Josef Newgarden dominates Iowa 300 en route to fourth victory of the season

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The Iowa 300 may have started late Saturday night, but the race didn’t end until early Sunday morning, and when the checkered flag finally flew, Josef Newgarden had easily claimed the victory.

Newgarden absolutely dominated the 300-lap event, which was delayed for several hours due to strong rains earlier in the evening, by leading 245 laps en route to his fourth victory of the season. The win is also Newgarden’s second career victory at the 0.894-mile bullring.

“This is great to be back in victory lane,” Newgarden told NBC Sports. “Chevy brought it tonight. They had all the horsepower in the world.

“This is a team effort. All three cars were fast tonight, and that’s what it takes. You got to have all three of us pushing each other. I was a little down yesterday. I felt like we had the pole car, and we just didn’t get it right. Today we got it right. I was so focused last night to make sure we got today right.”

With his victory, Newgarden was also able to extend his lead in the points standings over Alexander Rossi. Newgarden now leads Rossi by 29 points.

Scott Dixon finished the race in the second position the fifth time this season, but the podium finish might as well have been a win to Dixon, as the Kiwi driver was a lap down in 16th place earlier in the race.

“Holy smokes! Second? I thought I would have been 22nd,” Dixon said. “Huge credit to the team. They definitely pulled one out there. We stayed [out] long on that long run there before that last stop, caught the yellow and it kind of put us in the prime position.

“A ton of people [were] on used tires. We got new tires and we were able to march to the front. We couldn’t quite get to Josef, but man, I can’t say anything else.”

2018 Iowa race winner James Hinchcliffe finished the race in the third position, while Simon Pagenaud and Spencer Pigot rounded out the top five.

Rossi and Zach Veach were the last two drivers on the lead lap, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.

Graham Rahal, Sebastian Bourdais and Tony Kannan rounded out the top 10.

The NTT IndyCar Series now heads east to Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course for the Honda Indy 200 on July 28. Live race coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Click here for full race results

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Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

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Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”