Mexico’s Pato O’Ward won Sunday’s IndyCar Salute to Farmers 300 for his fourth career title and second of the year after longtime leader Josef Newgarden crashed late in the race.
O’Ward took the lead when Newgarden crashed with a suspension failure, then held it after the final pit stop in the 300-lap feature at the 0.894-mile oval in Newton, Iowa.
O’Ward made his way to the front on the restart with 50 laps to go and stayed in front until the finish, with second Australian Will Power holding pole, third New Zealander Scott McLaughlin, fourth New Zealander Scott Dixon and fifth American Jimmie Johnson.
“Super excited. Super happy,” O’Ward said. “It was all about taking advantage and being there when we needed to.
Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson of Sweden, who finished sixth, maintained a 403-395 points lead over Power as Newgarden and Dixon trailed by 34 points and O’Ward by 36 points.
“We’re still in the lead and now we’re going to a track where we know we’re strong, so I’m happy about that,” Ericsson said.
Newgarden started second and led 148 laps, but his race ended with 65 laps remaining in a crash at turn four where the American lost control and spun into the outside wall.
Newgarden, who was uninjured, was close to the first IndyCar weekend poll in five years.
“I want to cry,” Newgarden said. “So sad for my team. I don’t know what happened. I didn’t know it happened until I was in the wall.”
Having been runner-up in the season the past three years, he was also in position to take the points lead when he crashed.
Newgarden won his fourth race of the season and fourth in Iowa on Saturday.
Power settled for his second podium of the weekend and sixth of the year.
“Would love to win. Good day anyway,” Power said. “We were really fast. It’s good to be on the podium and close to the points lead.”
Dixon, a six-time season champion, moved closer in the points standings in his 300th IndyCar start.
“The top three were pretty fast,” he said. “A good scoring day for us.
Former American stock car icon Johnson had his best IndyCar result.
“It’s a really special day for me,” he said. “I really felt like the podium was within reach.
Power can match Mario Andretti’s record 67 IndyCar poles next Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in qualifying for next Saturday’s 13th of 17 races of the season.
The Aussie has won six pole positions at the track.