Winning the pole position for a NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway has not been a lucky spot to reach Victory Lane. There’s always a first time just like 2020 was the first doubleheader of IndyCar racing at the Newton racetrack.
Josef Newgarden broke the mold on Saturday in winning the No. 2 Iowa IndyCar 250s at the 7-8-mile oval. Much as he did in his two previous victories at Iowa Speedway, Newgarden led 214 of the 250 laps in Saturday’s race.
“I heard that stat and I don't think I've ever been on the pole here before,” Newgarden said, “so I was sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know why we can't do that. We can convert from the pole.' I was totally confident.”
Newgarden has led at least 214 laps in four of the last six races at Iowa. His last win in the series dates to last July at “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet.” Newgarden, who finished fifth Friday night, came home 2.8 seconds ahead of teammate Will Power.
“I don’t know what we’ve got to do to keep the bad luck off us but hopefully this is a start,” Newgarden said. “Our guys did such a great job; I was angry for them (Friday). I was determined to come back and have a great race, and we just ran hard all day.”
Newgarden is the defending NTT IndyCar Series champion and was the 2019 Iowa Speedway winner. With Saturday’s win, Newgarden ties Ryan Hunter-Reay with three race wins at Iowa.
Hunter-Reay had a tough weekend in Iowa. He crashed leaving pit road on Friday night and did it again Saturday on lap 180 bringing out another yellow flag.
Newgarden’s victory completed the Team Penske sweep after teammate Simon Pagenaud charged from last place on the grid to win Race 1 of the IndyCar Iowa 250s Friday night.
Power finished second after wrecking out of the doubleheader opener. Graham Rahal was third for his first podium in more than a year, while Pagenaud again came from the back to finish fourth and series leader Scott Dixon was fifth.
“It feels good just to have a solid day,” said Power, who doused himself with bottled water after stepping from the car on a night where the heat index hovered around triple digits. “We'd loved to have the win, of course, but seeming like if you do a good job in this series you get screwed. I'm glad for once we actually got a good result out of it.”
This was the second consecutive weekend IndyCar drivers have had doubleheaders and fans back in attendance at the track. The NTT IndyCar Series next races are at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 9.