Newgarden leads Penske sweep in opening Iowa IndyCar practice

Josef Newgarden
Josef Newgarden

Team Penske waited until the end of the opening practice for the Iowa Corn 300 to make its presence known, but did so with triple the authority.

Josef Newgarden, who won the Verizon IndyCar Series race a year ago when he drove for Ed Carpenter Racing, set the fastest lap in the first practice today with a lap of 185.609 mph in the No. 2 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Team Penske Chevrolet. Directly behind Newgarden on the speed chart were teammates Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, 185.260 mph) and Simon Pagenaud (No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, 184.401). Each of the Team Penske drivers logged their fast lap in the final 10 minutes of the practice.

“We had a good first session," said Newgarden, who was running a qualifying simulation when he set the fast lap. "You always stay a little bit cautious, but it feels good. We needed work in the first session. … It wasn’t perfect, but I felt like we got it pretty damn good at the end of the session.

"We’ll see how we run in qualifying and, more importantly, the second (practice) session tonight. That will be a good indicator of what we have for the race. I feel pretty good about the Fitzgerald Chevy. Happy to be in it again."

Team owner/driver Ed Carpenter was fourth overall in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet at 184.137 mph. Marco Andretti, in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda, ranked fifth at 183.975 mph. This was the only practice session scheduled prior to Verizon P1 Award pole qualifying this afternoon.

The tight confines of the 0.894-mile Iowa Speedway oval leave little room for running by oneself, so the practice speeds could be deceiving. Graham Rahal, in the No. 15 GEHL Honda, was 10th on the overall chart but posted the fastest lap without the aid of an aero tow, at 183.646 mph.

The lone incident came an hour into the session when JR Hildebrand spun and backed his No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet into the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier. The Ed Carpenter Racing driver climbed from the car with assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team and was taken to the infield care center for further evaluation.

Points leader Scott Dixon was 16th overall but parked for the final 20 minutes of the session by INDYCAR for a rules infraction by the No. 9 NTT Data Honda in the morning warmup practice on race day for the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America on June 25.

Scott Dixon
Scott Dixon

Dixon missed the entire 30-minute session that day while his crew worked on a fuel-pressure issue in the team’s garage area. In an attempt to run a systems check lap at the end of the session, Dixon drove the car from the paddock to pit lane and entered the track 56 seconds after the checkered flag signaling the end of the session. Both are violations of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Rule Book (Rules 7.2.9.1 and 7.9.1, respectively), in addition to a violation of Rule 9.3.1.7 for failing to obey the direction of INDYCAR.

In addition to the 20-minute penalty, Chip Ganassi Racing was assessed a monetary fine.

Single-car qualifying to determine the starting grid for Sunday’s race begins at 3 p.m. ET today and airs live on NBCSN. The action should be hot from the outset, as Pagenaud, Dixon and Newgarden drew the first three spots in the qualifying order. Power will be the last of the 21 drivers to make a two-lap attempt to determine the Verizon P1 Award winner.

A final 30-minute practice in race-like conditions starts at 7:15 this evening and streams live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com. Live coverage of the 300-lap race commences at 5 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Take a few laps at speed around Iowa Speedway via Ed Carpenter's visor cam during the first practice.

Results

Pos No Name FTime Diff Gap FL Laps FSpeed Engine
1 2 Josef Newgarden 17.340 –.—- –.—- 46 47 185.609 Chevy
2 12 Will Power 17.372 0.0326 0.0326 41 51 185.260 Chevy
3 1 Simon Pagenaud 17.453 0.1136 0.0810 45 48 184.401 Chevy
4 20 Ed Carpenter 17.478 0.1386 0.0250 4 47 184.137 Chevy
5 27 Marco Andretti 17.494 0.1540 0.0154 49 50 183.975 Honda
6 10 Tony Kanaan 17.513 0.1736 0.0196 29 36 183.769 Honda
7 7 Mikhail Aleshin 17.516 0.1763 0.0027 40 40 183.741 Honda
8 98 Alexander Rossi 17.523 0.1835 0.0072 33 39 183.665 Honda
9 5 James Hinchcliffe 17.524 0.1843 0.0008 42 49 183.657 Honda
10 15 Graham Rahal 17.525 0.1853 0.0010 44 55 183.646 Honda
11 83 Charlie Kimball 17.562 0.2224 0.0371 56 64 183.258 Honda
12 8 Max Chilton 17.604 0.2647 0.0423 56 57 182.818 Honda
13 19 Ed Jones 17.627 0.2870 0.0223 50 51 182.587 Honda
14 14 Carlos Munoz 17.637 0.2972 0.0102 58 60 182.481 Chevy
15 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 17.652 0.3125 0.0153 57 60 182.323 Honda
16 9 Scott Dixon 17.655 0.3157 0.0032 7 36 182.290 Honda
17 21 JR Hildebrand 17.699 0.3597 0.0440 4 51 181.837 Chevy
18 3 Helio Castroneves 17.708 0.3679 0.0082 57 69 181.752 Chevy
19 18 Esteban Gutierrez 17.737 0.3972 0.0293 50 60 181.452 Honda
20 26 Takuma Sato 17.756 0.4158 0.0186 55 59 181.262 Honda
21 4 Conor Daly 17.961 0.6209 0.2051 40 53 179.192 Chevy

Leave a Reply