Pato O’Ward wins at Iowa Speedway after Josef Newgarden crashes while leading

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NEWTON, Iowa — Pato O’Ward pounced on Josef Newgarden’s misfortune Sunday to win the second race of the Iowa Speedway doubleheader, and Jimmie Johnson had the first top-five finish of his IndyCar career.

Newgarden dominated and led 148 of the 300 laps while trying to sweep the weekend. But something on the Team Penske’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet broke with 64 laps remaining, and he spun hard into the outside wall.

Newgarden was visibly rattled after his mandatory check in the infield care center. He later fell after the race ended and was airlifted to Mercy One Des Moines Medical Center for further evaluation of a possible head injury.

O’Ward actually made the pass for the win on pit road with a speedy stop by his Arrow McLaren SP team and held off Penske teammates Will Power and Scott McLaughlin for the win. It’s the second win of the season for the Mexican driver, who finished second on Saturday and remains firmly in the IndyCar title race with five races remaining.

O’Ward’s win also halted Team Penske’s dominance on the 0.894-mile oval, where Roger Penske’s drivers had won six of the last seven races prior to Sunday.

Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing finished fourth and was followed by teammate Johnson, who raced hard with Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson to earn his best finish through two seasons of IndyCar racing. Ericsson is also a Ganassi driver and Newgarden’s crash helped the Swede retain the lead in the IndyCar standings – making Johnson’s aggressive racing a bit nerve-racking for the Ganassi camp.

It was another podium sweep for Chevrolet, who did it on Saturday with Newgarden, O’Ward and Power.

Newgarden was scored as the points leader at the time of his crash and dropped to fourth in the standings following his crash.


RAHAL RETURNS: Team owner Bobby Rahal had been noticeably absent from the track for nearly two months and confirmed Sunday that the 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner underwent a triple bypass.

Rahal told The Associated Press he went for a routine annual physical on May 5 and doctors discovered he’d unknowingly suffered a heart attack – maybe two – and found 100% blockage in his left anterior descending artery.

Rahal assumed surgery would be immediate but it actually didn’t happen until June 6. He appeared slimmed down ahead of Sunday’s race, only the second IndyCar race the owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan has attended since that May physical.

“Surprised he leaked the news, but nonetheless it’s been an intense couple months for our family,” son Graham Rahal wrote on Twitter. “We’re ultra lucky to still have dad with us, very lucky, but now he’s good for another 100k miles we think! Many had asked where he’s been, now you have your answer.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.