Newgarden complains lapping cars ‘worse than ever’ at Iowa

Newgarden moved ahead of Scott Dixon into second place in the points thanks to his third win of the season, which have all come on oval tracks, and is now 98 behind Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Alex Palou, who finished eighth.

Despite his win, Newgarden was visibly agitated after getting out of his car, and was caught on TV swearing to team-mate Scott McLaughlin about his issues in traffic.

“I love Iowa, obviously It was a great day,” said Newgarden. “It’s tough in IndyCar, these guys that are about to go a lap down, they always run the leader really hard. And that’s the name of the game, it’s legal but, man, it’s a little frustrating at times.

“It’s gotten worse, it was much worse here than I’ve ever had it. I’m going to be better tomorrow. If that’s how it’s going to be then I’m just going to have to elevate my game for Race 2.”

He later elaborated: “I think, the way the rule was written, it’s legal for them to fight to the death to stay on the lead lap in front of the leader. It is legal. I’m just telling you you’re not making any friends when you do it.

“There’s 20 laps to go in the race, and I was getting driven like it was literally to the death for the end of the Indy 500. It was just crazy. I couldn’t believe the way people were mirror driving.

“I’ve never seen it that bad here.

“Normally if you’re the leader, you’re not getting a handout, but you’re at least getting the courtesy that you are the leader and you’re about to get lapped. You don’t have to pull over, but just don’t be aggressive and weave in front of the leader, block the leader, chop the leader.

“Like there’s just a point where you’ve got to understand that that comes back around. If you do that to someone, I’m going to fence you the next time I see you. If you’re the leader the next time, I am going to do you so dirty if you did that to me.”

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

McLaughlin, who finished 3.3s behind his team-mate today, having closed right up in traffic in the final stint, heaped praise on Newgarden after the race.

“The car was great, and I have to thank Josef because during the week we sat down together and we went over everything and that helped, so I learned a ton today,” he said. “I badly want to beat that guy but he’s the epitome of a great team-mate and I appreciate the help he’s given me.

“I mucked up one of my in- and out-laps caught with a slower car, so I lost a couple, maybe three or four seconds. So it was catch-up from there and we got back to there or thereabouts.”

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Patricio O’Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward finished third, benefiting after the third Penske of Will Power glanced the wall at Turn 4, but he said his team needs to find more to challenge here on the whole.

“Solid podium for us today, but we didn’t have anything for the Penskes,” he said. “We need to take a solid step forward if we want to make them sweat tomorrow.

“I think they were specifically strong in getting through traffic, and I would get stuck. I wasn’t able to really place the car where I needed to in order to get by some of the slow cars. I’m obviously happy with it, but considering how much pace we had here last year, it was a bit of like, ‘Where is it?’”

The third Penske driver, Will Power, slumped to finish fifth after starting on pole and leading the first half of the race. His brush of the wall at Turn 4, when he was trying to lap Ed Carpenter, cost him dear.

“I just got a little high when the car in front went up and took the air [from my front wing],” said Power. “It was pretty square hit, I was a bit worried because I know how much force goes through the suspension at these tracks. We had more push after that, but I don’t think it hurt the car too bad.

“Once Josef got me, he’s very good at reading [the traffic], and he just got me up the inside. At the end of the day it was who got through the traffic better when we had a huge gaggle.”

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