Having already locked down the pole, Simon Pagenaud extended his reign in the NTT IndyCar Series, pacing the final practice for tomorrow night’s Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway.
The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet enjoyed another strong performance, vaulting to the top of the timesheets in the evening session at 174.462 mph (18.4476s) and bettering teammate Josef Newgarden by 0.0729s around the 0.894-mile oval.
While history repeated itself with Team Penske atop the scoring pylon for the third consecutive session on the day, the status quo changed just behind as third place was occupied by the No. 20 of owner/driver Ed Carpenter (172.636 mph).
“I felt happy with the car in practice one,” said Carpenter. “Our qual sim in practice one — we were a little loose, and then we just overshot on the balance adjustment for qualifying. I know we could have qualified a lot better. It would have been nice to not be starting in the back, but I think we have a car we can race with. The biggest thing for me is having a strong first stint [in the race] and staying on the lead lap that first stint; that is when you are the most vulnerable when you are starting where we are.
“The No. 20 AutoGeek Chevrolet — I can pretty much drive it anywhere. I’ve got to look at some of the data, but I think our fall-off was pretty good relative to others. We just have to pick our way through tomorrow.”
Reigning and five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon was the best Honda, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver ending up fourth. Despite being in just his second race weekend with Carlin, Conor Daly managed to surge through a nervous moment in Turn 3 to finish out the one hour session fifth overall.
“This session is so important; we needed to try and evaluate what we can get out of the car,” said Daly.
“If drivers are getting paid, today is the day they earned their money — fictitious money in some cases,” Daly continued. “We’re just trying things and we have so little time to do it. The next session is the race and I really want to get up to speed with this car. It’s comfortable, but I am also totally terrified. I don’t know if anyone feels great. It looks like there are a lot of people moving around, but we sort of just roll the dice tomorrow.”
A pair of rookies were sixth and seventh, Colton Herta (Harding Steinbrenner Racing) just edging Marcus Ericsson (Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports).
After placing among the top three in opening practice and qualifying, Will Power (Team Penske) fell to eighth in the day’s last session, while the Andretti Autosport duo of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi came away ninth and 10th, respectively.
A total of 2023 laps were run in final practice with track conditions starting around 122 degrees. Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan) ran a session-high 128 laps en route to posting the 18th-best speed out of the 22-car field.
In all, eight drivers ran more than 100 laps, including Newgarden, who ended the session with a 55-lap run to close out practice.