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INDYCAR Harvest GP dual: Penske’s Newgarden and Power the winners

PHOTO IMSRC 1 NEWGARDENJosef Newgarden - Harvest Grand Prix Race 1 - Friday, Oct 2, 2020 -- Photo by: Matt Fraver

INDYCAR Harvest GP Race #1 at the IMS road course
• Another win for Newgarden as he closes the points gap on Dixon

Indianapolis, IN, Oct 2/20 (GRW): With this race being the third from the end of the season, a lot of attention was paid to Newgarden’s championship points status vis-a-vis the current points leader Dixon. Coming into this late season three-race run, Dixon had a 72 championship points lead over second-place Newgarden. If Newgarden could make a successful attack on Dixon’s points standings in these final three races, he might yet wrest the 2020 championship title from him.

Here at Indianapolis on the road course that was built to host the F1 Grand Prix, Newgarden successfully overcame a challenge from Colton Herta to win and close the points gap to Dixon by 40 points making speculation that Newgarden might just be able to deny Dixon another title more believable.

Starting on the front row, Newgarden was never lower than third the whole way. The race had settled down to a battle between Newgarden and Colton Herta. Coming off the third round of pit stops, Herta was leading over Newgarden but Herta overcooked it coming into the first turn off the long front straight and he spun off the course. This let Newgarden past and, once this final round of pit stops was completed he was in the lead.

As the laps wound down, Herta was passed by Alexander Rossi and Rinus Veekay to finish in fourth place.

Meanwhile, Scott Dixon was not having a great day. He started the race in 12th place and he struggled to improve on that. With two laps to go, while being pressured by Graham Rahal, he slid off the track in the infield section and lost two places, finishing in ninth place – not a championship-style performance.

“I don’t think I can think about the race; I’m so excited to be up here on this platform,” Newgarden said. “Thank you to everyone that came out. We had a rocket ship. I knew we did yesterday in qualifying. I was so surprised by how quick the car was. It was a great fight today. It was strategy, it was close combat, it was everything you wanted in an INDYCAR race, and I had the quickest car.”

About 10,000 spectators were admitted and allowed to watch from the grandstands in the oval’s Turn One and Turn Four.

• click HERE for the results of the Harvest GP Race #1

PHOTO IMSRC 2 START POWERStart of the Harvest Grand Prix Race 2 - Saturday, Oct 3, 2020 -- Photo by: Joe Skibinski

INDYCAR Harvest GP Race #2 at the IMS road course
• A dominant win for Power; Newgarden closes on Dixon’s points lead

Indianapolis, IN, Oct 3/20 (GRW): Will Power has had an up-and-down season this year but his performance here in the second half of the Harvest GP doble-header was outstanding. He started from the pole and he led every lap in the race, finishing near a full second ahead of Colton Herta. His win here on Saturday combined with Newgarden’s the day before, made it a two-race sweep for Team Penske.

Alexander Rossi finished in third place after taking second the day before. Josef Newgarden was fourth while Scott Dixon came home in eighth place, losing another eight points of his championship lead; Newgarden was going into the finale at St. Peterburg trailing Dixon by a mere 32 points lead. The championship will be decided in Florida.

Rossi got ahead of Herta during the first round of green-flag pit stops and he ran in that position until lap 64 of the 75-lap race when Herta closed in on him and got past into second place. In the remaining laps, Herta closed the gap to Power to half a second but Power was up for the challenge and held his lead to the checker.

“The tires were going away,” Power said. “It was a very tough battle. I had to work very hard to keep him (Colton Herta) behind. Marco (Andretti) didn’t make it easy. Just so happy to have Verizon and Chevy in Victory Lane again. Two Hondas trying to attack us there, but the Chevy had very good power and drivability.

“I’m over the moon to get another win, especially at this place. It was good not to get caught by a yellow or something strange like that. Great stops. We had a very good car; we improved on it from yesterday. Man, I just pushed so hard the whole race. Obviously, we had to save fuel, but you’re still pushing while lifting early into the corners. A fantastic day, fantastic day.”

Both races here at Indianapolis ran the full distance under green – not a single caution in either day.

This was another tough day for Dixon. He started in 15th place and he was never a factor. Early in the race he made contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay and his undertray was damaged – something that could not be fixed in a quick pit stop. He persisted but the best he could manage was an eighth place finish. With his points lead reduced to 32 points both he and Newgarden will be battling it out for the championship in Florida in three week’s time.

• Click HERE for the results of the Harvest GP Race #2

• The next race will be the season finale at St. Petersburg on Sunday, October 25.

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