Iowa Corn Indy 250 Live Thread

IndyCar Goes Short Tracking in Iowa [Iowa Corn Indy 250 Live Thread]

6/23/12 in IndyCar   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blog Photo - Iowa Corn Indy 250 Live ThreadIowa Speedway does not conjure up thoughts of IndyCar racing, given the latter's reputation as being a "wine and cheese" sport, but in the short time the track has been on the schedule, it has fit perfectly. The 7/8 mile track has produced great racing in front of sold out crowds, and there's nothing else you could ask for. Iowa seats about 35,000. While at a bigger oval the stands would look almost empty, here the crowd looks full and excited. Whatever skepticism anyone felt when IndyCar first starting coming here is long gone.

Iowa is unlike any other track IndyCar visits. While its a short track, it drives like a superspeedway. IndyCars can lap this course at over 180 mph, meaning it goes real fast. The speeds have climbed even higher this weekend despite the decreased downforce with the DW12 compared to the old car. The lower downforce has produced lesser speeds at Texas and Milwaukee, but here it's been the opposite.

Last year, Marco Andretti won his first race in 5 years after a duel with Tony Kanaan. Marco has been strong again this year, starting 3rd. Kanaan has had his moments this weekend as well, but starts 19th after a 10 grid penalty for an engine change.

IndyCar tried something different for this race, holding heat races instead of normal qualifying. Those races can be seen at 8:00 on NBC Sports Network. Dario Franchitti got the best of it though, winning the final heat (which involved the top 8 in practice) to take the pole. Helio Castroneves finished 2nd in the heat, and thus will be on the outside of the front row. Andretti and James Hinchcliffe will make up the second row. Those to watch in the back (primarily due to engine penalties) include Kanaan and Graham Rahal.

Iowa Speedway almost always produces great racing, and so far the DW12 has resulted in good to great racing (expect Detroit, but that just means its not a miracle worker). Thus, we can expect another good race tonight. That is, if the weather cooperates. It has been raining most of the day, and there's no guarantee its over. If Mother Nature gives IndyCar a break, green flag is scheduled for 10 eastern (yes, I agree the late start time is dumb). Currently on is INDYCAR36 with Charlie Kimball. At 8 are the heat races on tape delay, with pre-race at 9. After the IndyCar race will be the Indy Lights race. It was to be taped delay, but now could be live (if it happens at all) after the big cars.

While yet again, Dario on pole means he could dominate, my pick is Marco Andretti. As last year showed, he likes this track, and while he certainly can blow it (see: Indianapolis), he's got the car to get it done. It's hard to pick a darkhorse, since the big three teams took the top 8 starting spot, but I'll go with TK. If anyone can go from 19th to 1st, it's him.

Timing and scoring can be found here, and More Front Wing's Event Summary can be found here. Q it up here throughout the race.
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6/24/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Championship Standings through 9 races:

1. Will Power 286
2. Ryan Hunter-Reay -3
3. Scott Dixon -15
4. Helio Castroneves -25
5. James Hinchcliffe -30
6. Simon Pagenaud -40
7. Tony Kanaan -51
8. Dario Franchitti -70
9. Ryan Briscoe -81
10. Graham Rahal -93

Realistically, it's probably a 4 driver race at this point, with Hinch, Pagenaud, TK, and Dario not completely out of it but having slim chances (the experience two are too far back, the other are closer but don't have the experience). With only one oval race left though, this could be Power's chance to retake command.

6/24/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Site troubles last night kept me from commenting on what was a fantastic race, ultimately won by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who scores back-to-back victories. Many of the major title contenders had issues last night, thus really tightening the points race.

Unofficial Results:

1. Ryan Hunter-Reay
2. Marco Andretti
3. Tony Kanaan
4. Scott Dixon (dropped from 1st to 4th in the final few laps)
5. Simon Pagenaud (started last, finished 5th, wow)
6. Helio Castroneves
7. Rubens Barrichello
8. Ed Carpenter
9. Graham Rahal
10. Justin Wilson -1 lap (something went awry towards the end of the race, and he dropped like a stone)
11. Charlie Kimball -2 laps
12. Takuma Sato -3 laps
13. James Jakes -6 laps (at one point he was given a 40 second stop and go penalty for passing the pace car)
14. Simona de Silvestro -6 laps (that's called taking advantage of attrition)
15. Katherine Legge DNF (Contact) (her wreck with 3 laps to go meant the race ended under caution)
16. Alex Tagliani DNF (Mechanical)
17. James Hinchcliffe DNF (Contact) (huge missed opportunity, he threw away a big chance to gain a lot of points)
18. Ryan Briscoe DNF (Contact)
19. Josef Newgarden DNF (Contact) (he has a lot of talent, but he showed tonight he has a lot to learn still)
20. Mike Conway DNF (Mechanical)
21. Oriol Servia DNF (Mechanical)
22. JR Hildebrand DNF (Contact)
23. Will Power DNF (Contact) (amazing, contact between Power and Viso, and it was *Power's* fault)
24. EJ Viso DNF (Contact)
25. Dario Franchitti DNF (Mechanical) (no one can ever remember a time the pole sitter's engine blew up before the race even started, incredible)

6/23/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

So far we've had:

  • Dario's engine blew before the race even started.
  • Power crashed with Viso, and it was *Power's* fault.
  • Great racing so far.
  • Helio and Hinch top 2. This could be a very good night for Hinch.

6/23/12   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

Hi Eric!! I can't see the race, so coming here to get the play by play! :)

6/23/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Randy Bernard (or "Randal" if you're Robin Miller) interviewed about the 16th race situation (after China's cancellation). He did not sound like someone who was ready to add a race at the last minute, although he did mention Michigan was interested. However, if I were to bet after that interview, I'd bet we stay at 15.

6/23/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

It's looking like there will be about a 30 minute delay, so green flag looking like it'll be around 10:30 eastern.

6/23/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Rain has stopped, and the trucks are out. 90 minutes or so to green.

6/23/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blech. Still raining at Iowa. The heat races are on now, but admittedly I'm watching live track Olympic trials instead. I hope that doesn't make me a bad IndyCar fan.