IndyCar: Iowa Preview
A Brief Overview
The Verizon IndyCar Series will make its eighth annual trip to the 7/8-mile banked oval in Newton, Iowa this coming weekend. For this year, the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DeKalb returns to its Saturday night slot after being run Sunday afternoon a year ago. Another change this year is the race will be extended from 250 to 300 laps, a distance of 262.5 miles.
The Indy cars will be accompanied by the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, who will contest the American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen Friday evening.
Kanaan has also finished on the podium in each of the last 4 years, coming home second after a fierce battle with Andretti in 2011, and third each of the past two year
Anyone else run well at Iowa
Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon have each won pole twice; Takuma Sato and Will Power once each. Additionally, Castroneves finished second in 2010 and Dixon came home third in 2011.
The only other driver in this year’s field to have recorded a podium finish at Iowa is NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ryan Briscoe, who finished second in 2009.
What about teams?
The only other team to win at Iowa is Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who captured victory with Wheldon in 2008 and Franchitti in 2009.
Still, any discussion regarding who wins begins with Andretti Autosport, who has won five of seven races in Iowa, with five different drivers.
Is there anyone with a particularly unexceptional record at Iowa?
While Sato won pole in 2011, the driver of the ABC Supply Honda has never finished better than 12th in 4 starts. Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden did win the Indy Lights race in 2011, but has a best finish of 15th in two IndyCar starts.
As for teams, Dale Coyne Racing has no finish better than 10th at Iowa.
How important is qualifying at Iowa?
Obviously, starting up front is preferable anywhere. But generally speaking, qualifying is not at the premium at Iowa it is elsewhere.
For one, no one has ever won the race from pole. Kanaan won from 15th and Andretti won from 17th. And in 7 races, 8 drivers have finished on the podium after starting outside the top-10.
From a big picture perspective, the series championship battle has been put into focus over the past two weekends.
Of course, Iowa has never been a strong track for Power. However, the Aussie is clearly feeling the pressure of the championship stretch and a good run in Iowa would do his championship campaign wonders.
With regards to Iowa specifically, it’s Andretti Autosport v. The Field.
We’ve already outlined the team’s dominance at Iowa. But this dominance extends to the other short tracks on the schedule. In fact, if you go back to Marco Andretti’s win at Iowa in 2011, the team has won six consecutive short track races.
So, are you saying you’d take Andretti Autosport versus the field?
If you look at the team’s form since Hunter-Reay’s win at Indy, you would certainly be hesitant to make that bet. Still, if I have to pick one winner this weekend, I’m going with Hunter-Reay.
Hunter-Reay gets his mojo back this weekend in Iowa, and scores his third win of 2014.
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