(NEWTON, IA) – Josef Newgarden put on one of the most dominant clinics in Indy car history, leading a record 282 laps Sunday to win the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. The victory was the third of Newgarden’s six-year Verizon IndyCar Series career and first on an oval track.
It also vaulted the Ed Carpenter Racing driver three spots into second place in the point standings after 10 of 16 completed races.
Starting the 300-lap race second in the No. 21 Chevrolet, Newgarden bolted past pole sitter Simon Pagenaud on the opening lap and never looked back. The only time the 25 year-old surrendered the lead came when he made pit stops for fuel and tires.
His 282 laps led are the most ever by a driver in an Indy car race, surpassing the 250 by Ryan Hunter-Reay when he led every lap to win at Milwaukee in 2004.
“It was a lot of fun, mainly because the car was so good,” said Newgarden, who finished second to Hunter-Reay in each of the past two Iowa races. “It would go anywhere, it wasn’t really falling off much. It was fun. In some stints it seemed like a video game. You put on new tires, you catch people at the right point and you could just slice and dice.”
Newgarden sustained a fractured right clavicle and fractured bone in his right hand in a crash during the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway that was suspended by rain June 12 after 71 laps.
Still recovering, Newgarden finished eighth at Road America two weeks ago before driving to victory lane Sunday. He trails Team Penske’s Pagenaud, who finished the race in fourth, by 73 points in the championship.
Will Power finished in second place, 4.2828 seconds behind Newgarden. Driving the No. 12 Chevrolet, Power passed Pagenaud and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon in the final seven laps to collect his third podium finish in as many races, on the heels of his back-to-back wins at Detroit’s Belle Isle-2 and Road America.
“It was good,” said Power, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion who sits third in this year’s championship, 75 points behind Pagenaud. “It took us all day to get to the front, basically. We kind of went really long on the first stint, lost quite a lot of positions there, then slowly made our way back. We needed long stints to get back to the front because our car was really good over a long distance. I’m not sure we would have had anything for Newgarden. He was on his own on another planet. Really happy with second, though. Really, really happy.”
Dixon finished third in the No. 9 Chevrolet for his 88th career podium finish, moving the four-time series champion into a tie for sixth on the all-time podiums list with Helio Castroneves, Bobby Rahal, and Al Unser Jr.
The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to action July 15-17 for the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto’s Exhibition Place.