Josef Newgarden. Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

IndyCar: Newgarden tops Hy-Vee Homefront 250 Practice

Josef Newgarden set the fastest time of 18.2420s to top Friday practice for the Hy-Vee Homefront 250 IndyCar race in Iowa.

Newgarden was on it hard by lap two and on his fourth lap of the day set the fastest time of the day.  It was that easy. He turned 121 laps on the day.

Newgarden spent most of the session working in his #2 Penske Chevy on race setup and sliced through traffic like butter, making him the favorite to win one or both races of the Hy-Vee weekend doubleheader.

“As you can see, we’ve got a pretty good package,” Newgarden said. “We ran a good couple of first laps, and it was just OK in race trim. I think we need to be a little bit better. This place is tricky. I feel like everyone is going to be really good this weekend. No one stands still here in the INDYCAR SERIES.”

Newgarden’s teammate Scott McLaughlin was 2nd fastest, as the cars with Penske shocks worked best over the Iowa Speedway bumps.

Marcus Ericsson was 3rd in his #8 Ganassi Honda, just 0.0572s behind.

Colton Herta almost scraped the wall exiting Turn 4 on one lap, but was good enough for 4th quick time, just 0.0943 sec. behind.

Pato O’ward put his #5 Arrow McLaren Chevy 5th on the time charts.

This is a big weekend for Alex Palou, as he will claim a $1 million PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge with a victory in either race.

Alex Palou
Alex Palou Photo courtesy of Penske Entertainment

The bonus, split between the team and a charity, is awarded to the first driver who wins on all three types of track in the championship – street circuits, road courses and ovals – in a season. Palou already has a victory this season on a street circuit and a road course.

Josef Newgarden

Photo courtesy of Penske Entertainment
Photo courtesy of Penske Entertainment

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden has won five of the last seven oval races and won the two oval races so far this season.  In practice today, he showed that he was dominant once again.

“Good practice for sure, no doubt. It’s difficult to say what tomorrow and Sunday is going to bring. I think everybody looks really good. There’s a lot of cars that tested here. Pretty much the whole field tested outside of us in McLaren, and I think everybody looks like they’ve raised their game.”

“So it’s not going to be easy whether it’s qualifying or the race. I think it will be pretty tight up and down the grid.”

” Legitimately, everyone looked like they were leveled up relative to last year. Practice is kind of difficult here just because you’ve got to be ten laps difference on tires makes a huge swing in performance.  So it’s hard to assess where everybody is when you’re out
there, and it’s hard to get an apples-to-apples comparison.”

“Any car that I was up against just felt like they were better than what they were doing last year. It was certainly not as easy to kind of come through the field.”

“I think Ryan (Hunter-Reay) will be good in that ECR car. He has been good here in the past, and he looks pretty sporty.”

“At the end of the day, qualifying, it doesn’t really matter. When it comes to choosing between that and a race, you have to have a good race car. You’re going to be stuck
with it for 250 laps versus two.”

“So for qualifying, you’re going to be putting the race car setup on. You might sneak in a little bit of an adjustment for trying to get a decent run in qualifying.”

“But to be honest, it’s a terrible condition setup. We’re going to be qualifying at 8:30 a.m. It’s going to be 12 degrees cooler, and then you can’t adjust the car for when it’s the middle of the day.”

“I don’t personally love that. I think you’re going to be bottoming a lot more when the conditions are super cool.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Hunter-Reay         Photo courtesy of Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

Driving for Ed Carpenter Racing, Ryan Hunter-Reay is no stranger to winning here in Iowa.  The American had three wins here, in 2012, 2014 and 2015, while driving for Andretti Autosport.

“I miss this place being a night race, but it is really incredible what Hy-Vee has been able to do with this place. It’s absolutely insane. Having last raced here in 2020, it looks
like a completely different racetrack.”

“It’s amazing how much different this place is than it was back in my first run in 2012. Totally different race car, but it’s challenging.”

“It’s tough to keep the tire under you. You have to be smart about it. It will be a tough one, but I think we made the right changes towards the end of the session in practice.”

“Yeah, this is the first place I’ve come back to that I’ve been on the track with this team  a with a test day.”

“This place, it either seems like, bar a few cars here or there, it seems like maybe Newgarden and Pato, I’m not sure, but it seems like you’re either under-steer or
over-steer. There’s kind of no happy medium.”

Hy-Vee Homefront 250 Practice Results

Pos No Name Time Behind Gap FL Laps Speed Engine Team
1 2 Josef Newgarden 18.2420 0.000s 0.000s 4 121 176.428 Chevy Team Penske
2 3 Scott McLaughlin 18.2897 0.0477 0.0477 105 116 175.968 Chevy Team Penske
3 8 Marcus Ericsson 18.2992 0.0572 0.0095 80 126 175.877 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
4 26 Colton Herta 18.3363 0.0943 0.0371 5 77 175.521 Honda Andretti Autosport w/Curb Agajanian
5 5 Pato O’Ward 18.3416 0.0996 0.0053 51 101 175.470 Chevy Arrow McLaren
6 11 Takuma Sato 18.3606 0.1186 0.0190 90 97 175.288 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
7 45 Christian Lundgaard 18.4579 0.2159 0.0973 100 106 174.364 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
8 20 Ryan Hunter Reay 18.4749 0.2329 0.0170 7 97 174.204 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
9 60 Conor Daly 18.4962 0.2542 0.0213 32 74 174.003 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
10 9 Scott Dixon 18.5026 0.2606 0.0064 120 122 173.943 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
11 30 Jack Harvey 18.5287 0.2867 0.0261 100 107 173.698 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
12 12 Will Power 18.5735 0.3315 0.0448 81 116 173.279 Chevy Team Penske
13 06 Helio Castroneves 18.5946 0.3526 0.0211 6 84 173.083 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
14 7 Alexander Rossi 18.5957 0.3537 0.0011 91 103 173.072 Chevy Arrow McLaren
15 10 Alex Palou 18.6027 0.3607 0.0070 55 101 173.007 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
16 33 Ed Carpenter 18.6194 0.3774 0.0167 9 81 172.852 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
17 28 Romain Grosjean 18.6226 0.3806 0.0032 61 102 172.822 Honda Andretti Autosport
18 18 David Malukas 18.6715 0.4295 0.0489 71 116 172.370 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with HMD
19 29 Devlin DeFrancesco 18.6826 0.4406 0.0111 5 83 172.267 Honda Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
20 15 Graham Rahal 18.7234 0.4814 0.0408 106 120 171.892 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
21 21 Rinus VeeKay 18.7346 0.4926 0.0112 9 94 171.789 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
22 27 Kyle Kirkwood 18.7825 0.5405 0.0479 25 72 171.351 Honda Andretti Autosport
23 77 Callum Ilott 18.8539 0.6119 0.0714 83 84 170.702 Chevy Juncos Hollinger Racing
24 78 Agustin Canapino 18.9816 0.7396 0.1277 83 88 169.554 Chevy Juncos Holling Racing
25 14 Santino Ferrucci 19.0233 0.7813 0.0417 48 110 169.182 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
26 6 Felix Rosenqvist 19.0974 0.8554 0.0741 86 93 168.526 Chevy Arrow McLaren
27 51 Sting Ray Robb 19.1447 0.9027 0.0473 10 83 168.109 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR
28 55 Benjamin Pedersen 19.3157 1.0737 0.1710 10 92 166.621 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises


Lucille Dust reporting live from Iowa Speedway.

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