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Road To Indy At Iowa Speedway

 

by Paul Gohde

Indy Lights Presented By Cooper Tires: Carlin Racing’s Matheus Leist charged from his 10th starting spot to take the lead on Lap 31 and win the Iowa 100 Indy Lights race at the Iowa Speedway Sunday; his third series’ win in 2017. Leist held off a swarm of challengers and finished 2.929 seconds ahead of Santi Urruttia who started 11th.  Dalton Kellett. Colton Herta and Kyle Kaiser waged an aggressive battle for the third step on the podium with Kellett finally grabbing the spot from pole-winner Herta on lap 76. “I had a loose car, but it was a good car to race. I figured out that the high line was the best one for me and the car reacted well,” noted the winner who also won the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis in May. “I had to keep Santi from closing on me but also control my tires.” Urruttia also moved to the upper groove early on and moved through the pack almost as easily as Leist, turning a loose car into an almost winner up near the wall. “I, too, moved up to the high line, but it took me longer to clear traffic and try to close on Matheus.” Only one caution period slowed the pace as Garth Rickards spun on Lap 28, but was able to return to the pits. Just eight cars finished on the lead lap. Urruttia added some levity to the winner’s circle gathering by offering an excuse because he did some front stretch donuts after finishing second. “I thought I won,” he stammered. Lack of communication with his crew was more the likely reason.

USF 2000: Leading for the entire 60 laps from his pole-winning start, Florida native Oliver Askew destroyed the 13-car USF 2000 field to capture the Iowa 60 Sunday at Iowa Speedway’s 7/8th-mile banked oval. Askew held off runner-up Rinus VeeKay who closed the gap on the leader to just 3.824 seconds at the flag. “I knew we were close to the end and I wanted to save my tires,” the winner explained. “I needed to make sure that the gap stayed about where it was.” This was the sixth win of the USF 2000 season for Askew who rebounded from a less-than-satisfactory weekend at Road America recently. Calvin Ming started second but was passed by VeeKay during the last third of the chase. “It feels good to bounce back after Road America with a win. Ovals are fun to race on,” added the winner.

NOTES: Chad Boat, son of veteran USAC midget competitor Billy Boat, was scheduled to make his Indy Lights debut here Sunday, but that will have to wait until at least August at Gateway. Boat,25, was not medically cleared to run at Iowa due to injuries suffered in a USAC National Midget Series race last Sunday at Springfield, Illinois…Most of the eight rookies entered in the USF2000 race have little, if any, oval track experience. Mazda Road to Indy scheduled a test recently at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis to give those drivers some oval track experience prior to the Iowa race.

 

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Paul Gohde heard the sound of race cars early in his life.

Growing up in suburban Milwaukee, just north of Wisconsin State Fair Park in the 1950’s, Paul had no idea what “that noise” was all about that he heard several times a year. Finally, through prodding by friends of his parents, he was taken to several Thursday night modified stock car races on the old quarter-mile dirt track that was in the infield of the one-mile oval -and he was hooked.

The first Milwaukee Mile event that he attended was the 1959 Rex Mays Classic won by Johnny Thomson in the pink Racing Associates lay-down Offy built by the legendary Lujie Lesovsky. After the 100-miler Gohde got the winner’s autograph in the pits, something he couldn’t do when he saw Hank Aaron hit a home run at County Stadium, and, again, he was hooked.

Paul began attending the Indianapolis 500 in 1961, and saw A. J. Foyt’s first Indy win. He began covering races in 1965 for Racing Wheels newspaper in Vancouver, WA as a reporter/photographer and his first credentialed race was Jim Clark’s historic Indy win.Paul has also done reporting, columns and photography for Midwest Racing News since the mid-sixties, with the 1967 Hoosier 100 being his first big race to report for them.

He is a retired middle-grade teacher, an avid collector of vintage racing memorabilia, and a tour guide at Miller Park. Paul loves to explore abandoned race tracks both here and in Europe, with the Brooklands track in Weybridge England being his favorite. Married to Paula, they have three adult children and two cats.

Paul loves the diversity of all types of racing, “a factor that got me hooked in the first place.”