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Power Tops Iowa Practice; Penske achieves peak performance

Power Tops Iowa Practice;  Penske achieves peak performance

Will Power led three Team Penske drivers into the top seven in Friday practice for the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway, the only qualifying session and two races.

Power led the overall standings with a top lap of 18.5729 seconds and 173.285 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet on the 0.894 mile oval. He took first place from early leader and 2020 Iowa NTT P1 Award winner Conor Daly, who finished second at 173,239 in the No. 20 Bit Nile Chevrolet.

TO SEE: Practice results | Eligible Order

“The car feels really good,” said Power. “In the long run, it felt good. We’ve made some changes, and at least we know what they’re doing now. Whatever you do in qualifying, you have to race. That’s a bit of a compromise there. I feel we have a good car and hope we can have a good weekend.”

Power alluded to the uniqueness of the only doubleheader weekend on the schedule of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES 2022. The Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 presented by DoorDash will be held Saturday at 4 p.m. ET and the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300, presented by Google, will follow on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET. Both races will be broadcast live on NBC, with flag-to-flag coverage also on the INDYCAR Radio Network.

NTT P1 Award Qualifying begins on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET, with each driver’s first lap determining the grid for Saturday’s race and their second lap determining the lineup for Sunday’s race. The cars will be impounded after qualifying, with front wing and front wing endplate angles and tire pressure changes up to the limited adjustments allowed before Saturday’s race.

Scott McLaughlin was third with 173,083 in the No. 3 Freightliner Team Penske Chevrolet, which gave the winning team in INDYCAR SERIES history two of the top three places on the timesheet.

Reigning series champion Alex Palou was fourth with 172,764 in the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda, while Pato O’Ward rounded out the top five with 172,687 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

Series points leader Markus Ericsson was sixth with 171,819 in the No.8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, while two-time Series Champion Josef Newgarden was Team Penske’s third driver in the top seven with 171,557 in the No.2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson returned to his comfort zone on ovals, finishing ninth with 170.795 mph in the #48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

All 26 drivers in the field had to try to keep their cool in the scorching air temperatures in the ‘world’s fastest short track’ in the mid-1990s.

“It’s okay,” Power said. “Tire deg (relegation) is more (in the heat), and it is better for racing. It’s a really cool track. I can really enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun.”

The 90 minute session passed without incident, with only two short runway inspection caution periods. The 26 drivers together drove 2,410 laps, with Palou in the lead with 119.

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