It was less than a month ago that Josef Newgarden sustained injuries in a harrowing wreck at the Texas Motor Speedway. Two weeks later, he waved off relief driver JR Hildebrand and raced at Road America, finishing a respectable eighth to keep his championship hopes alive. Those hopes became far more real today, as a win at the Iowa Speedway propels him to second in the standings.
Newgarden moved past Simon Pagenaud early and, despite mid-race charges from fellow championship contenders Scott Dixon and Will Power, didn't look back. He led 282 laps, and while series leader Pagenaud and the rest of the contenders within 90 points of him locking down the rest of the top four mitigated the amount of ground he could gain, the Ed Carpenter Racing driver still finds himself in the best position of anyone to bite into the massive lead the Penske driver built for himself early.
Behind the contenders, Mikhail Aleshin's growing reputation as an unexpected oval specialist got a boost with yet another top five run. 2016 Indianapolis 500 Champion Alexander Rossi would finish in sixth, but only after a long, spirited duel with seventh place finisher Tony Kanaan that left both upset.
The race to catch Simon Pagenaud, who leaves with a 73 point lead even after finishing behind the three drivers closest to him, continues in a week at the Honda Indy Toronto.