth race in just 14 days, and the second consecutive week to hold doubleheader races.

The next time we’ll see the NTT IndyCar Series in race conditions will be August 9th at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a race won by Scott Dixon a record six times, including last season.

Will Power finished in second-place Saturday night behind his Penske teammate. Graham Rahal rebounded after a slow Friday night to step on the final slot of the podium. Simon Pagenaud finished fourth after a win on Friday with Scott Dixon in fifth. Rookie driver Oliver Askew finished in sixth with Jack Harvey in seventh.

Alexander Rossi had a nice, uneventful race after a string of misfortune to start his season with an eighth-place finish. Marcus Ericsson finished in ninth, capping off his fifth consecutive top-ten result. Marco Andretti rounded out the top ten positions. Tony Kanaan finished his final race at Iowa Speedway in eleventh.

Dixon, who also won the first three races to start the 2020 IndyCar campaign (Texas, Indy Grand Prix and Road America-1) now holds a 49-point gap over defending Indianapolis 500 Champion Simon Pagenaud.

Josef Newgarden has placed himself into third in the standings with his win tonight. He trails Dixon by 54. Rossi entered the weekend in 22nd in standings and leaped inside the top-ten, trailing Dixon by 126 points, however.

The Honda Indy 200 of Mid-Ohio is scheduled to roll off on August 9th at 1:30pm EST on NBCSN.

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