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Newgarden gives Penske sweep of Iowa doubleheader

IndyCar Iowa Auto Racing - AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) — Josef Newgarden led nearly wire-to-wire Saturday night to win the IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway, giving team owner Roger Penske a sweep of the doubleheader and his fourth victory across three series this weekend.

Newgarden, who started on the pole, thought he had the best car in the opener Friday night, and he was irate when a series of misfortunes left him fifth and well back of winning teammate Simon Pagenaud. But the two-time series champ left little to chance in Race 2, leading just about all of the 250 laps for his 15th career victory and first since last year’s race at Iowa.

Will Power finished second after wrecking out of the doubleheader opener. Graham Rahal was third for his first podium in more than a year, while Pagenaud again came from the back to finish fourth and series leader Scott Dixon was fifth.

Team Penske has 13 drivers completing in five series across two continents this weekend. Pagenaud and Newgarden have been joined in victory lane by Scott McLaughlin in Supercars in Australia and Austin Cindric in the Xfinity race at Texas with Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano starting the Cup Series race Sunday.

The two Penske entries in the IMSA race at Sebring struggled earlier Saturday.

Pato O’Ward was giving Newgarden all he could handle through the middle third of the race, but a mistake on on his pit stop cost him. The rear tire was not properly secured — a similar problem caused Will Power to wreck the previous night — and O’Ward had to hit the brakes and get pushed back to his stall to have it tightened.

O’Ward returned to the track a lap down and was forced to play catch-up.

Ryan Hunter-Reay also was running near the front when he spun into the inner wall trying to accelerate off pit road. The veteran driver did the same thing in Race 1, leaving black marks on the wall about 30 yards apart.

“Got to be better than that. I was looking to make up a lot of track time on that out-lap and I short-shifted out of second gear,” he said. “I almost caught it. Almost doesn’t count. The guys on the No. 28 don’t deserve that.”

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More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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