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IndyCar: Newgarden maintains his need for speed in second practice at Iowa

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Josef Newgarden continues to have a hot hand – and right foot.

The defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion won two weeks ago at Road America, was second in Saturday’s first practice in the morning at Iowa Speedway, qualified No. 2 for Sunday’s Iowa Corn 300 and was No. 1 in Saturday’s final practice session.

Newgarden had a top speed in Saturday afternoon’s session at 176.772 mph. Alexander Rossi was second-fastest (176.271), followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay (174.643), Scott Dixon (174.133) and Sunday’s pole sitter Will Power (173.740).

 

 

Sixth through 10th-fastest were Ed Jones (173.364), Simon Pagenaud (172.950 – more about him in a second), Takuma Sato (172.825), Tony Kanaan (171.681) and Zach Veach (170.990).

The 45-minute on-track practice session (plus a 15-minute pit stop practice) had two yellow flag periods.

The first came due to debris on pit road with just over 28 minutes to go.

Then, with just over eight minutes to go, the motor on Simon Pagenaud’s Team Penske Chevrolet let go.

Simon Pagenaud suffered an engine failure while running with James Hinchcliffe during practice at Iowa Speedway. photo: IndyCar

“It was a big puff of white smoke, so we probably lost an engine,” Pagenaud told the INDYCAR Radio Network.

But Pagenaud remained unfazed by the issue, saying his team can come back as strong, if not stronger, during Sunday’s race.

“No question, we’ll be in good shape tomorrow with Chevy to turn the situation around,” Pagenaud said. “I think we have a top-5 car and anything can happen here. We’re hoping for a good result.”

 

 

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Bob Fernley announced as president of McLaren IndyCar

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Bob Fernley will bring his experience as former deputy team principal at Force India F1 to McLaren Racing’s IndyCar effort in 2019.

Fernley will report directly to McLaren Racing’s CEO Zak Brown.

“Heading back to the Brickyard will be a very special experience for me,” Fernley said at IndyCar.com. “I am proud to be leading this McLaren project and team. The 500 is a hell of a challenge and we have incredibly strong competitors to overcome if we’re to be successful. We will need to prepare well for the month of May and that work starts now.”

Fernley’s appointing come of the heels of last week’s announcement that McLaren will create a brand new team to compete in the 2019 Indy 500.

MORE: Fernando Alonso to return to Indy 500 in 2019

For now, Fernley’s responsibility is to create an entry that is capable of allowing two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso to win the Indy 500 in just his second start. But speculation has been widespread that the entry will be a jumping off point for a much broader involvement in IndyCar.

In 2017, Alonso qualified on the middle of row two (fifth), led 27 laps and succumbed to mechanical failure. His effort was impressive enough to be name Rookie of the Year for the Indy 500.

“Bob is a fantastic operator and someone I respect greatly,” Brown said. “His experience and leadership will be essential for us on this project. He is particularly talented at putting effective teams together and extracting maximum performance with finite resources. The Indy 500 is no easy race and Bob’s is a key role, so I’m delighted he’s on board.”