News stories from July 2017


31 July 2017

Josef Newgarden became the second driver to win back-to-back Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2017, dominating today’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

The Team Penske driver led 73 of the 90 laps on the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, taking the checkered flag 5.1556 seconds ahead of teammate Will Power. It follows Newgarden’s win July 16 in the Honda Indy Toronto and pushes the 26-year-old Tennessean into the unofficial championship lead after 13 of 17 races.

Takuma SatoDriving the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, Newgarden started second and made a daring pass of pole sitter Power for the race lead on Lap 13. He was never headed again in collecting his third win of the season and sixth of his six-year Verizon IndyCar Series career.

Local favorite Graham Rahal finished third in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Rahal was the other driver to win consecutive races this season, sweeping both ends of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear doubleheader weekend.

Newgarden moved into the unofficial points lead for the first time this season. He holds a seven-point advantage over teammate Helio Castroneves, who finished seventh today, and is eight markers ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, who entered the race with the points lead but surrendered it with his ninth-place finish today.

The race ran caution-free until Dale Coyne Racing rookie Ed Jones spun into the grass in Turn 9 on Lap 67, bringing out the yellow flag after Newgarden had built a 10-second advantage. Using the lapped car of Esteban Gutierrez on the Lap 71 restart, Newgarden quickly sped away and wasn’t challenged.

The next race on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 20.

by Mark Robinson


17 July 2017

Josef Newgarden capitalized on fortunate pit strategy to drive to victory in today’s Honda Indy Toronto, the 12th Verizon IndyCar Series race of the 2017 season.

Driving the No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet, Newgarden won by 1.8704 seconds over Alexander Rossi to pick up his fifth career win and second of the season.

Hometown favorite James Hinchcliffe finished third for the second straight year at Toronto.

Newgarden made his first pit stop on Lap 23 just as Tony Kanaan was sliding into the tire barrier in Turn 1. The ensuing full-course caution allowed Newgarden to take the lead when other front-runners pitted under yellow. Newgarden went on to lead 58 of the 85 laps. Though he didn’t lead a lap, Rossi drove to his best Verizon IndyCar Series finish since winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500.

Points leader Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing collided with Team Penske’s Will Power on the opening lap, flattening the left rear tire on Dixon’s No. 9 NTT Data Honda. While he was able to continue, Dixon finished in 10th place and saw his points lead unofficially dwindle to three points over Helio Castroneves.

Castroneves made a brilliant inside pass heading into Turn 1 on the opening lap to get past pole sitter Simon Pagenaud and Graham Rahal for the lead. Castroneves led the first 24 laps before the Kanaan incident brought out the caution flag. The driver of the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, who won last week’s Iowa Corn 300, finished eighth to tighten the championship battle with five races remaining. Marco Andretti finished fourth in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda, his best showing since a third-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in June 2015.

The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 30.

Mark Robinson

Iowa Corn 300

10 July 2017

Helio Castroneves ended a three-year victory drought yesterday, winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway to secure the 30th win of his 20-year Indy car career.

Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, led 217 of the 300 laps on the 0.894-mile oval and crossed the finish line 3.9647 seconds ahead of JR Hildebrand. The triumph is Castroneves’ first in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 54 races, since he won the first race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on June 1, 2014.

It also helped the 42-year-old Brazilian unofficially close within eight points of Scott Dixon for the championship lead after 11 of 17 races. Castroneves has never won a season championship.

Hildebrand, in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, equaled his career-best finish first accomplished at the Indianapolis 500 in 2011. Ryan Hunter-Reay, a three-time winner at Iowa, finished third.

By leading the 217 laps, Castroneves passed Al Unser for fourth on the career laps-led chart with 5,947. He went from third place to first on Lap 268, passing Hildebrand and race leader Marco Andretti, and pulled away from there.

It was also the first win at Iowa for Team Penske in the 11th race at the track. With 30 wins, Castroneves broke a tie with Rick Mears for 12th place on the all-time list.

The Verizon IndyCar Series is in action again July 16 with at the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Exhibition Place.