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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Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.