Newgarden second again in Iowa, now highest lap leader this year (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

The good news for Josef Newgarden and CFH Racing for the second straight short oval race in the Verizon IndyCar Series is that they could afford to be disappointed with a top-five finish.

Last week in Milwaukee it was a hard-luck fifth after starting from pole. Tonight at the Iowa Speedway, it was second after starting from seventh.

He’s also moved to the head of the field in an interesting statistic: laps led.

After leading a career-high 109 laps last week, he went two better with 111 tonight in Iowa.

Those two combined totals of 220 laps in two weeks, coupled with the 76 combined from his first two career wins at Barber and Toronto, have given the driver of the No. 67 Wichita State CFH Racing Chevrolet a total of 296 led this year.

It leads the field, with Will Power (270 laps) and Scott Dixon (250 laps) second and third.

Naturally, then, this serves as a transition to say that Newgarden was frustrated to come up second to Ryan Hunter-Reay in Iowa for the second straight year.

But it occurred in a different type of way. Like Hunter-Reay, the pair took new tires last year and were practically shot out of a cannon to propel their way to the front last year.

This year, the two Americans dominated the race, and Newgarden’s car was better in dirty air than it was one week ago. Unfortunately when compared with Hunter-Reay’s car head-to-head, Newgarden felt his car wasn’t a match.

“It was tough. In a shootout, if we were behind, we didn’t have quite the speed,” Newgarden told NBCSN’s Katie Hargitt post-race. “But we had a great racecar.

“You can’t beat riding around in an IndyCar. I’m really sad we lost that thing to be honest. In a shootout scenario, we didn’t have what we needed to win.”

Newgarden moves up to eighth in points and heads next to Mid-Ohio, a track where he was on course for his first career win before a brutal final pit stop knocked him out of the top 10.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).