NEWTON, IA – Team Penske is on a roll. They’ve won this race at the Iowa Speedway two years ago as well as winning two of the last three NTT IndyCar Series races on the season to go along with five of the last seven.
Heading into this weekend in Iowa, they had won the pole in four straight years.
In practice on Friday morning, their trio of drivers went 1-2-3 in the one hour session. Later on in the day, Penske went 1-2-3 again, this time in qualifying to set the field for Saturday’s Iowa 300 (7 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network).
The top dog among them was a familiar one in Simon Pagenaud. The Frenchman circled the track with a two-lap average of 180.073 mph in his No. 22 Chevrolet. It was Pagenaud’s third pole of the season, his previous two leading into dominating wins.
Pagenaud, started on the pole for the Indianapolis 500 and would lead 116 of 200 laps en route to a victory. Last weekend in Toronto, Pagenaud earned the NTT Pole Award and turned that into leading 80 of 85 laps in his second victory of the year.
Furthermore, four out of Pagenaud’s last five Indy Car poles have resulted in a win. The problem this weekend is, never has a pole winner won the Iowa 300.
That’s good news for Pagenaud’s teammates who will join him up front.
Will Power will start second in his No. 12 Chevrolet. Power turned in a qualifying average of 179.589 mph for his third straight front row starting spot in Iowa.
Points leader Josef Newgarden will roll off third in his No. 2 Chevrolet. The Tennessee native qualifying with an average of 179.446 mph. Newgarden, has to still be the favorite for Saturday night’s race as he has five top four finishes in his last six starts on the season to go along with five consecutive top six finishes in Iowa including a win and two runner-ups. He’s also led 623 laps in his last four Iowa starts as well.
The team was nearly two full mph quicker than the field as Takuma Sato (177.646 mph) was the next best as he will start fourth in his No. 30 Honda. Sato, leads a nine man Honda brigade as while Chevy will start 1-2-3, Honda’s take the next nine spots behind them.
Defending race winner James Hinchcliffe (176.200 mph) rounded out the top five.
Iowa 300 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Simon Pagenaud, Will Power
Row 2: Josef Newgarden, Takuma Sato
Row 3: James Hinchcliffe, Alexander Rossi
Row 4: Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon
Row 5: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marcus Ericsson R
Row 6: Colton Herta R, Santino Ferrucci R
Row 7: Tony Kanaan, Sage Karam
Row 8: Felix Rosenqvist R, Conor Daly
Row 9: Ed Carpenter, Marco Andretti
Row 10: Spencer Pigot, Zach Veach
Row 11: Sebastien Bourdais, Matheus Leist