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Newgarden Hospitalized After Being KO’d In Iowa

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, July 25 2022

Josef Newgarden’s wrecked Team Penske car is hauled away at Iowa Speedway on Sunday. Newgarden suffered a head injury and was transported to a hospital. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

(This story was updated on Monday afternoon)

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was held overnight Sunday at a medical facility in Des Moines, Iowa, after losing consciousness and falling in the aftermath of a crash during an NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.

The winner of Saturday’s Hy-VeeDeals.com 250, Newgarden was in command of Sunday’s Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 until he spun into the Turn 4 SAFER Barrier while leading on Lap 235 of 300 around the 0.894-mile oval in Newton. Newgarden had led 148 of the first 234 laps and was 2.8384-seconds ahead of eventual winner Pato O’Ward before the stunning incident.

Team Penske issued the following statement shortly before 10 p.m. (CDT): “Josef Newgarden was involved in an incident late in Sunday’s race at Iowa Speedway, after which he was evaluated and released from the infield care center. Following the conclusion of the race Newgarden lost consciousness and fell, sustaining a cut on the back of his head.

“Due to the 45-minute drive to MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center and the traffic outside the racetrack, the medical helicopter was determined to be the best mode of transportation. After being evaluated, all scans were negative. Newgarden will be held overnight for observation. Following INDYCAR protocol, Newgarden will be evaluated by the INDYCAR medical staff on Thursday.”

Team Penske announced on Monday that Santino Ferrucci would be on standby for this weekend’s race at the Indianapolis road circuit.

Newgarden was released from MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center earlier this morning and returned to his home in Nashville.

Ferrucci has 43-career INDYAR starts with four of these occurring at the IMS road course where he has two top-10 finishes. His career best IndyCar finish is fourth, on four occasions, and he has made three starts in 2022, with two top-10 finishes.

Newgarden’s exited opened the door for O’Ward, who drove his No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet to a 4.2476-second victory over Will Power in the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet. Scott McLaughlin finished third in the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet.

“We knew that we had a great car,” O’Ward said. “So, it was all about just capitalizing and being there when it counted. The guys did a great job calling when we had to pit. It was very, very enjoyable.”

Six-time series champion Scott Dixon finished fourth in the No. 9 Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Meanwhile, teammate and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson recorded the best finish of his two-year open-wheel career by placing fifth in the No. 48 Honda.

Series point-leader Marcus Ericsson finished sixth in the No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Ericsson, winner of the 106th edition of the Indianapolis 500 in May, now leads second-place Power in the standings by eight points with five races remaining this season.

O’Ward earned his second victory of 2022 _ the native of Mexico also won May 1 on the road course at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. _ and fourth win of his NTT IndyCar Series career. Coupled with his second-place finish Saturday, the victory allowed O’Ward to climb from sixth to fifth in the standings. He is 36 points behind leader Ericsson.

“Hopefully we can win a couple more,” O’Ward said. “That would be fantastic. We’ve had a good year, but we’ve dumped two wins in the past couple of months. So, it’s definitely been a frustrating but rewarding few weeks. This is the perfect momentum we need.”

Newgarden was in cruise control before his crash, maintaining a steady gap to O’Ward. As he entered Turn 4 on the “Fastest Short Track on the Planet,” the left front wheel of his car lifted off the ground after an apparent mechanical problem in the rear of the car, sending Newgarden spinning into the SAFER Barrier. The car suffered heavy rear-end damage, but Newgarden walked away from the incident.

“It definitely was a bit of a shock,” said Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. “Man, I want to cry. So sad for my team. I don’t know what happened. It was a good run. I feel terrible for us. This is just heartbreaking. I don’t have the evidence in front of me right now but something went wrong.”

A two-time series champion, Newgarden confirmed that while he earlier had reported a vibration to his team, he was unsure if it triggered the crash. “Everything felt fine to me up to that point,” Newgarden said. “I did have a vibration at the start of the stint, which isn’t abnormal. Tire balances are always shifting. It’s very possible that we had a mismatched set or something. It wasn’t diabolical whatsoever. Actually, everything felt just fine. It was totally unexpected when it happened. It caught me by surprise. I didn’t know what happened until I was in the wall.

“This is racing. Team Penske is the best. I never have this stuff (happen) so maybe we were due. We can’t afford it for this year. But we’ll fight back. We have a great team here. We pick right back up. We don’t stop fighting.”

Newgarden added the hit “definitely rocked me. I got a little bit shaken from it but I’m OK. We have great safety in INDYCAR, and the car held up good. So it wasn’t that bad, but it’s never nice to hit the wall at flat-chat. We’ll pick up the pieces and go on.”

Newgarden _ the series champ in 2017 and 2019 _ was on-track to lead the championship by 10 points when he crashed. Instead, he was credited with 24th place and now is third in the standings, 34 points behind Ericsson.

After Newgarden’s unexpected exit, O’Ward took the lead for good. The victory was secured when O’Ward, Power and the rest of the lead-lap drivers entered pit road for their final stops on Lap 239. O’Ward won the race off pit road and then navigated lapped traffic over the closing 60 laps.

“The No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP guys in the pits were awesome,” O’Ward said. “That’s what gave us our win. Obviously, I did my job in the car to keep her safe and maintain. I knew we had the pace, but it’s just tough whenever you’re going through the traffic. The guys in front of me are handling it a different way than you do, so it’s just different every lap.”

O’Ward put himself into position to grab the unlikely victory by passing NTT P1 Award winner Power as the Australian turned his out-lap after his second-to-last pit stop on Lap 195. O’Ward gained 2.953- seconds on Power during his in-lap, stop and out-lap for his penultimate stop on Lap 194.

Power led 80 laps, second only to teammate Newgarden’s 148. O’Ward led 66 laps and averaged 140.681 mph in a race slowed by just two caution periods for 25 laps.

O’Ward will split $10,000 with his team and his charity of choice for the victory as part of the PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge.

A busy July continues for the series with the Gallagher Grand Prix on Saturday, July 30, on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course. It will be the fourth race in three weekends. Live coverage will start at noon (EDT) on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

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Results Sunday of the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 presented by Google NTT IndyCar Series event on the 0.894-mile Iowa Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

  1. (7) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 300, Running
    2. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 300, Running
    3. (5) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 300, Running
    4. (18) Scott Dixon, Honda, 300, Running
    5. (13) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 300, Running
    6. (15) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 300, Running
    7. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 300, Running
    8. (14) David Malukas, Honda, 300, Running
    9. (10) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 300, Running
    10. (4) Takuma Sato, Honda, 300, Running
    11. (22) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 300, Running
    12. (12) Colton Herta, Honda, 299, Running
    13. (11) Alex Palou, Honda, 299, Running
    14. (23) Graham Rahal, Honda, 299, Running
    15. (25) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 298, Running
    16. (3) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 298, Running
    17. (19) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 297, Running
    18. (21) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 296, Running
    19. (8) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 296, Running
    20. (6) Jack Harvey, Honda, 296, Running
    21. (24) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 295, Running
    22. (26) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 294, Running
    23. (16) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 281, Running
    24. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 235, Contact
    25. (20) Kyle Kirkwood, Chevrolet, 117, Contact
    26. (17) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 112, Mechanical

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 140.681 mph
Time of Race: 1:54:23.2097
Margin of victory: 4.2476-seconds
Cautions: 2 for 26
Lead changes: 7 among 5 drivers

Lap Leaders
Power 1 – 65
Sato 66 – 67
Malukas 68
Power 69 – 83
Newgarden 84 – 195
Sato 196 – 198
Newgarden 199 – 234
O’Ward 235 – 300

NTT IndyCar Series point-standings (top-10): 1, Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing, 403; 2, Will Power, Team Penske, 395; 3, Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, 369; 4, Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing, 369; 5, Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP, 367; 6, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing, 359; 7, Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske, 317; 8, Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport, 278; 9, Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP, 275; 10, Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport, 265.

Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1995) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service, Ford Racing and Used Car Dealer magazine).

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, July 25 2022
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