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.
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.
Josef Newgarden Wins Firestone Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg But Falls Short In Championship
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden is the 2020 winner of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Newgarden’s victory was his fourth of the year and 18th of his INDYCAR career. Newgarden’s win also continued a trend of back-to-back winners on the streets of St. Petersburg. Juan Pablo Montoya won the race in 2015-16, Sebastien Bourdais won in 2017-18 and Newgarden the past two years 2019-20.
The victory was bittersweet for the defending series champion as he came up 16-points short in the battle with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon.
“First off, congratulations to Scott (Dixon) and all his guys, his crew,” said Newgarden. “It’s big time to win six championships. I’m sure they’re thrilled. They’re a great competitor.”
Newgarden and his Team Penske crew did everything in their power to win the title but also needed Dixon to finish tenth or worse in the race.
“On one hand, I don’t really know what I could do different this year,” reflected Newgarden. “I don’t know what I could ask my guys to do different. We knew coming into this that fate wasn’t in our own hands. We weren’t going to be able to decide things. So, we just did what we could and hoped for the best.”
Their best was just not quite enough to beat a Dixon, who is now a six-time Champion, and the Ganassi team, who now has 13-Championships.
“Credit to Josef,” said Dixon. “He drove a hell of a race there and put us under a lot of pressure. They drove the last part of the season flawlessly. And we know next year is going to be the same.”
“We weren’t good enough, said Newgarden, a two-time Champion himself. “We’ll reset. We’ll hit them harder next year. I promise you we’ll be in the fight; this crew will be in the fight every year. So, I have confidence we’ll come back.”
Racing Notebook: Power Wins Grand Prix Of St. Pete Pole; Burton Wins At Texas; Robb Wins Indy Pro 2000
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Will Power wins the pole position for the INDYCAR race at St. Petersburg plus Harrison Burton wins the NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Texas Motor Speedway; Road To Indy Winners and Carvana partners with Jimmie Johnson and Chip Ganassi Racing for their 2021 INDYCAR effort.
Will Power Wins INDYCAR Pole At St. Pete:
- Team Penske’s Will Power is on the pole position for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Power’s fast lap of 1-minute, 1.0369-seconds (106.165 mph) was 0.14-seconds faster than Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi (01:01:1730/105.929 mph) in the third and final round of knockout-style qualifying. Championship contenders Josef Newgarden will start eighth and Scott Dixon will start eleventh after failing to advance past the second round. The green flag drops at 2:30 p.m. on NBC. St. Pete Starting Lineup
Harrison Burton Wins NASCAR Xfinity Series Race At Texas:
- Joe Gibbs Racing’s Harrison Burton took home the victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday. The victory was Burton’s third this season. JR Motorsports Noah Gragson finished second followed by Richard Childress Racing’s Anthony Alfredo. Team Penske’s Austin Cindric finished fourth. Points leader Chase Briscoe finished 24th. Xfinity Texas Results Xfinity Drivers Points
Sting Ray Robb Wins At St. Pete:
- Juncos Racing’s Sting Ray Robb wired the field in Saturday’s Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by Cooper Tires. Robb, who started on the pole position, quickly pulled out to a 1.2-second lead and never looked back. “That was a hard race, even though I was leading the whole way. The team set a goal for me to hold a certain lap time and I did, until I saw Danial starting to catch me. I started pushing harder and set the quick race lap time, bettering my own race record from last year. Two lap records in one day here, that’s pretty special!” Danial Frost finished second followed by Robb’s teammate Artem Petrov. Robb will also start on the pole in Sunday’s season finale. Colin Kaminsky, the goalie for the University of Pittsburgh hockey team, finished ninth. indypro2000-race-results-r1
Porto Grabs USF 2000 Victory At St. Pete:
- Kiko Porto claimed a well-deserved maiden Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship victory Saturday afternoon in the USF2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Andersen RacePark. Eduardo Barrichello finished in second place for Pabst Racing with Reece Gold taking third for Cape Motorsports.
Carvana Partners With Jimmie Johnson & Chip Ganassi Racing:
- Carvana, the nations leading online auto retailer, is partnering with Jimmie Johnson and Chip Ganassi Racing for Johnson’s 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES campaign. Johnson will run the No. 48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda on the road and street course. Ganassi told Pittsburgh Racing Now he plans to enter the car in all of the races but the driver has yet to be determined.
Carvana Signs On To Sponsor Jimmie Johnson And Chip Ganassi Racing
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Carvana, the pioneer of online car buying, is partnering with Jimmie Johnson and Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Season.
The “new way to buy a car” online retailer, famous for their car vending machine, will be the sponsor of the No. 48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda for Johnson’s new racing challenge on INDYCAR’s road and street circuits.
“Obviously being a part of INDYCAR is extremely exciting and makes sense for our brand,” said Ernie Garcia III, Carvana CEO and co-founder. “I think joining a winning team like this is even more exciting. Everyone chases a dream. We’ve all got dreams and now we get to watch a legend chase his second dream and we could not be more excited to be a part of it.”
“Carvana is a young, tech-forward, smart and aggressive company and is the perfect partner for this next challenge in my career,” said Johnson. “To bring a new sponsor into motorsport and into the INDYCAR Series is something we’re very proud of. I’ve dreamed of racing in INDYCAR since I was a little kid. 2021 is going to be a lot of fun!”
“I’m really excited,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “Anytime you can bring a Champion into your organization it’s a feather in your cap. To bring in a 7-time Champion is unheard of. To bring in a new company like Carvana, it’s an honor. I think this is a perfect fit for our organization It’s great to have an industry-leader as a sponsor and it’s great to have an industry leader as a driver.”
Johnson spent Saturday at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg watching and learning prior to participating in tests with CGR at Barber Motorsports Park and Laguna Seca in November.
“Being here at the track, personally I’m on a journey to learn as much as I can in a short period of time,” said Johnson. “To really start next year as swift as we can and to try to have as much success as we can on the track and represent Carvana and Ganassi racing all at the same time.”
Johnson’s new paint scheme will be unveiled prior to the start of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
Ganassi said the team does plan to field the No. 48 in the oval races that Johnson does not run but plans have not been finalized.