Delayed Iowa race on the oval

NTT IndyCar Series had arrived at the corn fields for Iowa 300, on the only 0,894 mile long track.

While the race was run in the afternoon in the previous season, it was now an evening race, which was already delayed by rain. The race was four hours late, starting at 22.46 local time.

This year’s Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud had taken Pole Position, ahead of his Team Penske colleagues Will Power and Josef Newgarden. Takuma Sato was the best driver on Honda engine in P4, followed by James Hinchcliffe, Alexander Rossi, Graham Rahal and Scott Dixon, who still had problems with his elbow, like in Toronto last weekend.

Power took the lead already in Turn 1, while Sato was quickly up to P2. However, both Pagenaud and Newgarden drove past him again in the next couple of laps.

Iowa 300 2019 start
Photo: / Chris Owens

Karam had a spin in Turn 4 and lightly brushed by Felix Rosenqvist. Luckily, both drivers could continue the race, although Rosenqvist had to pit for new tires and a new front wing. It also deployed a Safety Car period, which is the tradition in the US. It happened right before the leading drivers could overlap the slower ones, so the field was neutralised again.

The race got restarted quickly, and Ed Carpenter continued his progress from P17 to P9 after thirty laps out of three hundred.

Dixon didn’t seem like he had the car set-up totally right, as he dropped down the field. From starting eighth, he was now out of the top fifteen after forty-three laps, with a risk of being overlapped.

Sage Karam
Photo: / Stephen King

Josef Newgarden snatched the lead after fifty laps. However, the Safety Car was back on the track when some showers come – since there are no rain tires in an oval race. The yellow flag turned into a red flag as the rain continued to fall harder. Thus the drivers and mechanics had to wait yet again.

After half an hour, the cars got sent back to the track.

The majority of the field pitted for fuel and new tires before the green flag.

Santino Ferrucci hit jackpot with the car’s set-up and overtook both Hinchcliffe and Rossi from the outside, and was up to fifth position, right behind Sato.

Sebastien Bourdais & Santino Ferrucci
Photo: / Stephen King

After that the race fell into rhythm in a long green flag period.

Dixon lost a lap to the leaders, which wasn’t something you see every day.

137 laps into the race, it was time to pit for the leading cars. Newgarden came out in the lead, while Sato with an early pitstop, came out in second place. Sato’s older tires were no match for Power, who flew past him and now had his eyes on Newgarden.

Top eight was the only ones in the same lap as the leader. Rossi was the last person in the same lap as Newgarden before he got overlapped.

Pagenaud was centimetres away from hitting the wall after 155 laps, but he saved it and could continue the race. Though he had lost a lot of speed, so the Polesitter went down to P6 in no time.

Scott Dixon
Photo: / Joe Skibinski

Pagenaud and Hinchcliffe fought for sixth place, where it was Hinch’s turn to almost hit the wall, when the Frenchman cross right in front of the Canadian in the middle of the corner.

Marco Andretti was slowing down on the track and the race director asked him to drive faster, since he was driving too slow and thus was a potential danger for the competitors. If he didn’t do it, he would be removed from the race.

Rossi got overlapped after 180 laps.

Shortly after that, there was another Safety Car period when Sage Karam drove into the rear of Takuma Sato’s car. Neither car ended up in the wall, but half of Karam’s front wing lay in the middle of the track, so yellow flag was the sensible option. The stewards gave Karam a Drive-through penalty for the incident.

The majority of the field chose to pit, where the mechanics at Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports fumbled with James Hinchcliffe’s left rear tire. It took way too long to get the tire off, but his luck was that not many drivers were on the same lap as him.

The race got restarted with 100 laps left. After everyone who was one lap behind was allowed to get past, there were 16 cars on the lead lap.

Alexander Rossi
Photo: / Joe Skibinski

Spencer Pigot and Ed Carpenter Racing had been clever with the driving and pit strategy, and he was up to third at the restart. He, however, had to give it away to Pagenaud, who had gotten new life in the car. Team owner Carpenter was two places behind.

Marco Andretti retired after 205 laps due to a technical problem with the car.

Takuma Sato had to retire after 216 laps, since the damage after the contact with Karam was too severe, that the car was unsafe to drive.

Dixon tired to hang on but he got overlapped again after 246 laps.

The last pitstop round of the day almost went wrong for Will Power, when he was only centimetres way from hitting the pitwall in the pit entry. But he managed to brake the car in time. So it ended up with him losing a position and falling back behind his teammate Pagenaud. It only got worse for Power when the stewards gave him a Stop & Go penalty for not driving in the pit correctly.

Hinchcliffe started to get more speed in the car in the last forty laps. He worked himself past Pigot from the outside, in the battle for sixth place.

Conor Daly
Photo: / Chris Owens

35 laps before the finish, there was another yellow flag when Ed Carpenter lost the car out of Turn 2, becoming the first person to hit the wall.

Scott Dixon hadn’t taken his last pitstop, so he could pit from third place after being so far behind so many times. So after being one lap behind, he left the pits in P10, on the same lap as the leader Newgarden.

The race got restarted with 27 laps left.

Fresh tires were something that really benefited the drivers who had pitted. Dixon jumped up from P10 to P4 after just a couple of laps.

A few laps later, Colton Herta had to retired with a technical problem.

Dixon flew past Pagenaud, as if the Frenchman drove with his handbrake down, and a few laps later he also got past Hinchcliffe, who was otherwise up to second place.

Dixon had 16 laps to close the 2,4 second gap to Newgarden.

Josef Newgarden
Photo: / Chris Owens

The gap was, however, a bit to big, so instead of catching up to Newgarden, the defending champion now had to look at his mirror, since Hinchcliffe was closing up again.

Josef Newgarden showed a total dominance and won the race, after being in the lead for 245 laps. Scott Dixon finished in an impressive second place, in front of James Hinchcliffe, Simon Pagenaud, Spencer Pigot, Alexander Rossi, Zach Veach, Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais and Tony Kanaan, who finally finished in top ten again for A. J. Foyt Enterprises since Indy 500 in May.

With the victory, Newgarden extended his lead in the championship, so now he has a 29-point advantage to Alexander Rossi in P2, while Simon Pagenaud is a further 29 points behind. Scott Dixon is 98 points away from the championship leader, while Will Power needs a further 67 points.

NTT IndyCar Series will already drive next weekend, when they takes off to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where Alexander Rossi totally dominated the race in 2018 – and Newgarden did the year before. However, Scott Dixon is still the most successful driver on the track with five victories since 2007.

Shouldn’t it guarantee another exciting race?

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