Friday, June 24, 2011

Iowa Corn 250 Preview

Iowa Corn 250 Preview

INDYCAR will have three of the series on display this weekend at the Iowa Motor Speedway. Star Mazda, Firestone Indy Lights, and the IZOD IndyCar Series will race on the 7/8 tri-oval track in Newton, Iowa. Tyler Carmichael of IndyCar Garage attended the Iowa race last year, when Tony Kanaan, then of Andretti Autosport, took the checkered flag for his only win of the 2010 season. Tyler breaks down the storylines heading into the weekend.

1. The points championship is back to square one

Will Power of Team Penske and Dario Franchitti of Ganassi both have scored 271 points through seven races. Both drivers have three wins, both driver for super teams, and a budding rivalry is starting between the two. Power qualified on pole at Iowa in 2010 and finished 5th. Franchitti qualified 5th, led 68 laps, but suffered a broken gear box and finished 18th, easily his worst result of 2010. Dario lead practice number one and was one tenth faster (181.403) than Power’s pole speed of a year ago. Dario has two twice at Iowa, 2007 and 2009. The next IndyCar driver in the championship is Oriol Servia, followed by Scott Dixon, and Graham Rahal. Anything can happen in the championship, but 2011 is looking like a two horse race between the two hottest drivers in the series.

2. Iowa Motor Speedway

Iowa Motor Speedway, located in Newton Iowa, is arguably one of the best tracks on the INDYCAR schedule. Iowa Motor Speedway is also the home track of the famous IndyCar blogger Pressdog, and loyal ICG member Linda W.

A short oval with high banking, Iowa provides lots of side by side action and a packed house. Attendance for Saturday’s night IZOD IndyCar race is expected to be a sellout, a far cry from the 13,000 that showed at Milwaukee last weekend. Iowa’s faculity is top notch, with hardly a bad seat in the house. INDYCAR will display the Star Mazda Series, and Firestone Indy Light Series prior to the IZOD IndyCar Series taking the track. 2011 will be the fifth race at Iowa for INDYCAR and with attendance, great racing, and a great facility; Iowa should be a mainstay on the schedule for years to come.

3. Danica’s last chance

Danica Patrick made it very clear at Texas Motor Speedway that she prefers oval racing, not the road and street courses that demand much more driver skill. Danica has finished in the top 10 , three out of the last four races and is coming off her best finish of the season (5th) at Milwaukee. If Danica fans plan to see her victory lane, Iowa offers the best chance. Danica was 4th quickest in practice one.

4. Simona De Silvestro ruled out for this weekend’s race

HVM’s Simona De Silvestro, who has several interviews with IndyCar Garage under the driver interview tab, has been ruled out of Saturday’s race due to concession like symptoms. Simona who suffered through a nasty crash at Indy, and wrecked again in qualifying at Milwaukee started experiencing the symptoms mid-week according to various reports from different media outlets. In Simona’s defense, her team is stuck in neutral with the 2003 chassis nicknamed PorkChop. HVM bought a brand new chassis for this year and it was destroyed at Indy in the turn four crash. Simona is one of the nicest drivers in the paddock, the girl needs a break.

5. Many Decisions coming

INDYCAR wants to make headway with their racing during the season, but many decisions are coming that will impact the series long term and short term. Among the decisions that we can expect INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard to announce within the next month:

The Aero Kit rules for 2012 – will they be allowed or held back for 2013?
The five drivers for the IZOD World Championship race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

6. Predications for the IZOD IndyCar Race at Iowa Motor Speedway.

I am making predications before qualifications (they start in about an hour) this weekend, as to help better my chances. Note: I was spot on with the top three at lap 196 of 225 last week at Milwaukee.

Race Winner: Scott Dixon
Runner up: Ryan Briscoe
Third: Danica Patrick

Note: I don’t know how I am leaving Dario and Power out of the top three, but call it a hunch.
Tune in later tonight for qualification results and tomorrow for your race day coverage.
Twitter: @IndyCarGarage

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