Josef Newgarden continued Team Penske’s dominance at Iowa Speedway this weekend. The 2016 race winner was fastest during Saturday evening’s 60-minute final practice for the Iowa Corn 300.
Newgarden, who sits fourth in points with a series-leading three wins, recorded a top speed of 176.772 MPH.
The defending series champion was one of three Chevrolets in the Top Five. Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (176.271) was second, fastest of the Honda-powered entries. Newgarden and Rossi were the only drivers to run laps in excess of 175 MPH in final practice.
Points leader Scott Dixon was third on the speed charts (174.133). Despite three poles at the .875-mile oval, Dixon has yet to reach victory lane in 11 career starts at Iowa.
Completing the Top Five was polesitter and Newgarden’s Team Penske teammate Will Power (173.740). Power, who earned his second pole at the track, also ran the fastest no-tow speed during final practice (172.107 MPH).
The Indianapolis 500 winner was one of only seven drivers to record a no-tow speed during the session and the only one of seven to do so above the 170 MPH mark. He also ran 102 laps, 17 more than any other driver. Dale Coyne Racing rookie Zachary Claman De Melo ran the fewest (35).
Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach (170.990 MPH) was the fastest of the four rookies in this practice. Veach, who will start 14th on Sunday, placed 10th in the running order.
In all, 14 of the 22 drivers set to run Sunday’s race ran a best lap above 170 MPH. 19 of the 22 were separated by one second. The gap between Newgarden and Marco Andretti in 22nd was 1.0312 seconds.
Throughout the sessions, several drivers were testing out multiple groves on the track, setting up for what looks to be a very competitive race on Sunday. With less than 10 minutes remaining, Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud experienced engine issues that cut his track time short.
With practice complete, preparations for the Verizon IndyCar Series teams will now shift to Sunday and the race ahead. The 300-lap event is scheduled for a 2:40 Eastern time green flag on Sunday afternoon. Power and Newgarden will lead the field to the green flag.
Stay tuned to Open-wheels.com and our social media platforms for updates throughout the weekend.
Header image by Chris Jones/INDYCAR.