Josef Newgarden figured he was the man to beat Friday night at Iowa Speedway before an untimely yellow flag ruined his chances and helped teammate Simon Pagenaud go from last-to-first.
And after Saturday afternoon’s one-hour warmup for IndyCar’s second 250-miler of the weekend, it looks like the defending champion remains in a class by himself.
Newgarden, who will start from the pole for tonight’s race in his Hitachi Chevy, was 2mph faster than Pagenaud and the only driver in the 170mph bracket as teams dealt with 90-degree temperatures on the 7/8ths-mile oval. Newgarden ran 170.199 on his eighth lap, while Pagenaud managed a 168.515 mph circuit in his Menard’s Chevy despite missing the first 20 minutes while his team worked on a couple of issues.
Scott Dixon, who went from 17th to second on Friday, wound up third quick at 168.154 mph in the PNC Honda despite brushing the wall, while Tony Kanaan jumped up to fourth at 167.787 mph in the Bryant Chevy and Takuma Sato was fifth at 166.859 in the RLL Honda.
Alexander Rossi wound up sixth fastest in the Auto Nation Honda but his car was taken to the garage with 10 minutes left in the session for a wiring loom problem.
Following their wild crash on Friday, both Colton Herta and Rinus Veekay were back on track, Veekay ending up 14th in his backup Jumbo Chevy for ECR.
Will Power, who crashed when his left front wheel came off, also got in more than 80 laps Saturday but was only 20th fastest.
UP NEXT: Tonight’s race is on NBCSN starting at 8:30 p.m. EDT.