(Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.)

Josef Newgarden Paces Opening IndyCar Practice in Iowa

By Aaron Bearden, Open Wheel Editor

NEWTON, Iowa — Josef Newgarden entered this weekend’s trip to Iowa finish with a win and an average finish of 2.75 in his last four Iowa Speedway starts.

If Saturday’s opening practice is any indication, the defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion is in a good position to keep that streak of success going.

Newgarden laid down a 17.519-second circuit that averaged 183.711 mph to lead Saturday’s opening practice for the Iowa Corn 300. The Tennessean is searching for his second-straight victory after ending a streak of mediocrity with a win at Road America in June. He has one career win at Iowa, coming in his 2016 return from injury.

Team Penske teammate Will Power followed Newgarden in second with a time of 17.545 seconds. A pair of Andretti Autosport Hondas followed in third and fourth, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (17.568) and Alexander Rossi (17.662) claiming the positions. Zach Veach completed the top five, with Spencer Pigot, James Hinchcliffe, Simon Pagenaud, Marco Andretti and Ed Jones rounding out the top 10.

Of the 22 cars that made laps during the session, 17 completed 40 or more laps around the 7/8-mile Iowa oval. Jones completed a session-high 64 circuits, with Max Chilton (62) and Graham Rahal (60) also opting to complete 60 or more laps during the hour session.

The morning proved to be a challenge for both a rookie and veteran of the IndyCar tour. Matheus Leist’s session came to an end after just 15 laps when he lost control of his No. 4 Chevrolet, spinning into the Turn 2 wall and causing extensive damage.

Hinchcliffe committed a surprising error in the closing moments, spinning at the exit of Turn 2 from the apron after leaving the pit area with five minutes left in the session. The veteran continued on to pit road without issue, and the practice was able to be restarted with a few minutes remaining.

The IndyCar paddock will return for qualifying at 3:30 p.m. ET

Verizon IndyCar Series Practice 1 Results

Pos. No. Name Time Diff. Laps Engine Team
1 1 Josef Newgarden 17.519 –.—- 45 Chevy Team Penske
2 12 Will Power 17.545 0.0259 54 Chevy Team Penske
3 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 17.568 0.0493 37 Honda Andretti Autosport
4 27 Alexander Rossi 17.662 0.1431 36 Honda Andretti Autosport
5 26 Zach Veach 17.689 0.1707 45 Honda Andretti Autosport
6 21 Spencer Pigot 17.773 0.2543 40 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
7 5 James Hinchcliffe 17.777 0.2587 50 Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
8 22 Simon Pagenaud 17.777 0.2587 57 Chevy Team Penske
9 98 Marco Andretti 17.786 0.2676 25 Honda Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian
10 10 Ed Jones 17.808 0.2894 64 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
11 9 Scott Dixon 17.834 0.3157 50 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
12 15 Graham Rahal 17.896 0.3777 60 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
13 6 Robert Wickens 17.897 0.3778 52 Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
14 20 Ed Carpenter 17.901 0.3822 47 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
15 88 Gabby Chaves 17.926 0.4076 45 Chevy Harding Racing
16 30 Takuma Sato 17.983 0.4637 58 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
17 19 Zachary Claman De Melo 18.06 0.5408 42 Honda Dale Coyne Racing
18 14 Tony Kanaan 18.087 0.5683 36 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
19 18 Sebastien Bourdais 18.115 0.5964 57 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan
20 23 Charlie Kimball 18.342 0.8231 56 Chevy Carlin
21 59 Max Chilton 18.359 0.8398 62 Chevy Carlin
22 4 Matheus Leist 18.69 1.1713 15 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises

 

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Aaron Bearden is a Contributing Writer for Motorsports Tribune, handling coverage of both the Verizon IndyCar Series and ABB FIA Formula E Championship. A native Hoosier, Bearden has attended races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since he was three years old. He can be found on social media at @AaronBearden93.