IndyCar Iowa Twin 250 Preview
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will race its first doubleheader event on an oval since 2011 at the Iowa INDYCAR 250s Doubleheader on Friday and Saturday at Iowa Speedway. Scott Dixon has won the three of the first four races of the 2020 season and his teammate Felix Rosenqvist won the other, giving Chip Ganassi Racing a four-race win streak heading into Iowa, where it won in 2008 and 2009. But Dixon has yet to win at Iowa Speedway despite starting on pole three times and recording 10 top-10 finishes, including second last season.
The 23 drivers entered in the weekend’s doubleheader will compete in a compacted schedule. The two-day event will feature a 90-minute practice session at 2 p.m. (ET) Friday, followed by an NTT P1 Award qualifying session that will set the field for each of the 250-lap races.
Using a unique format, Lap 1 of each car’s two-lap run will set the field for Friday’s race (8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN), while Lap 2 will set the field for Saturday’s Race 2 (8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.) A one-hour final practice session precedes Saturday’s 250-lap race.
Race weekend: Friday, July 17 - Saturday, July 18
Track: Iowa Speedway, a 7/8-mile (0.894-mile) oval in Newton, Iowa
Race distance: 250 laps / 218.75 miles (each race)
Firestone tire allotment: Fourteen sets for use through the doubleheader weekend
Twitter: @iowaspeedway, @IndyCar, #IndyCar
Event website: www.iowaspeedway.com
INDYCAR website: www.indycar.com
2019 race winner: Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet)
2019 NTT P1 Award winner: Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet), 35.7455 seconds, 180.073 mph (two laps)
One-lap qualifying record: Helio Castroneves, 17.2283 seconds, 186.809 mph, July 11, 2014
NBCSN broadcasts (all times Eastern): Qualifying, 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 17, NBC Sports Gold (live), 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 17, NBCSN (same-day delay). Race 1, 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 17, NBCSN (live). Race 2, 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18, NBCSN (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for the NBCSN broadcasts this weekend alongside analysts James Hinchcliffe and Paul Tracy.
INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query is the turn announcer, with Nick Yeoman and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES races are broadcast live on the INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile APP powered by NTT DATA. Live coverage of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying is available on Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.
NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.
At-track schedule (all times Eastern):
FRIDAY, JULY 17
2-3:30 p.m.: NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, NBC Sports Gold (Live)
5:30 p.m.: Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (Single car, Two laps (Lap 1/Race; Lap 2/Race 2), NBC Sports Gold (Live)
8:30 p.m.: NBCSN on air
9:10 p.m.: “Drivers, start your engines”
9:15 p.m.: Iowa INDYCAR 250s Race 1 (250 laps/218.75 miles), NBCSN (Live)
SATURDAY, JULY 18
3:30-4:30 p.m.: NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, NBC Sports Gold
8:30 p.m.: NBCSN on air
8:40 p.m.: “Drivers, start your engines”
8:45 p.m.: Iowa INDYCAR 250s Race 1 (250 laps/218.75 miles), NBCSN (Live)
23-Car Entry List
IOWA INDYCAR 250s RACE NOTES:
IOWA INDYCAR 250s PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, defending Iowa race winner): “Last weekend, we had some great moments, but ultimately things did not go our way. We left Road America with that behind us and are looking forward to Iowa. We had such an awesome race there last year in the Hitachi Chevy, so I think we have a good shot to turn it back around with two shots for a win. It’s just one of those places that tend to fit my driving style, so I always feel great racing there. Speedways like Iowa can lead to a lot of close, wheel-to-wheel racing, so the guys have worked hard to put together a great car to help with that. I’m also looking forward to once again seeing fans at Iowa this weekend. They help provide different energy that all of us drivers feed off of, so we’re always happy to see them back at the track!”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 4 Tresiba/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Short-track racing, especially under the lights both Friday and Saturday nights, is a place where INDYCAR shines. I’m excited to get there with the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet team; we’ve made progress all year long. Every single race we’ve seemed to have gone forward. We were strong on the oval at Texas, and I‘m looking forward to continuing to work forward from where we finished at Texas and do better.”
PATO O’WARD (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “Iowa Speedway is a very tricky but fun short oval. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES races at Iowa are always super-exciting and eventful. I’m looking forward to building on the momentum we have so far this season and trying to make this weekend even better than last weekend. I have had a lot of success the past few years at Iowa in the Road to Indy, so I really want to keep that going. Arrow McLaren SP and Team Chevy have a good track record at this race over the past few years, which is a combination for success.”
OLIVER ASKEW (No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “I expect Iowa to be very exciting for Arrow McLaren SP. INDYCAR racing there has always been a barn burner, and it has been a hugely successful track for Arrow McLaren SP, so I’m confident we can roll off the truck with a good package. It will be another steep learning curve for me as a rookie, having never been on a short oval in an Indy car, but I look forward to the challenge and the task at hand.”
MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I’m really looking forward to getting to Iowa. It’s another doubleheader, and I look forward to building on the strong performance we showed as a team in Road America. Also, personally, I feel I had a really good weekend at Road America with two top-10 finishes and two good races. So, we’re bringing a lot of confidence from that. Going into Iowa, I had a really good weekend there last year with a strong qualifying and was running well in the race. I was going for a podium even until I had a late pit entry violation that caused me a penalty. So, I feel like I have some unfinished business. It’s one of the most fun tracks in the calendar, in my opinion. It’s super-small and bumpy, but it’s a super-fun short-track oval. The racing there is great! You always feel like you’re side by side there with someone. I’m really looking forward to it. I think as a team we want to continue this strong start to the year, so we’ll see what we can do in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, NTT INDYCAR SERIES points leader): “We want to keep doing what we’re doing. You really need to stay focused and maximize these opportunities. Winning the first four races (as a team) was nice, but now our focus turns to winning this weekend at Iowa. You need to be prepared, unload fast and work quick because everything is happening so quickly with two races in two days. There is no room for mistakes. We were able to get the results in last week’s doubleheader, but that was last week, and Iowa presents a new challenge. I know the PNC Bank No. 9 team will be up for it.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It’s cool to be back in Iowa! It’s definitely one of my favorite ovals from last year. It’s a really good track for racing, and there’s always fun side-by-side racing there. It’s obviously nice to have the win, as well, in the bank from Elkhart (Lake). It definitely gives some confidence for me and the NTT DATA crew coming forward in the season here, after having done a couple of good races now. It’s getting pretty deep into the season, so we need to get some good points here. So hopefully, we’re getting on a bit of a roll here. I’m excited!”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Man, Road America was a rough weekend. We had some issues in the pits, and I made some mistakes on track. We reviewed what we did over the weekend as a team, and the Verizon Chevy guys and I feel much more confident heading into this weekend at Iowa. Ovals can be so much fun to race, but it will be a pretty tiring weekend between the two races and how hot it’s supposed to be. Getting rest between the two races will be key, so that’s something I’m keeping in mind. I’m really excited to get back at it this weekend and turning our luck around.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 14 Bryant AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Iowa has always been a good track for me, so I’m pretty excited about it. At Texas, we started off with a pretty good result, so I’m looking forward to it, especially being a doubleheader. So, hopefully we’ll have a better result than Texas, which was already good.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 One Cure Honda (Friday); Hy-Vee Honda (Saturday)): “It is a very hot forecast and will be very physical. I think that is what will be the most challenging for us at this time. Iowa is a different breed. It’s mentally taxing, but also physically taxing, which most ovals are not. We will all be in for a hard, long weekend. I am excited to have One Cure on the car for Friday, then the overnight shift to the Hy-Vee car on Saturday, which will be very cool to see. In general, the Iowa and Texas ovals are so different than each other, but I do believe some of the philosophy we used for the setup at Texas can carry over. We have always been solid at Iowa, and I hope that continues this weekend. I expect to be competitive. I believe all the hard work in the offseason is showing. The guys did a tremendous job thinking outside of the box, and so far we’ve made good gains. I hope that some of these ideas can continue this weekend, although it's very different than what we’ve raced at so far. It will be hard to manage the tires, but I am looking forward to trying to figure it out. I am excited for Iowa and the challenge it will present for us.”
SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “I’m really looking forward to going back to Iowa Speedway. Last year I had so much fun racing on my first short-track oval. I think the SealMaster Honda is fantastic. The team has done a great job giving me a competitive car, and I enjoy the doubleheader-style weekends. Hopefully we can bring home some hardware this weekend.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet): “Every year I get excited to race at Iowa! It is such a cool racetrack with some of the best racing each season. Having a doubleheader this year is going to make it even better. I have been wanting to win this race for a long time and I am determined to make it happen this year.”
RINUS VEEKAY (No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet): “I am really looking forward to Iowa! It's going to be the first oval after the difficulties I had in Texas, so it gives me extra motivation to do extra well. The team has produced many good results in the past at this track, so I think it will be a good weekend. Iowa is the first oval I ever drove at. It will be quite cool to come back after three years and this time in an Indy car. Two races will be tough, but I'm very confident. I can't wait to get there, and I am ready to fly around that track.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “I’m looking forward to Iowa, which is one of my favorite ovals. It’s a short oval, and the racing is tight and really exciting at night. I’m happy we will have fans at Iowa like we did at Road America. We are third in the championship and are looking forward to this doubleheader to perform at our A-game in those two races. The No. 22 Menards Chevy crew is fully ready to go and focus on execution.”
ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “Extremely excited to go to Iowa. I really feel like it’s a place where we can get some points back that we lost last weekend. It’s a place where I’ve always run in the top 10. My rookie year, unfortunately, I made a mistake while running fifth and finished seventh last year. With a doubleheader there, it’s a great opportunity for us to get two really good finishes. I would love to get my first win at Iowa Speedway, and it’s something we’re really focused on."
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 AutoNation / NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): "Another doubleheader this weekend, this time at one of the most demanding tracks we go to. We are encouraged with the steps forward that we made last weekend, and hopefully that will lead to more trophies as we continue to fight back and try to close the gap to the leaders. It’s going to be a challenge, but we are ready for it."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Night races at Iowa have always been some of the best INDYCAR racing, and the fans have always turned up to support us. We’re looking forward to being back for two races under the lights and are really focused on getting the 28 DHL team back to winning. We’ll be fighting for win No. 4 on this short oval.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Honda): “ I feel positive about the two races at Iowa Speedway. Looking at our history on the short ovals, as well as how we ran in Texas for practice and how well Graham (Rahal) ran in the race, I’m quite excited and optimistic that we will be competitive in Iowa. Ten seconds out of 19 is 4G cornering, so you can imagine the Aeroscreen’s effect is massive, particularly on the outside front tire, so how we manage the tires will be key and probably different from previous years. It will be challenging, but everyone is in the same boat. Our strong engineers will find a good plan as they have in the past. Just one race alone is a mentally draining race at Iowa, and we have two. The challenge is that there is so little practice and we will go straight into the race, meaning that we cannot change the car a lot. So, when the team has a good day, it's two good days, or if It’s a difficult day, it's two difficult days. That’s how it can go for a doubleheader like this. We have to look at the fact that we were good last year and have positive material to work from.”
ALEX PALOU (No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda): “It’s going to be my first experience on a short oval, which means another completely new experience for me. I now have to switch my mind back to oval racing; it’s not a road course anymore. It’s not my specialty, so it will be a lot of learning once again as a rookie. Everyone has told me that Iowa is going to be crazy, that it’s a difficult race with the bumps. We have two races again this weekend, so it will be demanding, but it will also be good to help me gain as much experience as possible on that type of track.”
CONOR DALY (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “I’m really excited to get back to work with everyone at Carlin after our strong debut at Texas Motor Speedway. It really felt like a podium was in the cards there, so I think we should set some high expectations this weekend for ourselves. Iowa is a tough track for me personally, but I actually felt like last year we didn’t have too bad of a race there. We needed to work on some things after that race for this year, but I’m excited to see the progress we’ve made. The progress we made from 2019 to 2020 at Texas was massive, so if we can make that same type of progress at Iowa, it should be a lot of fun. It’ll be a tough weekend physically with two races, but I’m so excited to get back in the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet and work with the Carlin boys again.”
JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda): “Iowa is actually one of the few ovals that I have raced at in Indy Lights. I’ve always had good speed there, so I’m hoping that we can translate that speed that I had in Indy Lights to speed in an Indy car. This year we’ve shown that we have the speed and the pace to run upfront, but we’ve had the odds against us for some reason. Hopefully, things will turn around at Iowa. It’s a great track. There’s always something happening, and there’s no real moment where you get to breathe or relax.”
COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda): "It’s going to be nice to get back to Iowa for a doubleheader weekend, although it’s going to be very tough physically, very demanding with it being a short oval. It’ll be good to be back in the Capstone car for two more races and hope to take our good momentum from Road America to Iowa."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda): “Heading to Iowa Speedway this weekend, and we are looking to get the 98 car back to prime form. Since the track has become bumpier over the years, we have sort of lost our 'mojo,' and we're ready to get that back. I would love to get a second win at Iowa and a fifth podium. Also really looking forward to having fans back with us at the track again."
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