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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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Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.