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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F1 aggressive on COVID-19 testing, social distancing enforcement

F1 COVID-19 testing
Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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With big hugs and wide smiles, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown exuberantly celebrated the first podium finish of Lando Norris’ Formula One career. His exuberance earned a warning from Formula One and FIA officials during the era of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and subsequent F1 testing.

“Obviously I got excited with Lando on the podium and embraced him after the race,” Brown said with a laugh during a news conference Friday. “You get caught up in the emotion and excitement of the event, but it was suggested maybe I don’t do that again if we get a podium anytime soon.”

MASK WARNING: NASCAR tells teams to avoid ‘complacency’

Now in its second race weekend of 2020, F1 has taken an aggressive approach to maintain a paddock free of COVID-19. Before teams hit the track last week for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, F1 and FIA officials said more than 4,000 tests were conducted over a week with no positive tests.

In order to enter the track, any F1 personnel (which includes drivers and team members) must have a negative COVID-19 test. Private testing was used ahead of those traveling to Austria. After entering the track, personnel are tested every five days with private medical teams at events along with extra screening.

The results of F1 COVID-19 testing also will be made public every seven days. More than 8,000 tests were conducted through Saturday.

It’s a much different tack from NASCAR and IndyCar, neither of which is conducting COVID-19 testing (and with NASCAR recently distributing that warned teams of “complacency with protocols).

Though Brown, who also oversees Arrow McLaren SP Motorsports in IndyCar, demurred when asked whether the U.S.-based series should be taking a cue, he praised F1 COVID-19 testing for being a best-in-class example.

“I don’t know exactly what every other racing series is doing, so it would be difficult for me to say they’re doing it right or wrong,” Brown said from Austria. “All I can really do is speak to what Formula One is doing, and they’re doing an unbelievable job with 5,000 tests, and people flying in from different parts of the world. The minute that someone — and there’s not been many instances – has taken a mask off, you’re getting a letter or a phone call saying put your mask back on.

“I think all sports should be looking at all sports and seeing who’s doing what and what are our best practices, but I’ve got nothing but great things to say about how the FIA and Formula One and the countries they’re racing in are executing because it feels extremely safe here.”

Brown said it’s unlikely the European-based circuit will do F1 COVID-19 testing at races in the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Canada because the events likely will be scrubbed. Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, was scheduled to play host to F1 on the Oct. 23-25 race weekend but just canceled its MotoGP race.

“We’d very much like to race at all those circuits,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, my opinion is it’s probably unlikely we’ll race at any of those venues this year. That’s obviously due to the COVID situation. … Let’s see what happens, but certainly it seems like the spikes in Texas are pretty severe and Brazil and Mexico and Canada a little less so. But if we miss them this year, we certainly look forward to going back to those venues next year.”