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.
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…