Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden paced the first practice at Iowa Speedway on Saturday morning. The 2016 Iowa Corn 300 winner ran a best lap of 183.711 MPH as he looks for his fourth win of 2018.
Newgarden’s teammate Will Power was right behind, as he turned in a best lap of 183.440 MPH. The three fastest Honda-powered entries would come from the Andretti Autosport stable. Three-time Iowa winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was third in the opening session (183.196 MPH).
His teammate Alexander Rossi, who is tied with Hunter-Reay for second in points, was fourth (182.223 MPH). Rossi’s speed was also the fastest among the 13 drivers who recorded a lap without the aid of a tow.
Zach Veach would join his teammates to round out the Top Five, as the rookie’s best lap was a 181.938 MPH average. Despite Newgarden and Power topping the time charts in their Chevrolet-powered entries, Honda placed six cars in the Top 10.
21 of the 22 cars were within one second of each other, as the final separation between the 22-car field was just 1.1713 seconds. 11 cars were able to run in excess of 180 MPH lap speeds.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ed Jones was the busiest driver during practice. The sophomore racer ran 64 laps in opening practice. Jones and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal were the only drivers to turn more than 60 laps.
With this race being the first for the new aero kit at Iowa Speedway, a few drivers ran into some trouble this morning.
Less than 20 minutes into the session, A.J. Foyt Racing’s Matheus got loose in Turn 2 and spun down the backstretch. The rookie and 2017 IndyLights winner at Iowa made contact with the outside wall but he was able to climb from the car. The incident limited Leist to just 15 laps during opening practice.
With under four minutes remaining, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe spun on the backstretch apron. The yellow flag would again fly but was quickly rescinded and drivers were able to return to the track to finish out the final minutes of practice.
Next up will be two-lap qualifying runs to set the field for Sunday’s 300-lap race. That will begin at 3:30 Eastern time (2:30 track time) today. At 6:45 Eastern time, there will be a 60-minute final practice session. Sunday’s race is scheduled for a 2:40 Eastern green flag.
Stay tuned to Open-Wheels.com and our social media platforms for updates throughout the weekend.
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.