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IndyCar: Newgarden tops first and only practice session at Iowa

The IndyCar doubleheader at Iowa Speedway is underway. With only 90 minutes of practice, this session is very important for the remainder of the weekend.

Josef Newgarden finished the session on top with a speed of 176.428. The Penske driver finished ahead of teammate and bus bro Scott McLaughlin, who noted the second-highest speed of the day. Marcus Ericsson for Chip Ganassi Racing ended the session in third. The team that will scratch their heads after practice is Arrow McLaren SP. While Pato O’Ward’s 5th place is very competitive, his teammates Alex Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist finished the session in 14th and 26th. Championship leader Alex Palou had a fairly anonymous session and ended the session in 15th.

The only IndyCar practice session of the weekend had some minor incidents. Augustin Canapino brought out the first yellow flag of the session when he spun coming out of pit lane. The Argentinian driver was very lucky to avoid a serious accident as his #78 Juncos Hollinger Racing machine crept up the track. Thankfully, quick reactions by Rossi avoided a major crash. As usual at Iowa, several drivers were close to colliding. Especially, the speed differential between drivers doing long runs versus drivers can cause intense moments. Colton Herta and Romain Grosjean were a few of those who got very close.

Herta provided plenty of heart stopping moments in this IndyCar Practice session. The Andretti Driver got close to the wall on multiple occasions. Nevertheless, it seems that the #26 Andretti Autosport machine has the pace to compete this weekend. The second yellow flag of the session was brought out when Santino Ferrucci got very close to the wall. The #14 AJ Foyt Machine got on the marbles and was very fortunate to not end up in the wall. Ultimately, the 25-year-old ended the session in 25th place.

Long Run pace

The key to the races will be tire life. Green Flag pit stops put you 2 laps down, you do not want to fall into the caution trap at this track. Therefore, making sure the tires don’t fall off the cliff is crucial. In today’s practice session, Will Power drove more than 60 laps on a single set of tires. By the end of his stint, his lap times were some 30MPH off the pace, as Sting Ray Robb found out. Narrowly avoiding the Aussie in Turn 1. While it is difficult to tell for 100% it appears Newgarden, O’Ward, Herta, Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay are very strong.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, it will be fascinating to watch how the teams go into qualifying. Following qualifying, the cars will enter parc fermé type conditions. Do you risk one lap pace over long run pace? Despite the importance of long run tire life, you do not want to fall back too far in qualifying. With such a short oval, staying on the lead lap is crucial, and it could be in danger with a bad qualifying performance. Plenty of stuff to think about for the engineers and strategists.

All things considered, we’re in for a magnificent weekend of IndyCar action. The next time we see IndyCar back on track, it will be for qualifying.

Up Next: Saturday, July 22nd, IndyCar Qualifying – 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM ET on Peacock.



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