NEWTON, IA — Will Power topped the speed charts on a steamy afternoon in Central Iowa on Friday afternoon. The Team Penske driver circled the .894-mile Iowa Speedway with a lap of 173.285 mph in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet. Power enters this weekend 35 points behind leader Marcus Ericsson in the NTT INDYCAR Series standings and was runner-up the last time here in 2020.
Power has 4 top sixes in his last six Iowa starts in general. Somehow though, he’s winless in 13 Iowa tries as well. He finished 3rd last August in Gateway too.
“Happy with the test,” Power said on the test translating over to today. Tried a few things. I think we’re in the window. Obviously a lot of good cars and drivers, so you’re never going to predict who is going to be where. I’m hoping to finally have a good qualifying, at least start at the front.
“But, yeah, I feel good about the car.”
Power paced a Chevrolet contingent with Conor Daly (173.239 mph) being P2 in his No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet. Iowa is the site of Daly’s lone INDYCAR pole as the Ed Carpenter Racing driver is confident heading into this weekends doubleheader.
Scott McLaughlin (173.083 mph) was third in his No. 3 Dallas-Chevrolet while Alex Palou (172.764 mph) and Pato O’Ward (172.687 mph) rounded out the top 5 in an incident free session.
Penske/Ganassi Lead Charge
Team Penske has won 4 of the last 6 at Iowa and 7 of the last 10 races on short ovals in general. They put all 3 cars in the top 7 of Friday’s practice.
Chip Ganassi Racing put all 4 of their cars in the top 10 themselves P4-P6-P9-P10.
Ganassi won 2 of the 1st 3 years here but has been 0-for-12 since.
Penske and Ganassi have won both oval races in 2022 including going 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 in Texas.
With how Friday went, Penske is expected to shine Saturday and Sunday.
Power said not so fast.
“Man, I had cars at the test I thought were pretty strong as well. McLaren looked good. When teams have our setup… We know McLaren has got it, because an engineer went there. Andretti has it because Pagenaud brought it over.
“He used to take screen shots of our setup sheets. He has it. And email it to himself.”
They’ve dominated short ovals lately and put 5 cars in the top 7 on Friday.
Watch Out For Daly/O’Ward
ECR has always been good at Iowa. Between Josef Newgarden’s time there and JR Hildebrand too, it’s no shock Conor Daly has hopped in and went P2. Daly was good here with Carlin and looks good with ECR already.
O’Ward has been great in Gateway (3rd, 2nd, 2nd) and was fourth in his first of 2 starts here in 2020.
Another Championship Weekend From Ericsson?
Last weekend was a championship type of weekend out of Marcus Ericsson. Top 5 in both practices, qualified 9th and finished 5th, tops among championship contenders.
Iowa is a quietly solid track for him. His three Iowa finishes are 11th, 9th and 9th respectively. He was 6th on Friday and has 6 straight top 7 finishes on the season too.
“You know what, it’s not so much the lap, the one lap for each race,” Grosjean said of Saturdays schedule. “It’s just that you wake up in the morning, you get breakfast, the next thing you know you’re out for one warmup lap, then quallie lap. You don’t have warmup. I think that’s really something different. I like it. But going into turn one, first thing in the morning, as fast as you can get…”
WILL POWER: That’s a tough one. I was thinking about the same thing. I’m like, Man, how do you get out of bed then try to go as fast as you can around Iowa for two laps?”