Josef Newgarden took his fourth win of the 2022 IndyCar season on Saturday as he dominated the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 at Iowa Speedway.
RealSport101's Harry Smith is on hand to run you through all of Saturday's Iowa Speedway action.
IndyCar Hy-VeeDeals.com 250: Race Report
Polesitter Will Power got away well at the green flag, defending from Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden before a Jimmie Johnson spin brought out the first caution of the race.
The oval expert recovered well on an alternate strategy though, jumping into the top six after the second round of stops. Meanwhile, championship leader Marcus Ericsson was scything through the field after starting in P12.
There was a disaster for Colton Herta at the third caution after a clutch issue saw the Andretti Autosport driver struggle to get out of pit road. The American was running with the frontrunners ahead of his stop but returned to the track six laps down from the leaders.
The race restarted on Lap 124 and championship leader Marcus Ericsson made haste, darting up the inside of Pato O'Ward to snatch P2. The Mexican lost more ground over the next couple of laps, losing out to Power.
Debris quickly brought the caution back out and there was drama at the restart as Marcus Ericsson launched a charge for the lead, moving to the outside of Newgarden as the front two nearly came together.
Newgarden defended robustly and Indy500 winner with Ericsson falling back into the clutches of polesitter Power. The next challenge for the lead came on Lap 161 as Power closed to within two-tenths of his teammate.
Disaster nearly struck for championship leader Ericsson. The Swede got boxed in behind Simon Pagenaud while defending P4 from Scott McLaughlin and was forced to slam on the brakes to avoid contact with the barriers. Ericsson avoided the wall, but that brush set him back to P9.
The IndyCar safety team were forced into action soon after as Ed Carpenter slammed into the wall, bringing out the caution. The race leaders all came into pit road for their final stops with Newgarden retaining the lead on pit exit.
McLaughlin made it just metres before slowing after the restart as a missing wheel nut saw his race undone from P4. Alex Palou was then released to fight the top two after cruising past O'Ward, sparking a three-way fight for the race lead.
Lapped traffic began to factor in heading into the final 50 laps as Pato O'Ward snuck past Will Power and began to hunt down Newgarden at the front of the pack, but there was nothing the Mexican could do as lapped cars routinely stunted his momentum.
Newgarden took the chequered flag to take his fourth win of the season and his fourth at the Iowa Speedway with an incredible, composed drive.
RealSport101's Harry Smith spoke to race winner Josef Newgarden after the race. Here is what the Team Penske driver had to say about his afternoon.
HS: "You sounded a little nervous over the radio when Pato [O'Ward] was closing up towards you at the end of the race. Did you think you had the tyres to hold on through the lapped traffic?"
JN: "Yeah, I was nervous with Pato there. I noticed him coming up (and) I thought I had a good gap on him and everybody with about 30, 35 [laps] to go, and then I just noticed this McLaren coming on very strong in my mirrors.
"And he just snuck up on me at that point so that's why I radioed in and was like 'Is he on our strategy, is he on the same tyres?
"He looked like he was on fresher tyres when I was seeing him in the mirrors, so I was concerned at that point and then I just tried to pick up my pace [and] make sure I could get through traffic a little bit quicker. Then we were, fortunately, able to run away from him.
"I don't know if we can continue to do that tomorrow. He looked pretty good to me, so we've just gotta look at it tonight and see what we can improve on, see what the weather conditions do for us and just try and make this a little better."
HS: "You made up a lot of points on Ericsson in the championship battle today and obviously you’ve got the pace to be competitive again tomorrow.
Is risk management a thing on your mind for the championship, or is it too early to start thinking about consolidating points?"
JN: "I approach every race the same. Look, if there's an opportunity to win, we're going for the win. We're just trying to maximise our capabilities every weekend.
"When you're doing that you're not aiming to make a mistake or put the car in a compromising position, so it's the same every day.
"If we have an opportunity with a winning car to win the race, we're gonna go for that. If it's not there then we don't need to be forcing that".