• Josef Newgarden’s swept the Hy-Vee sponsored IndyCar doubleheader at Iowa.
  • The wins marked the fifth and sixth times the man some call “Newgy” has won on the 7/8-mile “fastest short track in the world.”
  • Points leader Alex Palou now has just an 80-point edge over Newgarden, who moved into second place, overtaking previously No. 2 Scott Dixon (now -120).

If the Children of the Corn movie franchise ever films a 10th edition, a strong argument could be made to change the name to “King of Corn” and base the script on IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden.

The Tennessee native has been tabbed with the nickname “the King of Corn” for his dominance in the middle of a cornfield, namely, Iowa Speedway.

And rightly so, as there was nothing corny about Newgarden’s performance this weekend, sweeping wins in both of the Hy-Vee sponsored races at Iowa, marking the fifth and sixth times the man some call “Newgy” has won on the 7/8-mile “fastest short track in the world.”

In fact, it would not be a total surprise if Iowa Speedway, located in the little burg of Newton, Iowa—population 15,667—decides to change its name to Newgardenton, Iowa at some point.

“I knew we had a great car and the pressure was there because we wanted to execute on it and make sure it was a great weekend,” Newgarden said after winning Sunday’s Hy-Vee One Step 250. “I’m happy now. When you finish the first race, it’s great to have a doubleheader but you feel incomplete until you get through today.

“To come back and do it again and make our car a little better, I’m just so proud of the entire team. It’s just a fantastic effort from everyone.

“(To win six in Iowa is) very gratifying because I know how good our car is here,” Newgarden said. “When you show up with a car like this, you have the pressure to execute and get the job done. If you don’t get the job done, you feel like you didn’t get the job done.”

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Josef Newgarden celebrates his doubleheader sweep at Iowa.
Penske Entertainment/Chris Jones

Newgarden definitely got the job done this weekend and now he goes for three wins in a row in two weeks in the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in his hometown, the temporary street course race in downtown Nashville, on Sunday, August 6.

Newgarden’s two wins dramatically closed Alex Palou’s lead in the IndyCar point standings. Palou came into the weekend with a 117-point lead. But after Newgarden’s two wins, Palou now has just an 80-point edge over Newgarden, who moved into second place, overtaking previously No. 2 Scott Dixon (now -120).

“I hope we can close that,” Newgarden said. “We need to win more races to be able to do it, but there’s no doubt he’s been one of the best competitors you can drive against.

“I’m excited for the rest of the season. But who knows what will happen, this is IndyCar, things change real quickly, so let’s stick with it and see how it shapes up.”

Newgarden beat pole sitter Will Power in Sunday’s race by 0.7050 seconds, followed by series points leader Alex Palou in third, Felix Rosenqvist, Scott McLaughlin, Scott Dixon, Colton Herta, David Malukas, Marcus Ericsson and Pato O’Ward.

Power took the pole for each of the weekend’s races, finishing fifth Saturday and runner-up Sunday. The Australian native felt this was the best chance to ever beat Newgarden at Iowa, but such was not the case.

“It’s pretty tough to beat him here, but we’ll do it one day, we’ll get him,” Power quipped of his Team Penske teammate.

Newgarden extends his streak of wins in each of the first four oval track races thus far this season, having won at Texas, the Indianapolis 500 and the two Iowa events. One more oval race remains, at World Wide Technology Raceway outside St. Louis in late August.

Palou started 12th 1and struggled early in Sunday’s race, but roared back to earn his seventh podium in the first 12 races of the 17-race IndyCar schedule.

“I’m very glad to be here on the podium,” Palou said. “The race didn’t start the way we wanted to, we were struggling a lot on the first couple of runs with the balance, but the team put me in that position near the end with amazing strategies and good pit stops so I’m super proud of this.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence but there’s still a lot to prove. I can’t wait for Nashville.”

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Pato O’Ward’s season took a turn in the wrong direction with a disappointing finish on Sunday.
Penske Entertainment/Joe Skibinski

O'Ward Goes the Wrong Way

O’Ward finished third Saturday but was a virtual non-factor Sunday, finishing 10th and was visibly upset.

“I don’t have an explanation for what happened today,” O’Ward said. “We obviously went the wrong way, at least that’s what it seems like.”

O’Ward drops to sixth in the standings, 148 points behind Palou.

“Josef dominated, destroyed everybody,” O’Ward said. “I would have loved to make him sweat a bit, but today was just a miserable day for us.”

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A errant tire led to a shortened race for rookie Sting Ray Robb on Sunday in the second half of the weekend doubleheader.
Penske Entertainment/Chris Jones

Sting Ray Robb DQ'd

O’Ward wasn’t the only driver upset about his performance.

Series rookie Sting Ray Robb’s terrible season continued. The Boise, Idaho native was disqualified after Lap 152 of the 250-lap event when the right rear tire of his car came off, less than one lap after stopping in the pits for a four-tire change.

The errant tire missed several cars, but thankfully did not make any contact with the rides of opposing drivers. Don’t be surprised if Robb gets additional penalties in the next few days.

It was Robb’s sixth DNF in the season’s first 12 races. Rumors continue that Robb will not be returning to Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing next season.

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Singer Ed Sheeran started the IndyCar show on Sunday in Newton, Iowa.
Penske Entertainment/James Black

Notes: Ed Sheeran Takes the Green Flag

Sunday marked Ed Carpenter’s 200th career IndyCar start. Unfortunately, the Indianapolis native finished 23rd, with teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay 24th after nicking the outside retaining wall with less than 15 laps remaining. … Music superstar Ed Sheeran waved the green flag to start the race (he needs a bit of work on his form if he ever does it again). He then performed a concert after the race, the fourth and final concert of the weekend that also featured stars Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney and the Zac Brown Band. … Former TV host—and also co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing—David Letterman was featured on a pre-race video that showed him working a variety of jobs at an area Hy-Vee store, including stocker and bagger. One shopper stole the show, absolutely stunned that it truly was the bearded Letterman (which she didn’t believe it was him). ... Also of note, Conor Daly again replaced Simon Pagenaud, who remains sidelined after suffering a concussion in a brutal flip three weeks ago at Mid-Ohio. This was the fourth race Pagenaud has missed. Daly finished 17th in Sunday’s race (he was 21st in Saturday’s race).


Results Sunday of the Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade 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) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 250, Running

2. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 250, Running

3. (12) Alex Palou, Honda, 250, Running

4. (16) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 250, Running

5. (2) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 250, Running

6. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 249, Running

7. (5) Colton Herta, Honda, 249, Running

8. (3) David Malukas, Honda, 249, Running

9. (10) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 249, Running

10. (11) Pato O'Ward, Chevrolet, 249, Running

11. (17) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 249, Running

12. (20) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 249, Running

13. (21) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 249, Running

14. (24) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 248, Running

15. (18) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 248, Running

16. (8) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 248, Running

17. (15) Conor Daly, Honda, 248, Running

18. (14) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 248, Running

19. (22) Jack Harvey, Honda, 247, Running

20. (6) Graham Rahal, Honda, 247, Running

21. (19) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 246, Running

22. (27) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 245, Running

23. (4) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 244, Running

24. (25) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Chevrolet, 237, Contact

25. (13) Takuma Sato, Honda, 237, Running

26. (23) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 236, Running

27. (28) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 193, DQ

28. (26) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 152, DQ

Race Statistics

Winner's average speed: 133.527

Time of race: 01:40:25.7356

Margin of victory: 0.7050

Cautions: 3 for 37 laps

Lead changes: 8 among 6 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Power, Will 1 - 30

Newgarden, Josef 31 - 55

Rosenqvist, Felix 56 - 57

Newgarden, Josef 58 - 147

Dixon, Scott 148

Ericsson, Marcus 149 - 151

Newgarden, Josef 152 - 195

McLaughlin, Scott 196 - 197

Newgarden, Josef 198 - 250

Updated Point Standings

Palou 477, Newgarden 397, Dixon 357, Ericsson 330, O'Ward 329, McLaughlin 329, Power 316, Herta 276, Lundgaard 275, Rossi 265, Kirkwood 237, Rosenqvist 233, Grosjean 212, Ilott 185, VeeKay 183, Rahal 182, Malukas 176, Armstrong 156, Ferrucci 151, Castroneves 143, Canapino 132, DeFrancesco 128, Harvey 124, Daly 120, Robb 92, Pedersen 90, Pagenaud 88, Sato 65, Hunter-Reay 62, Carpenter 40, Kanaan 18, Andretti 13, Blomqvist 5, Enerson 5, Legge 5

Follow Autoweek contributor Jerry Bonkowski on Twitter @JerryBonkowski