O'Ward Wins Race 2 of Iowa Doubleheader as Newgarden Crashes

Pato O'Ward pounced at the opportunity to win at Iowa when Josef Newgarden crashed while leading the race.
IndyCar at Iowa: Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP
IndyCar at Iowa: Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP

Today's race at Iowa was shaping up to be a mirror image of yesterday, with the same three drivers on the podium and a dominant race win by Josef Newgarden. That all changed on Lap 238 when something broke on his Team Penske car, sending him crashing hard into the outside wall. That opened the door for O'Ward.

After finishing runner-up to Newgarden yesterday, the Arrow McLaren SP driver was bound and determined to find victory lane today.

"I knew we had the pace but it's tough going through the traffic," O'Ward said. "It's different every lap. Super-stoked and super-happy though, it was about being there when it counted. It was very, very enjoyable. The guys did a great job calling when to pit."

"Hopefully we can win a couple more races, that would be fantastic. We've had a good year but we've dumped two wins in the past couple of months. It's been a frustrating yet rewarding few weeks. This is the perfect momentum we need going into August and September."

This is the second win of the season for O'Ward, and the fourth of his career. He currently sits 5th in the championship standings, just 36 points out of the lead with five races remaining.

O'Ward Wins Race 2 of Iowa Doubleheader as Newgarden Crashes

Pato led 66 of the 300 laps on Sunday, taking over the lead when Newgarden found the wall. He held off a hard-charging Will Power, and managed to maneuver his way around lapped traffic on his way to a comfortable 4.2 second win. O'Ward has now won Race 2 in each of the last three IndyCar doubleheader events.

Power collected another podium finish on Sunday, and has moved to within 8 points of the championship lead. His teammate Scott McLaughlin joined them on the podium, which was much-needed after a disappointing end to his race yesterday when a right-rear wheel came off.

Scott Dixon finished 4th today, his second top-five result of the weekend. It was another consistent finish for the six-time champion who made his 300th consecutive start. Oddly enough, Dixon and Power have a combined 9 poles and 17 top-five finishes at Iowa, but they remain winless here in 32 starts.

Rounding out the top five today was Jimmie Johnson, who earned his best career finish in the series. It was an incredible weekend for the seven-time Cup champion, who led 19 laps in the race yesterday.

"This is a really special day for me and for everyone who's been on the journey with me in the IndyCar Series,” Johnson said. “So proud to have the American Legion on the car today. A couple of years ago when we had this idea, we knew we could run well. It took me getting on the ovals to get my best finishes. Great support from Chip Ganassi Racing and my teammates, today was just a fun race out there."

2022 Iowa Speedway - Race 2 Results
Pos Driver Team Engine
1Pato O'WardArrow McLaren SPChevrolet
2Will PowerTeam PenskeChevrolet
3Scott McLaughlinTeam PenskeChevrolet
4Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingHonda
5Jimmie JohnsonChip Ganassi RacingHonda
6Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi RacingHonda
7Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevrolet
8David MalukasDale Coyne w/ HMD MotosportsHonda
9Romain GrosjeanAndretti AutosportHonda
10Takuma SatoDale Coyne w/ Rick Ware RacingHonda
11Callum IlottJuncos Hollinger RacingChevrolet
12Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda
13Alex PalouChip Ganassi RacingHonda
14Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda
15Devlin DeFrancescoAndretti AutosportHonda
16Conor DalyEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet
17Ed CarpenterEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet
18Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportHonda
19Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet
20Jack HarveyRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda
21Helio CastronevesMeyer Shank RacingHonda
22Dalton KellettAJ Foyt RacingChevrolet
23Simon PagenaudMeyer Shank RacingHonda
24Josef NewgardenTeam PenskeChevrolet
25Kyle KirkwoodAJ Foyt RacingChevrolet
26Christian LundgaardRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda

Marcus Ericsson also had a great weekend, and maintains his lead in the championship standings. The Indy 500 winner was the third Chip Ganassi driver to finish inside the top six today. "We had a great day, starting 15th, working up to fourth at one point. We lost the balance in the last stint and a half, the car had a bit of oversteer. I couldn't really keep up the pace."

"I had a great battle with Jimmie," Ericsson said. "You can tell he's experienced on the ovals. He did a really good job placing his car. He was going where I wasn't. I'm still learning on the ovals, especially the short ones, but it was fun. I tried really hard to keep him behind, but he drove really well."

Felix Rosenqvist had a great rebound after his crash in yesterday's race. Rookie David Malukas earned his career-best finish today by finishing in 8th place. His Dale Coyne Racing teammate Takuma Sato finished in 10th. Sandwiched in between those two was the team's driver last year, Romain Grosjean, who was the top-finishing driver for Andretti Autosport.

Newgarden led 148 laps today, pushing his total to 1,506 over the last nine Iowa races. He was on pace to become the first driver to sweep a doubleheader since 2015, when Graham Rahal took both races at Belle Isle. More importantly, Newgarden had a 10-point lead in the championship standings at the time of his crash. After today's race, he sits tied for 3rd with five races remaining.

It was a complete shock to everyone when the car spun, including Newgarden himself. "It definitely was a bit of a shot," he said shortly after the accident. "I want to cry, I'm so sad for my team. I don't know what happened. It was a good run. It's just one race but I feel terrible for us. Something went wrong there."

"Everything felt fine to me up to that point. I did have a vibration at the start of the stint, which isn't abnormal. It was totally unexpected when it happened. It caught me by surprise. I didn't know what happened until I was in the wall. This is racing. Team Penske is the best. I never have this stuff so maybe we were due. We can't afford it for this year, but we'll fight back. We have a great team here."

After the race, Chevrolet stated that a broken suspension on the No. 2 car is likely what caused the spin. It was a major gut punch to the team, as they experienced the highs and lows of this sport in the span of 24 hours. It has been a feast or famine type of season for Newgarden, but he remains confident in his ability to win a third title this year.

Newgarden apparently had a medical issue after the race, falling outside of his hauler and hitting his head. The 31-year old was in stable condition but being airlifted to Des Moines hospital for further evaluation. Doctor Geoffrey Billows said that they wanted to re-evaluate him because of the level of Gs on the accelerometer.

It was a rough weekend for all of Andretti Autosport, but especially Colton Herta. After a mechanical failure yesterday relegated him to a 24th place finish, he simply didn't have the speed or setup to contend today. He finished 12th, one spot ahead of reigning series champion Alex Palou, who seemed to be the only Ganassi driver off the pace. That could be due to his ongoing contract situation, and the fact that the team has now restricted him from seeing much of their data.

O'Ward Wins Race 2 of Iowa Doubleheader as Newgarden Crashes

Graham Rahal entered this weekend with high hopes of running well, but his No. 15 Honda was never able to get to the front of the field. After a decent 9th place result yesterday, he finished 14th today. Conor Daly was another driver that had high expectations at Iowa. The Ed Carpenter Racing driver was lightning quick in practice and qualifying, but simply did not have the race pace needed to contend. He and his boss Ed Carpenter finished 16th and 17th.

Alexander Rossi finished 13th on Saturday, and he was less than thrilled. Today was even worse, as the driver of the No. 27 Honda was never a factor in the race and came home with a disappointing 18th place result.

Rinus VeeKay scored a top-five finish yesterday but today did not go as well. The ECR driver was given a penalty on pit lane late in the race, which took him out of contention. Meyer Shank Racing teammates Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves also had issues that ruined their day early.

Pagenaud had to come to pit road on Lap 42 after receiving the black flag because he was having issues hearing his spotter on the radio. Helio was given a stop-and-go penalty for improper pit entry. They finished 23rd and 21st today. After a top-ten on Saturday, Christian Lundgaard had a braking issue on his No. 30 RLL Honda today, and finished 26th.

The championship has gotten even tighter, and will likely come down to the final race. Ericsson hopes he can cap off his memorable year with the title. "I'm very happy," he said of his position. "I would’ve taken being the leader coming out of this weekend, because this is our weakest track on the calendar. So we were pretty worried, with it being a double-header. I'm really happy we're still ahead, and now we're going to track where we know we are strong so I'm really excited about the rest of the year."

The final stretch of five races begins next weekend in Indianapolis. The series will hit the IMS road course for the second time, this one being a doubleheader event with NASCAR. IndyCar will practice and qualify on Friday, and race on Saturday. Coverage for the Gallagher Grand Prix begins at Noon ET on NBC.

Read More