By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
A feelgood moment for both Conor Daly and Carlin as they’ll lead the field to the green flag for the first time ever in the NTT IndyCar Series after setting a blistering opening lap speed of 175.188 mph, beating outside pole sitter Josef Newgarden’s speed of 175.107 mph.
Several tried, but nobody could dethrone Daly and as soon the last driver to qualify (Scott Dixon) couldn’t pull it off, nervousness quickly turned into jubilation as the NTT P1 Pole Award for tonight’s Iowa INDYCAR 250 at Iowa Speedway was theirs.
“This is awesome. So thankful to have a bit of a comeback to be driving this car. I’m so thankful to be here,” Daly on scoring his maiden INDYCAR pole. “I’ve hated this place the last few years and now we’re on the pole, so this is hilarious. We got one more mission left tonight and that’s the race. Hopefully, we can execute.”
In 54 previous starts, Daly had started no better than seventh at Toronto in 2016. With a pole and a third-place start for Saturday’s race, the main focus shifts to the 250-lap race as he believes his No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet can be competitive for a maiden victory.
“In practice, we were happy the whole time kind of working through things. I think on the long run, we’ll be okay but we got clean air right now. This is wild,” said Daly. “I’ve started pretty much on the last row here every single time I’ve raced here, so quite a difference. I’m very excited about this. Mission one is accomplished, and we got to get down to the race tonight.”
Although Newgarden couldn’t top Daly on Lap 1, his second lap speed of 175.333 mph was strong enough to be the fastest overall and will lead the 23-car grid to the green for tomorrow’s race at the 7/8 mile oval.
“I don’t think starting on the pole is going to change things too much. We’ve normally been close to the front row in qualifying here. You want to take your time at the beginning of this race,” said Newgarden.
“Your race car is really be the thing that matters at the end of the day. So, it’s not how you start. It’s how you finish. But I feel confident that our Hitachi Chevrolet car is good off the truck and feels good behind other cars in dirty, which is critical. So, I think we’re going to be able to make something happen.”
This is the third time this season the reigning series champion has scored an NTT P1 Pole Award. For now, the mind is on defending his Iowa victory after leading 245 laps and eager to get himself back into the championship fight with a victory.
Will Power qualified third fastest for tonight’s race and will start alongside his Team Penske teammate Newgarden on Saturday.
Power felt good about his qualifying run, but curious to see how his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet fares on race trim. That’s due in large part of only having an hour of practice earlier today and had little to say about the matter.
“It’s a very short practice, so not much time to change stuff. It’s a bit of taking a swing at it,” said Power.
Once again, Simon Pagenaud will have a lot of work to do when the race begins. Not just for tonight, but for both Iowa races as fuel pressure denied him a shot to qualify as the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet had to be pulled out of the qualifying lane. Consequently, Pagneuad ended up the only driver without a qualifying time and will roll off 23rd.
Live coverage of the first Iowa INDYCAR 250 begins at 8:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN. The race consists of 250 laps. NBCSN’s coverage for Saturday’s race will also be at 8:30 p.m. EST.
2020 Iowa INDYCAR 250 Race No. 1 Starting Lineup
- (59) Conor Daly, 175.188 mph
- (2) Josef Newgarden, 175.107 mph
- (12) Will Power, 174.807 mph
- (88) Colton Herta, 174.799 mph
- (27) Alexander Rossi, 172.263 mph
- (30) Takuma Sato, 172.130 mph
- (10) Felix Rosenqist, 172.063 mph
- (5) Pato O’Ward, 171.617 mph
- (60) Jack Harvey, 171.611 mph
- (8) Marcus Ericsson, 171.496 mph
- (18) Santino Ferrucci, 171.340 mph
- (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, 171.278 mph
- (21) Rinus VeeKay, 171.005 mph
- (7) Oliver Askew, 171.879 mph
- (4) Charlie Kimball, 170.879 mph
- (20) Ed Carpenter, 170.661 mph
- (9) Scott Dixon, 170.619 mph
- (55) Alex Palou, 170.495 mph
- (14) Tony Kanaan, 170.482 mph
- (98) Marco Andretti, 169.433 mph
- (15) Graham Rahal, 168.407 mph
- (26) Zach Veach, 165.453 mph
- (22) Simon Pagenaud, No Speed
2020 Iowa INDYCAR 250 Race No. 2 Starting Lineup
- (1) Josef Newgarden, 175.333 mph
- (12) Will Power, 175.024 mph
- (59) Conor Daly, 174.960 mph
- (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, 174.245 mph
- (88) Colton Herta, 173.437 mph
- (60) Jack Harvey, 172.523 mph
- (55) Alex Palou, 172.382 mph
- (14) Tony Kanaan, 171.834 mph
- (8) Marcus Ericsson, 171.653 mph
- (10) Felix Rosenqvist, 171.366 mph
- (4) Charlie Kimball, 171.294 mph
- (5) Pato O’Ward, 171.099 mph
- (7) Oliver Askew, 170.970 mph
- (20) Ed Carpenter, 170.797 mph
- (21) Rinus VeeKay, 170.574 mph
- (18) Santino Ferrucci, 170.450 mph
- (98) Marco Andretti, 170.313 mph
- (9) Scott Dixon, 169.531 mph
- (15) Graham Rahal, 169.268 mph
- (30) Takuma Sato, 169.174 mph
- (27) Alexander Rossi, 168.639 mph
- (26) Zach Veach, 161.334 mph
- (22) Simon Pagenaud, No Speed