Newgarden takes fourth Iowa IndyCar victory

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American Josef Newgarden captured his fourth victory of the IndyCar season on Saturday, holding off Mexico's Pato O'Ward over the final laps to win the Iowa 250.

Newgarden took his fourth career triumph on the 0.894-mile oval at Newton, Iowa, after leading 208 of 250 laps in hot and windy conditions.

"I knew we had the car to win this race," Newgarden said. "It's one of my favorite tracks. I always love to win this race."

O'Ward finished second followed in order by Australian pole-sitter Will Power, Dutchman Rinus VeeKay and New Zealand's Scott Dixon.

"I was pushing Josef at the end," O'Ward said. "We didn't quite have it."

Newgarden, the 2017 and 2019 IndyCar season champion, previously won at Iowa in 2016, 2019 and 2020.

Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson of Sweden leads the season points chase 375-360 over Newgarden despite the American's season-best win total after adding Iowa to Texas, Long Beach and Road America.

"We're in the fight. We're not where we want to be," Newgarden said. "I know we can do better."

Power stands third, 22 points off the pace, with defending champion Alex Palou of Spain 33 adrift, six-time IndyCar champion Dixon 38 back and O'Ward 59 points behind.

"Another top three. Can't look at those as bad days," Power said. "I was really stoked to be third, to hang on like that. The tires were gone at the end."

The race was the first of two events this weekend in Iowa, the 11th and 12th of 17 races this season. The Salute to Farmers 300 will be contested on Sunday.

Power swept pole qualifying Saturday morning for both races, boosting his career IndyCar pole total to 66, one shy of the Mario Andretti's all-time record.

Power's first chance to equal Andretti will come next Friday in qualifying for next Saturday's race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, where the Aussie has won six pole positions.

- Hottest race since 2012 -

The heat reached 99 degrees F (37.2 Celsuis), the highest IndyCar race temperature since 2012 at Fontana, California.

Newgarden kept the lead ahead of Power on a lap-173 restart following a crash by American Ed Carpenter but came upon slower cars with 50 laps to go.

O'Ward passed Power with 33 laps remaining and took aim at Newgarden as they weaved through traffic but could never overtake him.

"I was surprised how hard these guys were pushing on the restarts," said Newgarden. "This was a long-haul kind of day."

Power surged ahead at the start and kept the lead until front-row neighbor Newgarden passed him on lap 24.

Newgarden kept the lead after the first two pit stop cycles and hung on after Ericsson made a run for the lead on a lap 136 restart, touching wheels with Newgarden before falling back.