Chevrolet Seeks Quick Start, Fast Finish at Iowa Speedway
· Team Chevy drivers enter Iowa Corn 300 with high expectations
ᴏ Chevrolet has won two of the three races on ovals this season
· Josef Newgarden dominated the 2016 race on the .894-mile bullring
ᴏ Team Penske driver has finished on podium each of past three years
· Three Chevy drivers are among the top five in points with seven races left
ᴏ Teammates Power, Simon Pagenaud, and Newgarden have wins
· Pagenaud is among the ESPY Award nominees for Best Driver
DETROIT (July 5, 2017) – Racing inches apart at 175 mph with barely a moment to relax the grip on the steering wheel each of the 300 laps on a variably-banked, .894-mile oval is among Josef Newgarden’s passions.
The Team Penske Verizon IndyCar Series driver is adroit at Iowa Speedway, too.
Newgarden had the field covered in the 2016 race, leading 282 of the 300 laps, and the 26-year-old North Carolina resident also finished on the podium the previous two years. He’s looking forward to another dash to the checkered flag this weekend in the Iowa Corn 300.
“I’m really pumped for the race at Iowa. For starters, I won last year, which was huge for me and my career,” he said. “Secondly, we’re racing in the No. 2 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevy in which I won earlier this season at Barber. And, on top of that, we’re coming off a solid finish at Road America.
“We’ve been working on our oval program since Texas and have a lot of things we want to try out that we think will give us a really strong car. The whole team is really excited to head that that race and see what we can do.”
Team Chevy has won two of the three races on ovals this season. Simon Pagenaud led a field-high 116 laps in winning at the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway in late April to lead a 1-4 Chevrolet sweep, and Team Penske teammate Will Power dominated by leading 180 of 248 laps at Texas Motor Speedway in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet in early June. Power was runner-up at Phoenix, too.
Pagenaud, who advanced nine positions relative to his starting spot to finish third at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, was the 2016 pole-sitter at Iowa Speedway.
“It’s a track where we should have a little advantage with our Chevy package and expect to be strong there,” said Pagenaud, who has a 13-race streak of running at the finish. “We got the Verizon P1 pole there last year and finished fourth. So, we’re definitely excited to go back and maybe finish a little higher this time.”
Pagenaud, who owns a field-high eight top-five finishes and is the only driver to complete all 1,263 laps over 10 races, is 34 points out of first place in the standings. Three of the seven races remaining are on ovals.
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet, who has claimed three Verizon P1 Awards and nine top-10 finishes, is three points behind his third-year Team Penske teammate. With a runner-up finish at the most recent Verizon IndyCar Series race at Road America, Newgarden rejoined the top five. Power, who also won the INDYCAR Grand Prix in May and has three pole starts, is a scant two points behind Newgarden.
Pagenaud, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who drives the No. 48 Chevrolet, are nominated for an ESPY Award in the Best Driver category. Winners will be announced during a live telecast July 12 on ABC.
Team owner/driver Ed Carpenter, who competes on ovals in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, has been running at the finish in eight of the nine races at Iowa Speedway. He has a best showing of fourth among a pair of top-five finishes.
NBCSN will telecast single-car qualifications live at 3 p.m. ET Saturday and the 300-lap/268.2-mile race live at 5 p.m. ET Sunday.