Pagenaud leads Penske 1-2-3 in IndyCar Iowa quals

Simon Pagenaud on pole again
Simon Pagenaud on pole again

As predicted before qualifying, using their special shock package,Team Penske ran 1-2-3 in qualifying for the Iowa 300 IndyCar race on the short 7/8ths mile Newton oval.

Simon Pagenaud earned his second consecutive pole on the NTT IndyCar Series season Friday while leading Team Penske to a sweep of the top three qualifying positions for the Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway.

Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet), who won the pole at Toronto last week, captured his third NTT P1 Award of the season and 13th of his career with a two-lap average of 180.073 miles per hour (35.7455 seconds) on the 0.894-mile oval. It was the fifth year in row that Team Penske earned pole at Iowa.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]He was followed by Team Penske teammates Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) at 179.589 mph (35.8418 secs.) and Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet) at 179.449 mph (35.8699), respectively, in qualifying.

Rounding out the top five were Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Takuma Sato (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda) at 177.646 mph (36.2338) and Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) at 176.200 mpg (36.5312) in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Team Penske's only race win at Iowa came in 2017 with Helio Castroneves. Last year, Newgarden led 229 of the 300 laps, but was forced to settle for a fourth-place finish when three other drivers passed on a late chance to pit for new tires. No pole winner has won the Iowa race.

"You make one mistake (and) you can find yourself a lap behind (the leader)," Pagenaud said. "It's important to stay on top of your game the whole time. It's also important not to freak out. When the (car's) balance goes away, sometimes you tend to get stressed out and gain a sense of urgency. That's when you make more mistakes.

"Very important to keep your emotions in check, but also you have to be aggressive. You can't go through traffic without being aggressive. It's a very fine line. It's very difficult to find that (proper) rhythm."

Friday’s action will continue with a final one-hour practice beginning at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT local (NBC Gold).

The NTT IndyCar Series returns to Iowa Speedway on Saturday night for the running of the Iowa 300 (300 laps/268.2 miles). The race will be broadcast live beginning at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT local on the NBC Sports Network as well as the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Radio, Channel 209.

Quotes

Newgarden did not have quite enough, but watch him in the race
Newgarden did not have quite enough, but watch him in the race

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "Yeah, just not enough today, so we will go tomorrow. I think it will be fine, it just wasn't enough there. The Hitachi car, it feels good. Chevy, I think, has done a great job for us, so now we will work on the race."

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "Tough qualifying here at Iowa, to be honest. I thought we were going to be a little bit better, but it is what it is. The track was really dirty on the outside and I've been running the outside all practice long. I never tried the inside, and on my warmup lap, I had a moment because the track was so slippery, so I had to change the line and try the inside. Everybody has to adapt, but I don't know, didn't quite do a great job today. Just looking forward to the race now."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "A good run for No. 5 Arrow car. These track conditions are so tough right now with the temperatures the way they are, the wind the way it is. I have to thank (teammate) Marcus (Ericsson) for giving me good advice from his run. We're starting better than we did last year and we won from 11th last year. The race car was really good in practice, so thanks to the Arrow SPM boys for giving us a strong car. We'll see where we can go from here."

MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "I think that was a decent qualifying. Obviously, top 10 is a good result. I'm still learning a lot on the ovals and this is a very different type of oval compared to Texas and Indianapolis. I think we made some good setup changes from practice where I wasn't 100 percent happy with the car, but the Arrow car is in a much better place for me now. I still feel like it was not the perfect run on the driving side; there is still time there to find, but the result is good. We know we have a strong car. I think we should be very pleased with our starting position for tomorrow. We can have a really great result and a great race from P10."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "We tried a few different things today for qualifying and might have missed a little there. I think the PNC Bank car felt good on long runs though. Hopefully, that means we'll be good for the race. Obviously, conditions will change and you need to keep up with that. It doesn't really matter where you start here unless you're dead last. We'll keep working on it, and hopefully, have a car to compete with tomorrow night."

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "I think it definitely helped for us to have the test here. It helped getting up to speed here in practice this morning, for sure. I didn't feel great with my qualifying run. The balance didn't seem quite right, and so that's something we need to go back and work on with the PNC Bank car."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "Is it any surprise that I'm second? Is it any surprise (laughter)? It isn't for me. That's just this year. No, (the run) was actually pretty good. The car was good. All three (Penske) cars were good."

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "Frustrating. I think I could have been a little bit better. Obviously, the track had some oil dry and that's the price we pay when we qualify early. The track is only going to get better. The way you do the qualifying draw is by championship points and we didn't do ourselves any favors by being in the back. This is a track where I led over 500 laps in the course of my career and have a lot of podium finishes, so I'm hopeful this will be our turnaround weekend for sure."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 One Cure Honda): "Practice didn't go great and you could see that by the lap times. Qualifying was good, I thought we did a good, solid job. The car had a lot of understeer, but compared to practice, I'll take it. The One Cure car seemed to have pace; we've just got to refine that. And in 175-degree temps, it's hard to refine. Now we move on to final practice in race time conditions and we'll see what we've got."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): "The No. 18 SealMaster Honda car was OK this morning. Then for the qualifying run, I had no grip. I'm not sure what happened between the morning practice and qualifying. We'll take a look at the data and see what we can come up with."

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): "It's difficult getting adjusted to the short oval. It's tough, to say the least. I was loose my whole run. The car was moving out of Turn 2 and I had a massive moment out of Turn 4, so I just kept my foot in it. That said, I'm happy with our qualifying run today. It's our best start on an oval. Now we have to keep it going tomorrow. Hopefully, we can move up the field during the race and get another top 10 finish on an oval."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "We expected the track to be a little more free than what it was. We tightened up our car for qualifying having expected the conditions and the rubber from the previous series to free us up. It was the wrong way; we were way too tight and had way too much understeer, so it was hard to attack like you want to in qualifying. A little frustrating because I was happy with the Autogeek Chevrolet in practice, especially on race runs. I thought we had better pace than what we showed. Our qual sim in practice wasn't that good, so I thought we were going to have a lot better showing in qualifying. The beauty of this racetrack is it has multiple lanes, so you can get to the front if you have a good car. We'll just have to get it right tonight in this next practice and have a strong first stint tomorrow to protect ourselves and stay on the lead lap."

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "We definitely need to see where we can improve. The car has been a bit of a handful so far. We had a great race here last year, so we know what we need from the car. We just have to try and find it. Hopefully, we can have a good session this evening and get the Autogeek Chevy back up front."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): "(The qualifying session) was very intense, with the temperature being so high. The tarmac (track temperature) was 135 degrees Fahrenheit. In these conditions, the car slides around quite a bit. It's all about having the right balance on the race car. We had a good snapshot this morning of how the car was. We ran quite a bit in traffic. We knew we had to make some adjustments to be really strong on long runs. At the end, we did a qualifying run. (it was) pretty good. Ben (Bretzman) is really good at this stuff, my engineer. We just worked on the little details and made sure we would have enough balance and grip to go through the corner."

It is Pagenaud’s third pole of the season, second consecutive and the 13th of his career.

“That was really good. The Menards team has been really good. The car was good this morning, but is always a daring place where you really have to put it on the line. The balance was really good and the Chevy power was tremendous as well. We are one-two-three for Team Penske. It is a testament to the good cars we have and the great team we have.

“It is really tough. The track temperature is 135 degrees. To get the balance right is really complicated and the team did a great job setting it up. I just went out and focused on my own thinking process and really sent it. It was the two most intense laps of my life."

DID YOU SECOND GUESS ANYTHING WHEN YOU HEADED OUT TO QUALIFY?

“You really can’t second guess anything. You have to focus on yourself, what you had in the morning and when you get in the car it’s about adapting to the situations. It is high intensity. Get’s your heart rate really high-still shaking a little bit from the run."

ARE YOU ON THE CHAMPIONSHIP HUNT?

“It’s time to go for it. Time to be aggressive, time to score as many points as we can. Obviously when we have the car to win, we have to execute. The team behind me on the No. 22 side are so phenomenal. The No. 2 (Josef Newgarden) and the No.12 (Will Power) work so well together as well with us. Right now we just have keep pushing and get Team Penske the championship."

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): "We just missed the mark by a mile. We had really good pace in the first practice session, ending P10. We thought we had a lot more in the car and the changes we made between sessions was just not the way to go. I had too much understeer and couldn't carry the speed we need. It is embarrassing to be starting 20th, but we will find a way to make our way to the front, like we usually do."

The Andretti team is pretty much out to lunch in the heat of the day, but will things change when the sun goes down?
The Andretti team was pretty much out to lunch in the heat of the day, but will things change when the sun goes down?

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): "It has been a tough day, for sure. We can't really focus on one end of the car; we are fighting both of them. That (sixth place) was our potential, maybe fourth. The Penske cars have looked really strong, which is unfortunate. We have one more (practice) session this afternoon to really dial in that No. 27 NAPA Andretti Honda."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "We were a bit handcuffed during our run, meaning I couldn't really shift the balance one way or the other with the tools. I was too loose mid-corner and then (had) big understeer really late. The rear of the car would straighten up, then after that, the front would really take off coming up the hill. There wasn't much I could do with it. I just had to ride it out. We just missed the balance. It's unfortunate, but if you have a good race car here you can make it all up. That's what we'll be looking to do – try to get this DHL 28 car up to the front."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): "The first lap was pretty good, but unfortunately, on the second lap I had a huge wash out in Turn 2 and had to lift. Considering we had a difficult practice this morning, I think the team did a great job. Iowa is always special for me since I got my first pole position here. There is no rest here. The whole way, all 300 laps, is just very exciting and a hard battle. We had a good race last year and there is no reason why we can repeat that this year."

SAGE KARAM (No. 31 SmartStop Self Storage Carlin Chevrolet): "I'm really pleased with our qualifying effort this afternoon here at Iowa. The track was a bit different than it was this morning with the ARCA cars running around this afternoon. They put their rubber down and I think it took a few runs from a few of us up front in the qualifying line to get the Firestone rubber laid back down. I'd say that definitely threw a curve ball in our plan, but we had a really good run and the No. 31 SmartStop Self Storage Carlin Chevrolet felt really good. The car is nice and smooth and feels really consistent, so I was happy to bring it home and get a 14th-place starting position for Carlin and Smart Stop Self Storage."

CONOR DALY (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): "The conditions were really tough out there, especially being the first car out after the ARCA cars ran right before qualifying. There was junk rubber and oil all over the outside, which made it tough to run up high. I love lane two in Turns 3 and 4, which is where I was really comfortable all morning in practice, but I just couldn't run it. I had to be pretty dedicated to the low line and I just didn't like it down there. It's just a shame, because I think the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet had a little more speed in it than that. We're going to put our focus now on tonight's practice and get our race car a bit more fine-tuned before green flag tomorrow night."

COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda): "We had a really great turnaround from what we had in Practice 1. We struggled this morning and finished 18th, so to recover from that to qualify 11th is great. Looking forward to tomorrow's race at Iowa Speedway. I've always loved racing here. The No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner boys have been working so hard and strong. We're looking for a good result.

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda): "The car caught me out. It was pretty different end to end from practice. The car was really loose in Turns 3 and 4, then we had understeer in Turns 1 and 2. The lap is a short one, making it hard to switch back and forth with the tools. We need to find that balance during practice tonight. We have to get the car working over the bumps. This team was pretty good here when it was smooth and now it feels almost like a different racetrack."

Lineup

Pos No Name QSPEED Diff QL1 QL2 Engine Team
1 22 Simon Pagenaud 180.073 –.—- 180.324 179.823 Chevy Team Penske
2 12 Will Power 179.589 0.0963 179.544 179.634 Chevy Team Penske
3 2 Josef Newgarden 179.449 0.1244 179.913 178.986 Chevy Team Penske
4 30 Takuma Sato 177.646 0.4883 179.193 176.126 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
5 5 James Hinchcliffe 176.200 0.7857 177.049 175.359 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
6 27 Alexander Rossi 176.057 0.8154 176.322 175.793 Honda Andretti Autosport
7 15 Graham Rahal 175.857 0.8569 175.351 176.366 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
8 9 Scott Dixon 175.725 0.8845 175.540 175.910 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
9 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 175.618 0.9067 175.808 175.429 Honda Andretti Autosport
10 7 Marcus Ericsson 175.578 0.9152 175.311 175.845 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
11 88 Colton Herta 175.346 0.9636 175.503 175.189 Honda Harding Steinbrenner Racing
12 19 Santino Ferrucci 175.316 0.9700 174.935 175.698 Honda Dale Coyne Racing
13 14 Tony Kanaan 174.848 1.0681 175.791 173.916 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
14 31 Sage Karam 174.323 1.1791 173.942 174.705 Chevy Carlin
15 10 Felix Rosenqvist 174.237 1.1973 175.024 173.457 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
16 59 Conor Daly 173.837 1.2823 173.875 173.798 Chevy Carlin
17 20 Ed Carpenter 173.540 1.3456 173.968 173.115 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
18 98 Marco Andretti 173.044 1.4519 174.036 172.064 Honda Andretti Herta Autosport w/ Marco & Curb
19 21 Spencer Pigot 171.791 1.7233 173.386 170.225 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
20 26 Zach Veach 171.626 1.7594 172.343 170.914 Honda Andretti Autosport
21 18 Sebastien Bourdais 171.390 1.8109 172.101 170.685 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan
22 4 Matheus Leist 167.136 2.7668 169.170 165.151 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises

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