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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Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew ready for IndyCar ride

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Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew has done nothing but dominate the 2019 season, winning seven of the 16 races run so far and finishing on the podium in all but two of those events.

Now all the 22-year-old Floridian needs to do to formally clinch the 2019 title is simply start the final two races of the season, both of which will be held this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

For Askew, his maiden Indy Lights season will likely be one he’ll never forget. 

“It’s been a dream come true,” Askew told NBC Sports. “Being with the championship-winning team from last year, we had a really good shot at winning it again for Andretti Autosport. It’s very rare that we show up to a track and struggle to find speed. 

“That’s a fantastic feeling, especially as a driver. That gave me a lot of confidence and hopes of holding the million dollar check at the end of the year. That was the goal going into it.”

This weekend, Askew will accomplish said goal. The championship will not only bring him a sense of pride, but also the opportunity of a lifetime. 

As an award for being crowned the Indy Lights champion, Askew will be awarded a scholarship that guarantees him entry into a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series events next year – including the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Time will only tell which team Askew will race for in IndyCar next season, and whether or not Askew’s rookie campaign will be a full-time or part-time affair, but Askew’s performance during the last few seasons in the Road to Indy system has certainly drawn attention of IndyCar’s top team owners.

In August, Askew had the chance to drive an Indy car for the first time in his career during a test session at Portland International Raceway, driving the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda usually piloted by Scott Dixon.

“It was an opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing that I was very fortunate to have,” Askew said. “I think with my experience in the past couple of years with Cape Motorsports and this year with Andretti Autosport, going into that test was very helpful.

“Going into the test, it was more of trying to treat it as just another day at the racetrack, when it really wasn’t. It was a fantastic opportunity for me – a great experience – and I hope I can take that into my rookie season next year in IndyCar.” 

The final two races of the 2019 Indy Lights season will take place this weekend on Saturday, September 21 at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday, September 22 at 12:05 p.m. ET. Both races will air live on NBC Sports Gold.

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