After failing to put down a qualifying lap due to no fuel pressure, Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud would stretch his fuel in the closing stages to hold on for his first victory of the 2020 season.
The NTT IndyCar Series held their first of two races at Iowa Speedway this weekend.
Conor Daly started on the pole for the first time in his IndyCar career and scored the first pole for his Carlin Racing team.
Daly would lead for the first portion of the race and pull out to over a two-second gap over second-place Josef Newgarden. However, lapped traffic would become a factor, and Newgarden would be able to make up the ground to take the lead from Daly.
On the first cycle of green flag pit stops, Takuma Sato and Simon Pagenaud would be among the early takers. Marco Andretti lost the clutch on pit road and could not get re-fired. He would be able to get going again, but would fall eight laps down.
At the end of the cycle, Sato would take the lead. Pagenaud would come out in front of leaders Will Power and Newgarden, but Pagenaud would later fade on older tires.
Tony Kanaan, who is competing in his final season and just the second race of the season, would hit the wall and come down pit road. He would fall 20 laps down before returning to the track.
On lap 142, Power would hit the wall down the frontstretch and the left-front tire would completely detach from the car as the pit crew did not get the tire on tight enough on their last pit stop. The tire would nearly pay Power another visit as it shot over his car as he was slowing down.
McLaren teammates Pato O’Ward and rookie Oliver Askew would get the advantage from the pit stops, but on the restart, IndyCar would call off the green and cause Colton Herta to run up the back of Rinus VeeKay’s car and fly close to 15-20 feet in the air and nearly into the catchfence.
Thanks to IndyCar’s advancements in safety, the aeroscreen fitted on every car this year saved three lives on one lap with VeeKay and Herta, but also Marcus Ericsson as debris from one of the two wrecked cars would bounce off Ericsson’s No. 8 car. Everyone would escape the incident injury-free.
Both McLaren’s would have to make one more pit stop before the finish, and the win would come down to whether or not Pagenaud and Dixon could save enough fuel to hang on in the lead.
It worked out for both men as Pagenaud would take the win and Dixon finished second.
Askew scored his first career podium finish in third. His teammate, O’Ward, finished fourth. Newgarden rounded out the top five.
IndyCar will hold race two at Iowa on Saturday night.