Josef Newgarden and Patricio O’Ward claimed victories at Iowa Speedway this past weekend, in a jam-packed doubleheader event presented by HyVee Grocery Stores. Featuring concerts from the likes of Blake Shelton and Gwen Stafani, fantastic on-track racing, and innovative attractions from HyVee themselves, there weren’t just 2 action packed races on Saturday and Sunday- it was a legitimate event. So often it feels, in NASCAR and IndyCar, that the races that aren’t in big markets or are key for the season itself are bland and boring, with no appeal for a casual fan to watch or attend. This weekend, however, was a huge event and a massive success for HyVee and IndyCar.
Josef Newgarden dominated the first race on Saturday en route to victory lane, leading 208 of 250 total laps in the race. It was his fourth win of the season, the most in the series as nobody else has more than two. Pato O’Ward finished second, with Will Power in third and Rinus VeeKay and Scott Dixon rounding out the top five, respectively. The win is Newgarden’s 24th of his stellar career, and the seventh of the season for Team Penske.
Arrow McLaren driver Pato O’Ward won the second of two races on the weekend at Iowa Speedway on Sunday after race leader Josef Newgarden crashed out on lap 235 of the 300 lap contest. Newgarden, after being cleared by the medical team at the track post wreck, fainted in the paddock and suffered a head injury, leading him to be airlifted from the track to the nearest hospital. He was later revealed to be fine, staying at the hospital overnight as a precaution. Should he not be healthy enough to race in Saturday’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Santino Ferrucci has been tabbed by Team Penske to fill in for Newgarden.
O’Ward led the last 66 laps to win Sunday’s race, his second victory of the year, with Will Power taking second and Scott McLaughlin finishing third. Scott Dixon placed fourth, and Jimmie Johnson captured his first top five in IndyCar with a fifth place finish.
Following the weekend’s racing, Marcus Ericsson still leads the points standings. However, the gap has closed, and with 403 points he’s only 8 points ahead of second place driver Will Power. Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon are tied for third, 34 points out of the lead. With his win, O’Ward sits in fifth place in the IndyCar championship, only 2 points behind third and 36 points behind Ericsson in the lead.
Only 5 races remain in the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship, and with a tight points battle for the lead, every race matters. The next event is this Saturday, July 30th, at 12 PM EST on NBC in the Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a doubleheader event with the NASCAR Xfinity Series (3:30 EST, NBC).