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Simon Pagenaud Wins Race 1 Of INDYCAR Doubleheader At Iowa Speedway

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Joe Skibinski

NEWTON, IA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud started last but finished first Friday night in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Iowa Speedway.

“What a night, I can’t believe it,” said Pagenaud. “Qualifying was disheartening, but these guys never give up. And that’s what this team is all about. The last 50 laps were certainly a lot of tension. When (Scott) Dixon is chasing you, you’ve got to hit your marks.”

Pagenaud started from the rear after not making a qualifying run due to a fuel pressure issue on the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet.  The victory also ended Chip Ganassi Racing’s 4-race winning streak to start the 2020 Season.

Dixon didn’t set the world on fire during qualifying and started 17th but outstanding fuel mileage from the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda enabled the 5-time series Champion to stay out a little longer and catch a caution flag, which allowed his crew to service the car without losing a lap or two by pitting under green.

“Proud to be powered by Honda,” said Dixon.  “They did a tremendous job I think on fuel mileage that’s really what enabled us to stay out, jump a couple of cars.  We had a pretty dreadful car in qualifying, we worked on it so it took us a little while to get it going.  Huge credit to the PNC Bank crew.

The second place finish left Dixon with a 50-point lead in his quest for a sixth series Championship.

“You’ve got to take these nights, you’ve got to make the most of them,” said Dixon.

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Arrow McLaren SP’s Oliver Askew, the 2019 Indy Lights Champion, finished a career-best third.

“I don’t think I’ve had so much fun in a race car in my life,” said Askew. “This No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet just absolutely came alive when the track became cooler. We were good on new tires and when they were used. If that yellow didn’t come out there near the race end, I think we would have had a shot at least 1-2 there.”

Askew’s teammate Pato O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champion who scored his career-best finish of second last Sunday at Road America, drove his No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet to a fourth-place finish. Defending series champion Josef Newgarden rounded out the top five in the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.

Pagenaud will look to sweep the weekend in Iowa tomorrow night with the Iowa INDYCAR 250s Race Two (8:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) from Iowa Speedway. Qualifying for tomorrow’s event was also held Friday, and Newgarden will lead the field to green, and he will be joined on the front row by his Team Penske teammate Will Power.

Both Pagenaud and Dixon will have their work cut out again Saturday. Pagenaud again will start last due to his problem during qualifying, and Dixon will start 18th.

Iowa Race 1 Results

Iowa Race 2 Qualifying

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IndyCar

INDYCAR Community Reacts To No Fans At Indy 500

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The INDYCAR community is reacting to the news that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has decided to run the Indy 500 on August 23 without fans in attendance.  The decision is a reversal of a plan set forth a few weeks ago where the event would be run in front of 25-percent of the capacity of the Speedway.

Speedway President J. Douglas Boles, who has been a guest on The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast, is appreciative of his team and the fans:

Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal took to social media to make some great points:

Spencer Pigot who drives for Steelers minority owner Rob Citrone and Robbie Buhl’s team Citrone Buhl Autosport with RLL also took to Twitter to express his feelings:

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson also weighed in:

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Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Real and Alexander Rossi, two former 500 winners had this to say:

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, who’s boss owns the Speedway has a great idea:

Stay tuned to Pittsburgh Racing Now for updated comments from the INDYCAR Community

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No Fans At Indianapolis 500 in 2020

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IndyCar Series

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is cancelling plans to have fans at the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race.

“It is with great regret that we announce the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Aug. 23 without fans.  This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership” the Speedway said in a statement.

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“As dedicated as we were to running the race this year with 25 percent attendance at our large outdoor facility, even with meaningful and careful precautions implemented by the city and state, the COVID-19 trends in Marion County and Indiana have worsened.  Since our June 26 announcement, the number of cases in Marion County has tripled while the positivity rate has doubled.  We said from the beginning of the pandemic we would put the health and safety of our community first, and while hosting spectators at a limited capacity with our robust plan in place was appropriate in late June, it is not the right path forward based on the current environment.”

The Speedway is closing all on-track activity to the general public, including practice and qualifications.  Ticket holders will be credited for the 2021 Indianapolis 500 and will retain their seniority and their originally assigned seats.

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IndyCar

The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast – Episode 15 – Aaron Reutzel, Matthew Dillner, Chip Ganassi and more!

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast features the 2-time and defending Champion of the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 Aaron Reutzel.  We also talk to Matthew Dillner of Dirty Mo Media about the new show he co-hosts with Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chip Ganassi takes his own trip down memory lane and we hear from Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials about safety protocols in place at this year’s Indy 500.

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