The Iowa Speedway will be twice as nice this weekend as the NTT INDYCAR Series gladiators will be tested both mentally and physically under the heat of the Central Iowa sun this weekend. They’ll have 2 races in a span of 24 hours on a .894-mile bullring which will put these drivers’ stamina to the max because neither will take place under the lights in Newton and both being in conditions with temps in the low to mid 90s each day.
The question now is, can any one of them stop Team Penske in either day though? Penske saw their 3 race win streak on the season come to an end last Sunday afternoon in Toronto but they’re more than primed to pick back up this Saturday afternoon. One reason as to why is that they’ve won 4 of the last 6 races in Iowa and 7 of the last 10 short oval races in general at that.
Josef Newgarden led 111 or more laps in 5 of his last 7 Iowa starts including three wins, a pair of runner-ups, a fourth, fifth and sixth place result in the last eight tries. He’s won 2 of the last 3 here as well as having scored 3 wins in the last 4 short oval races in general.
Scott McLaughlin is a rookie but was 4th at Gateway last summer with Will Power being runner-up the last time out and has 4 top sixes in his last six Iowa starts. Somehow though, he’s winless in 13 Iowa tries as well but he did finish 3rd last August in Gateway too.
This could be their race to lose. Ganassi won 2 of the 1st 3 years but 0-for-12 since. Andretti won 7 of the 1st 9 races but 0-for-6 since.
Scott Dixon is looking like he’s going to be a factor in this championship after all after scoring his 1st victory in over a year last Sunday in Toronto. He’s not 44 points out and in a tie with Josef Newgarden for 4th in the points standings with 7 races remaining. 3 of his 6 championships have seen him come from behind at this time to win.
However, Dixon is winless (0-for-15) at Iowa and has no top fives in any of his last 5 Indy road course starts. It’s all about maintaining. He does have a pair of runner-up finishes in his last three tries at Iowa and fifth place in the other.
Ericsson’s three Iowa finishes are 11th, 9th and 9th respectively. He has 6 straight top 7 finishes on the season and 17 top 10’s in his last 20 starts if you date back to last year.
Alex Palou has and Pato O’Ward each only have 1 podium in their last 6 starts on the year with Palou not too confident at Iowa already. O’Ward though is. These are arguably his best tracks as his AMSP No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet could be in the hunt to end that string this weekend.