NEWTON, IA — Will Power had a perfect weekend going when he strapped into his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet for Saturday’s HyveeDeals.com 250. He was fastest in practice on Friday and had scored the pole for not only today’s 250 lap NTT INDYCAR Series race around the Iowa Speedway oval, but for Sunday’s 300 lap event as well.
Could he close it out with a trip to victory lane on a steamy summer afternoon in Central Iowa?
Power led the first 22 laps before 2nd place starter and teammate Josef Newgarden passed him on the 1st restart of the day on Lap 23. Newgarden would lead the next 36 laps before hitting pit lane on Lap 60. Power led that lap when he did so. The Aussie would pit a lap later.
He’d never lead again.
Power was between 3rd and 4th from that point forward before cycling back to 2nd when he came off pit road behind Newgarden after the final stop on Lap 167. Newgarden got a great launch and set his sails to his 24th career victory, 4 of which coming on these grounds. He led by .2308-seconds on Lap 181. The lead grew to .3606-seconds on Lap 190. By Lap 200, it was up to .5606-seconds. Power lost the 2nd spot to Pato O’Ward with less than 30 to go.
His tires were falling off hard. In the end, Power crossed the finish line 20.2822-seconds behind Newgarden for just his 3rd podium on the .894-mile short track. That’s bizarre in a sense that Power has 7 front row starting spots here. He’s only had 3 podiums in those starts. 1 was a runner-up last time out in Race 2 in 2020. A 2nd is now as he was also 3rd in Gateway last August.
He’s been closer but still sits 0-for-14 in his career at Iowa.
“It was a good battle,” Power said. “Last restart is what hurt me the most, trying to keep guys behind. Had a couple of big yaw moments on the rear tire early. Pounded on that rear too much to stay ahead. Then went loose, really loose. I had some big saves.
“I was happy to end up third actually. I was thinking we might fall back a bit further. Some good lessons in there for tomorrow. But it is difficult when you get attacked. You can’t do much. You want to be the leader because you’re in clean air, so much easier to conserve your tires up there.
“Yeah, kind of a second-gear restart, that was a mistake. That’s what Josef got me. I should have been smarter on that.”
Just 1 time in the 16 races at the Iowa Speedway now has the pole winner gone on to win the race in the end. Power has won 18 times from the pole in his career but is 0-for-5 at Iowa though. Just 1 time in the last 12 races in NTT INDYCAR Series competition has a pole winner won as well.
That doesn’t bode well for Power to be starting from the pole again on Sunday.
Still, it was a good points day for him in going from 35 points down to 22. This was his 8th top 4 result, 5 of those podiums, in 11 races run this season.
“No,” Power said on if he’s disappointed to now win despite starting on the pole. “You never look back on a day when finishing third is a bad thing. There’s a few things I could have done a little better, been a bit more aggressive with the tools in the car to make sure the rear wouldn’t go off.
“I felt like we had a strong car. I was a bit conservative at the start, not attacking as much as Josef was. Then when we had the restart and I was starting to attack Josef, that’s when I started to be a bit more aggressive and felt a bit stronger.
“Yeah, good day. Third’s good points every time.”