Monday, June 22, 2009

Iowa Corn 250 - Race Reactions

The IndyCar Series concluded the Iowa Corn 250 on Sunday with 42,000 fans taking in the action at the 7/8 mile track. Dario Franchitti is now two for two in appearances at Iowa, as he took home his second career victory at Iowa. Ryan Briscoe took home his third runner up finish of the 2009 season and Hideki Mutoh finished a season high third for Andretti Green Racing. IndyCar Garage breaks down four race reactions from Sunday’s race.

1. Another Ganassi/Penske in the winners circle
Dario Franchitti won his second race of the season on Sunday and continued the trend of a Ganassi or Penske in victory lane. There has been a total of four drivers reach the winners circle in 2009 and they are residing with the Ganassi/Penske machines. Give credit to both teams, they both gave their drivers outstanding machines and had it not been for early contact between Dixon and Helio early in the race, we might have seen a top four sweep. IndyCar Garage has said this before, if the IndyCar Series wants to continue to generate interest in the common fan, someone new needs to win. There were glimpses of new drivers breaking through on Sunday, as several lead changes occurred during the first half of the race. It will be interesting in the upcoming road courses if any driver can break through to the top spot on the podium. Among the likely candidates to win a race this year Justin Wilson, Graham Rahal, Ryan Hunter-Rea, Paul Tracy, Danica Patrick, and Dan Wheldon.

2. 2010 Schedule
Terry Angstadt president of the IndyCar Series Commercial Division announced prior to the Iowa Race that they have reached a two year contract extension for the IndyCar Series to return to Iowa Speedway. Since the IndyCar Series added Iowa to their schedule in 2007 it has been a major successful for all involved, attendance was sold out this year as they needed more grand stands. Angstadt also announced that the IndyCar Series has an 18 race schedule in mind for the 2010 schedule. They would add a race in Brazil as an additional street course and possibly another at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Angstadt mentioned that schedule would have a split of nine ovals and nice street/road courses. The oval rumored to be in jeopardy is Milwaukee, not enough information was available on Milwaukee to confirm that. Either way you look at it, this is not the way the Indy Racing League started back in 1996, but it shows you a change in the direction of the overall series in general. Since the merger, Penske and Ganassi have dominated the ovals, while some of the smaller teams have had success on the road/street courses. To give the IndyCar Series more parity, a more even mix of street/road courses seems to be the future.

3. Finally some racing
Iowa offered some of the most exciting racing of the season to date. Tomas Scheckter passed six cars in the first lap and drover the outside line hard all day. Two to three car wide racing was very present in the first half of the race and made for a good day of overall racing. The IndyCar Series has taken some heat from the drivers and media for the lack of passing and competitive racing in the recent tracks such as Indy and Texas. Brian Barnhardt said that some changes could be made for the Kentucky race on August 1st. Whatever the case may be, hopefully Iowa is a sign of good things to come in terms of better racing and excitement for the fans.

4. Points Championship
Ryan Briscoe held onto to his points lead by finishing runner up to Dario Franchitti on Sunday, his three point lead is the slimmest of margins. Dan Wheldon sits in sixth place only 57 points back of Briscoe. It will be very interesting to watch the chase for the points champions over the course of the next six races. None of the leaders can afford a DNF at this critical time in the schedule.

As it sits now:
1st Ryan Briscoe – 241 points
2nd Dario Franchitti – 238 points
3rd Scott Dixon – 226 points
4th Helio Castroneves – 212 points
5th Danica Patrick – 189 points
6th Dan Wheldon – 184 points

No comments: