TRACK: Iowa Speedway (.875- mile, D shaped oval) DISTANCE: 250 Laps (218.75 Miles)
No brainer here. Newgarden has led at least 200 laps in three of the last four years including a dominant performance of leading 245 of 300 laps last year. He has four top twos in his last six starts there.
He’s never won at Iowa before (0-for-13) and has only led three laps since 2015, but you just can’t leave him out. Dixon, won on an oval last month in Texas and has two podiums in his last four Texas tries including a runner up just last season.
He’s finished 19th and 17th respectively on bus last two Iowa starts, but was on the podium in five of the previous six years including three of those being wins.
Worth a risk here. Rahal, has three straight top eight finishes and seven top 10s in his last eight Iowa starts.
While he has just one top 10 in his last four Iowa starts, he was third in the last short oval last year in Gateway and had a span of four straight top eights prior to his recent string.
He finished 10th last year and has three top 10s in his last four Iowa starts. Kanaan, also has a streak of five straight podiums from 2010-2014.
He has three top 10s in four tries but none of them have been in the top five.
He has three top six finishes in his last four tries, but Power just can’t find the setup to win. He’s 0-for-11 at Iowa with only one podium.
Pagenaud has six top eight finishes in eight tries but none of them have seen him even finish on the podium.
We go from the longest track on the INDYCAR schedule to the shortest. Both are also two of the more physical tracks on the schedule too. So, as we head to Iowa, we would have raced five times in a span of 15 days.
How much will fatigue factor into this? With so much attrition, there’s going to be some tired bodies at the 7/8-mile Bullring. That’s when rare mistakes happen, which with two races in as many days and how tight the series standings always are, could really put some drivers behind the eight ball heading into August.
With that said, I still think that Iowa is going to be a place to where it’s Josef Newgarden’s race (s) to lose. He’s led at least 100 laps in four of his last five starts including three of his last four leading 229+. In four of his last six Iowa tries, he’s either finished first or second.
So, this could be a point to where he further moves ahead and potentially make him another step closer to his second straight Indy Car title and third in the last four years.
Another thing to watch is this — Scott Dixon has never won at Iowa before. He’s 0-for-13. He did finish runner-up a year ago to Newgarden, but that was all luck. He’s led three laps there since 2015 and is just trying to get out of Iowa with two solid nights.
In the 13 year history of the race, no pole winner has ever reached victory lane. We’ve had three of the last four drivers win from a top three starting spot, but none from the pole.
“We want to keep doing what we’re doing,” says Scott Dixon. “You really need to stay focused and maximize these opportunities. Winning the first four races (as a team) was nice, but now our focus turns to winning this weekend at Iowa. You need to be prepared, unload fast and work quick because everything is happening so quickly with two races in two days. There is no room for mistakes. We were able to get the results in last week’s doubleheader, but that was last week, and Iowa presents a new challenge. I know the PNC Bank No. 9 team will be up for it.”